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KMS Jul 7th, 2003 10:03 AM

Only one Rome Scala Reale Tour - Vatican or Forum??
For our trip in October, we only have the budget for one Scala Reale "Intensive" Tour. Any thoughts on whether to do the Vatican Tour or The Forum Tour?

Basically, which of these sights is better accomplished with a Tour, and which can be done alone?

If it matters, we are very interested in art, but really know nothing about it!

Grinisa Jul 7th, 2003 10:24 AM

I'd pick the Vatican. Sure, you can look at and appreciate art without a tour, but if you are really interested in art, the Scala Reale tour will make the wonderous treasures in the Vatican Museum come to life and you'll enjoy them even more. True, walking around the ruins of the Forum is not too inspiring without a good tour guide, but if you have some luck, you might find an excellent guide at the Forum giving free tours. If not, buy one of the "now and then" books on ancient Rome with the transparencies that show what the Forum looked like in ancient times and now. Also, the Blue Guide to Rome has an excellent description of the Forum.

Rick Jul 7th, 2003 10:28 AM

I'm glad I did not have to pick between the two but if I did I guess I would go with the Vatican Museums. I don't know about the other guides but Liz Lev is so knowledgeable and passes her knowledge along so well my mind is still bogled 4 months later. If there is any way to afford both neither is to be missed.

elaine Jul 7th, 2003 11:48 AM

I chose last time due to other factors, and I chose their Forum/Colosseum tour.
It was awesome, our excellent guide Gregory explained seemingly every rock and broken column, and really made the place come alive. The four hours flew by. regret is that I didn't use Scala Reale for the Vatican, I used a Vatican guide who was knowledgeable I think but she spoke incomprehensible English.

Both at the Vatican and at the Colosseum you have the option of an audio guide (wish I'd at least used the latter at the Vatican).

So I guess I'm not much help, whichever tour you choose should be fabulous, but you'll miss not having done the other.
Have you looked into an alternate group that does tours to compare prices?
Enjoy Rome and Through Eternity are also highly recommended here, tho' I can't imagine a better group than Scala Reale.

adrienne Jul 7th, 2003 01:17 PM


The Scala Reale Vatican tour was incomparable. I didn't take their Forum tour so can't offer you a comparison. What are their 2003 rates? Do they still price per group?

I would recommend a tour of the Vatican vs. doing it on your own.


MelissainItaly Jul 7th, 2003 01:18 PM

Do the Vatican. As mentioned before you may get lucky and find a free forum tour. There is no catch, they are trying to get business. The may say..."If you like this tour we are charging $10 for a Colloseum tour." There is no obligation. If not, you may be able catch bits and pieces of another tour. Regardless, the Vatican has so much to offer and so many little stories to hear! You may even get lucky and end up with a free tour at the Vatican!

dedlaw Jul 7th, 2003 03:30 PM

Having just done both of these tours, I would disagree with the others and opt for the tour at Forum and Colosseum. Why? Even with the "now and then" overlay book, the crumbling antiquities are really not much more than, well, crumbling antiquities -- without a guide it is truly impossible to get a good enough sense of what happened, what related in time to what, etc. At the Vatican, while the tour was truly awesome (by Gregory -- his last before entering seminary and better than Liz Lev's tour at Forum, etc.), one can look at a painting or sculpture and have some idea about it -- and audio guides would help there, too. While not ideal, it strikes me that this wouldn't be as aimless as walking around ruins without a guide. Best would be to do both tours -- it would takes weeks of homework to learn a fraction of what you'll pick up in four hours on either one.

RosieM Jul 8th, 2003 06:15 AM

If your interest leans towards art, go with the Vatican tour. We did the Forum tour with Darius and it was top notch - with its emphasis on archeology, of course. You can't go wront with either.

My regret is that there was no time to schedule another Scala Reale session; I would go with no other company from now on.

bbrier Jul 8th, 2003 09:57 AM

I just returned two days ago and took both tours. Both tours were excellent but if I had to choose, I think the Vatican was more helpful. The guide took us to the high points with tons of valuable information. The Forum was also excellent so you won't do wrong with either one. Have fun. Italy is amazing.

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