A tour is the one activity I recommend to anyone visiting a new city, especially one with as much history as Rome. It sets your visit up for success, giving you details about a destination you may not otherwise know, and you’re likely to learn a few tips along the way, including where to shop, eat, or grab a drink.
We had scheduled only two days in Rome during our trip to Italy, and I was hesitant to fill one of them with a full-day tour, but I kept eyeing The Roman Guy’s Rome in a Day Tour and decided to book it. I was traveling with my 9-year-old twin boys and knew I needed backup to engage them in the history of this great city.
We were hosted by The Tour Guy, but any tour that holds the attention of jet-lagged 9-year-olds for nearly 8 hours is nothing short of amazing. Here’s why you will love it, too.
Explore The Best Of Rome
The Vatican And Colosseum
The Vatican and Colosseum top every Rome visitor’s list, and while both were busy the day we toured, I can’t imagine navigating either on my own while absorbing all the details and knowledge only a tour guide can offer. The tour thoroughly explored both, and I wasn’t left wishing for more time in either place.
The only piece missing from the Colosseum, in my opinion, was the underground tour. This is a tour you can book separately on the Colosseum’s website or with The Roman Guy.
If a full-day tour is too much, using a tour to visit the Vatican is essential. There’s just an immense amount to see and understand, and, frankly, physically navigate, making almost any tour a great value.
Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, And Roman Forum
These were somewhat unexpected treats during the tour. Yes, the webpage mentioned we would see them, but I wasn’t sure how much time we would have at any of them or if we would just be walking by.
We were able to go into The Pantheon, ate lunch by the Trevi Fountain, and learned quite a bit of history at Piazza Navona, making note to come back and enjoy more time at the surrounding cafes.
The last portion of our day-long tour took us through the Roman Forum en route to the Colosseum. While we had walked past the area when we arrived in the city, our guided walk really opened our eyes to what the area once was and the importance it played.
Needless to say, these experiences really took the trip over the top and solidified that my decision to book this tour was a good one.
Navigate With Ease And Skip The Lines
The ease of being escorted from place to place and not having to worry about buying tickets, figuring out where and when to enter, or how to navigate from location to location takes away a significant amount of stress and makes the experience immensely more enjoyable.
Being part of a tour also allows you to skip the lines that those winging it on their own must endure. We started the day at the Vatican and met across the street from where we entered. It didn’t seem like much until we made our way inside. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the chaotic scenario of the wall-to-wall people all trying to figure out how to enter and when. It was amazing to just be able to relax and wait for our guide to show us the way.
Our guide also handled our tickets for the Pantheon and Colosseum and organized our entry, so we were able to simply enjoy the experience.
Knowledgeable And Enthusiastic Guides
Learning the entire history of ancient Rome, the Roman Empire, Christianity, and the Catholic Church, not to mention the role of key figures like Julius Caesar, Nero, the many Popes, and even Michelangelo and Raphael, is of course impossible unless you’re someone with multiple degrees on these specific subjects.
Our guide, Carolina, created an environment where we were able to take in, understand, and appreciate the history in a wonderful and engaging way and learn a lot — at least things my world history class seemed to miss.
Carolina carried pictures and drawings with her throughout the tour, bringing different areas, like the Roman Forum, back to life to help us better envision what it used to be.
She also used downtime wisely, priming us and explaining what we were about to see and its importance.
You know a guide is amazing when you want to take them with you at the end of the day. Another sign of a great guide: the ability to hold the attention of 9-year-old boys. Not only did she engage them; they were on her heels the entire time, occasionally carrying the flag she used for us to easily locate her. The boys were always front and center and recounted the history they learned throughout the rest of our trip.
Also, as any parent understands, having someone who can answer the many questions children have when visiting a new place is invaluable. It saves you from googling or thumbing through a guidebook, and let’s be honest, they’re always going to believe someone else more than their parents.
See History You’d Otherwise Miss
An original seat in the Colosseum, a portion of the Piazza Navona stadium, and every detail beneath you and around you — it’s difficult to describe how much we would have just walked past without knowing it if we were exploring on our own. In a city where there’s a story behind practically every detail, it’s wonderful to have a guide drawing attention to key pieces.
Small Group Size
There were only 13 people in our group. The small group size meant we never felt like we were missing anything. An audio device and earset were provided at the start of the tour, so when we chose to linger in different areas, we always could hear our guide and didn’t miss any of her insight. The maximum tour group for The Roman Guy is 15 people.
Pro Tip: Wear Comfortable Shoes
This tour requires a lot of walking and standing. You’re also walking on uneven surfaces at times. Wearing comfortable shoes is a must, but also know your limitations. It’s not for everyone. While you do take breaks, it’s a lot. Also, the time of year you visit could make a difference. We visited in July and it was very hot. Not Midwest humidity hot, but still hot.
Pro Tip: Bring A Water Bottle
Rome has hundreds of beautiful water fountains throughout the city thanks to the Romans. While you can use your hands to sip, bring a water bottle, especially if you’re visiting during summer. Most of the fountains are constantly running, and while it seems odd to say the water tastes amazing, it truly does.