This is where it all started. Populations that lived atop the hills controlled traffic across the Tiber river right here where the Tiber Island is, and the first international port and marketplace, and the first wood bridge. And there was Rome.

Start from the Aventine Hill to see how Roman insulas became the church of Santa Sabina, one of the most beautiful early Christian basilicas, with its original wood door and mosaic inscription from the V century.

See the breathtaking view over the city and the river from the Orange Garden in Rocca Savella, a medieval castle where two Popes lived.

Take an ancient route down to the river and the Boarium Forum, the cattle market in the early times of Rome. Here we see the Temple of Hercules (outside), II century BC, the oldest marble temple still standing in Rome, and the Temple of Portunus (outside), the god of the port.

The nearby IX-century church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin was built on the early Roman Great Altar to Hercules, whose remains we see in the peculiar cript.

A few steps and we are at IV-century Arch of Janus and next to it the Arcus Argentariorum (arch of money-changers).

Not far is the archaeological area of Sant’Omobono, where we see traces of temples dating back to the VI century BC (from outside). Across the street we go underground San Nicola in carcere  to see how three Roman temples were repurposed to build a church.

Next to the church we take a quick look at the Theater of Marcellus before we head to Pons Fabricius, built in 62 BC, to end our walk on the Tiber Island.

Duration: 3 hours

Entrance tickets: San Nicola 4 euro, Santa Maria in Cosmedin 2 euro.