By Jordan Higgins
Rome, Italy’s 14,000-year-old capital, has always been a staple destination for tourists in Europe. There is a good reason for this too; the city is awash with historical landmarks, famed architecture, celebrated artwork, and some of the tastiest food in the world. With so much to do in the city, it can be quite an overwhelming task to take it all in. For this reason, it is often recommended that you hire a private tour guide in Rome.
Here’s why hiring a local guide will help you capitalise on your time in one of Europe’s most historic and fascinating cities.
1) Getting off the Beaten Path
Guidebooks will always have recommendations of places to visit and things to see during your Rome tour. However, these will typically include the most popular tourist-centred locations. Following a local tour guide around Rome will allow you to find many lesser-known attractions. These may be restaurants, bars, museums, or even just pleasant piazzas, but they will take you off the beaten path – in a nutshell, experience life as a local.
2) Local Knowledge
In a city as complex as Rome, you may find yourself overwhelmed with information. It is impossible to truly appreciate the city’s incredible history and fascinating present, simply by reading signs and information boards, especially at attractions such as the gargantuan Vatican Museum complex. And this is why you need local intervention.
Who better to learn about the city from than someone who lives there? The information boards at Trevi Fountain may tell you that it is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome. A local guide, however, can tell you that it was built at the termination point of the Virgo Aqueduct and that approximately €3,000 is thrown into the fountain every day.
Not only does a private tour guide help you during the tour, but they can also give you recommendations beyond it. Your tour ends at 6 pm, and you are trying to make plans for dinner. Who better to ask than your guide? With their local knowledge, they can suggest ways to make the most of your time in the city.
4) Skip-the-Line Benefits
Rome is the third most visited city in the European Union, and the fourteenth most visited in the world. So unsurprisingly, the main attractions in the city, such as The Colosseum, The Vatican Museums, and The Pantheon, are almost constantly flooded with people. An often underappreciated reason to hire a Rome tour guide stems from this.
Most tours will work alongside major tourist attractions to ensure a smooth holiday experience for their patrons. This usually means that tickets will have been purchased ahead of time, and you will spend less time waiting in lines. If you find yourself visiting Rome with a strict time-budget, you won’t want to spend hours waiting in queues.
5) A Personalised Itinerary
Private tour guides allow you to entirely customise the itinerary to suit your own interests and needs. If you have an interest in art, for example, you can hire a guide who specifically takes you to all of Rome’s best galleries and museums. Additionally, tours can be customised to suit different groups. You can easily find a guide to lead your nine-member group around the city or one who can show you around in a one-on-one situation. If you are a backpacker with an interest in beer, your guide can show you the best budget bars in the city. If you are a family group with young children, your guide can help you find family-friendly restaurants or tourist attractions that cater to children.
Finding a Local Guide
In a city so full of tourists it can be difficult to find a suitable tour guide. The first thing you need to consider is what you want from your guide. Do you want to experience Rome’s famous cuisine? Or would you prefer an architectural tour, or would a Christian tour interest you?
As always, online forums serve as an excellent base to find a guide. You can read reviews of different guides and different agencies online to help you choose. If you are already in Rome, ask at your accommodation reception, they will usually have their own recommendations. It is important to remember language when picking a guide. You don’t want to miss out on information because of the language barrier; ask in advance if the guide is comfortable speaking in your language.
It is also very important that your guide is licensed. By hiring an officially licensed guide, rather than a hobbyist, you ensure quality. With a licensed guide, you can guarantee thorough knowledge, professionalism, no-nonsense access to attractions, and a strong grasp of the language you require.
A trip to Rome offers holiday-goers the chance to experience European history at eye level, indulge in the world-famous cuisine, while also experience the city’s modern cosmopolitan atmosphere. However, with so much to do, it is near impossible to experience everything without the aid of a local expert. When in Rome, a tour guide helps you make the most of your precious time in the best possible way!
Jordan is a student journalist and avid traveller. He has a strong interest in Asian countries but will never say no to a European excursion. He is particularly fond of (although not very good at) trying new outdoor activities and adventure sports.