Pompeii Guides

May 27th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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Pompeii Guides

I'm arranging a tour of Pompeii for a group of 10 where budget is important so have to have an eye on costs. What sort of cost is involved in hiring a pre-arranged private guide? What do the guides waiting at the entrance charge?

Can anyone recommend a private guide with good English?

Thanks again
Lifeman is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 06:34 AM
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I toured the site last fall with Gaetano Manfredi. It's hard to imagine that anyone could offer a better tour; he's a local guy, highly educated, and very good at getting you through the crowds:


I think his two-hour tour for two of us cost 150 EU, and it was money well spent.
fanshawe is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 06:37 AM
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I'm sure you will get some specific suggestions, but there are lots of guides at the gate and you should be able to arrange one easily for a group. Guides must be licensed to operate inside the sites in Italy. There is also the option of renting audio guides (about 6€). I think they have them set up now where two people can share. The sites are numbered (you will be given a map) and you put the number in the audio guide so you don't have to follow a set path

If you are on a budget and you intend to visit other sites (archaeology museum in Naples, Pasetum, Herculaneum, etc.), consider getting the 3 day Tutta la Regione Campania Artecard for 27€. You get free admission to two sites (best value Pompeii which is 11€ and Herculaneum 11€), discounts after that (usually 50%) and a 3 day transport pass from Naples to Paestum. This includes the buses along the coast(to Amalfi/Positano), metro/tram in Naples, train between Sorrento/Naples, and some other regional trains and buses. The 3 day Tutta la Regione is the only Artecard that includes transport. You can pick it up in the train station at Naples.

If you click on the link and scroll down to the list of sites, click on a site, you will get the hours, cost, which bus/metro/tram you need to use to arrive, etc.
kybourbon is online now  
May 27th, 2010, 08:02 AM
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We had Gaetano Manfredi also - he really brought Pompeii
'to life' for us. Plus, he's a charmer!
immimi is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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We hired a guide at the entrance. He was somewhat hard to understand - in fact, my 85 YO FIL could not understand him very well. If you just "show up" - it might be difficult to "interview" each possible guide to determine which ones you can understand. The guides themselves might even have a "you get the next one" scheme for offering their services to the next arriving group.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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With a group of 10 you might pay only a small premium for having your own guide. We paid 10 euro each for the group tour with the guide hired at the gate. As I wrote in another related thread, I would not recommend picking up a guide at the gate for a group tour unless your interest in fairly superficial. Maybe we just had bad luck, but our guide wasted lots of time on silly jokes and the group was just too big. But if you hire him on your own, you might have a much better experience.

I have more info from in a 2008 trip report:

" Sprinkled through the crowd were official guides, busily attempting to herd together groups of visitors for their own tours. One of these guides was the English-speaking Ciro Favicchio, who had already assembled most of his group and was attempting to round up a few more stragglers from the crowds clamoring for admission. We quickly realized that only by joining one of these groups could we bypass the huge line and hope to see anything of the site before the appointed meeting time with Sr. Cuomo. So, with much trepidation, I handed over the cash for two entrance tickets and Ciro maneuvered his way to the cashier and returned, two tickets in hand.

These Pompeii guides charge 10 Euro per person for a tour of about 90 minutes; if you are really pressed for time and want to tour the site on your own, you might even consider tipping them a lesser amount to get you the entrance tickets and then go your own way. Many speak excellent, if somewhat quirky, English. The 10 Euro tour fee is collected by the guide at the end of the group tour. Better yet, allow more than 2.5 hours so you will not be crazed when you arrive and notice the amount of people on line before you. Better yet, arrive at opening time! If I were to return, however, I would book a private tour with an academic focus that would hopefully allow more than just a cursory glimpse of the wonders of Pompeii.

And so, scrambling to keep up with our quick-paced tour guide, a group of about 20 English speakers from various countries, set off on a trip back more than 20 centuries to the days when the city of Pompeii was a thriving Roman commercial center of 20,000 or so souls, on the plain of the Sarno River.

I will not go into the history or details about the actual site which can be found in any guidebook, as well as in the very good free booklet and map handed out near the cashier window upon presentation of an entrance ticket. But I will mention that the site is overwhelming, sprawling over 163 acres and clogged with what seemed like thousands of tourists, most hurrying to keep up with their flag-toting guides while snapping pictures in every direction. I had b een to Ercolano years ago and remember this other victim of Vesuvius’ wrath as much less crowded and in a better state of preservation.

Pompeii is just mind-boggling in its vastness. Our guide spent too much time attempting to warm up his audience with jokes and evading most questions that would require substantial explanations. Fine, if you want a quick peek. Not good if you really want a meaningful experience. For some reason, all of the tour guides seem to follow the same route so there are often huge throngs waiting to enter a particular house or area. Why don’t they vary their itinerary? The worst of the crowds appeared at the entrance to the Lupanare, or brothel (#39 o the official map) where paintings on the walls depict the brothel women (slaves, usually Greek or of ‘Oriental” origin) and their “johns” in various erotic positions.

We had especially wanted to visit three places: The House of the Vetii, the House of the Faun, and the Villa dei Misteri. Guide Ciro told us that the first was temporarily closed, but we did manage to convince him to include the second in our tour, which he did only after many requests on my part. We also covered many of the other “main” sites, the Forum, Temple of Apollo, Stabian baths, and Basilica. After almost 90 minutes, we had had enough of the herding around and the superficial commentary and, after paying the guide 20 Euro for the tow of us, struck off on our own for the Villa dei Misteri, which stands about 20 minutes on foot from the Porta Marina entrance along roads of uneven blocks of stone. It goes without saying that comfortable shoes and plenty of water are essential! It was certainly well worth the walk and well worth the entire price of admission to view the frescoes adorning the walls of this sprawling and palatial abode; these depict a young bride on the eve of marriage, surrounded by Bacchus, various handmaidens, children, and other figures and are said to represent among the finest examples of ancient paintings surviving today, while continuing to provoke debate among scholars as to meaning. Here we encountered no large groups and only a few other independent tourists; I suspect that the villa is left off of most group tours because of its location near the northwestern perimeter of the site.

Again, although our visit allowed us a quick peek into the wonder of Pompeii, I would recommend that anyone with a more than cursory interest plan to allow more time than the 2.5 hours we allotted and, ideally, arrange for a tour with a guide whose academic credentials might surpass those of some of the “official” guides for hire on the spot. It is possible, however, that our guide just tailored his group tour to suit what he perceived as the common denominator; he did tell us that he was the author of a guide to Pompeii on sale at the bookshop(Mr. Cuomo later scoffed at this and we had no time to verify) If you want to inquire about the possibility of arranging a private tour with him, his details are:

Dott. Ciro Favicchio [email protected]"
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 08:31 AM
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..I forgot to give you the details for Katie Parla, who seems to be quite well respected:

ekscrunchy is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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Hello Lifeman,

I would second the suggestion of booking an expert guide. I would suggest you not to take the chance of booking at the entrance. Just because someone posts here and got lucky does not mean you will get lucky.

Now they have a different system there at the entrance. Who ever you speak to, is not necessarily the guide you will get. They now have a rota system....and the guide may be good, and may not be good.

Since you are arranging the guide, YOU will look good if this risk pays off. The opposite will also be true.

Here is an article that explains some of the pitfalls

See the section about "on the spot guides".
francescalaguida is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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Listen to the posters telling you to hire a recommended guide. We got to Pompeii on an off day without a guide. The guy at the gate said he would help us for 80 Euros and he didn't care if it was us 2 or 20. My DH wouldn't pay that much (I'm still mad)! We bought audio guides and they were awful. I'm sure the worst gate guide is better then the audio. I told my DH that 1 day we will go back and we will have a guide that can actually explain what we are seeing.
zwho is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Good advice, zwho; another consideration is the heat. If
you are there on a hot day (as they usually are) wandering
around the huge site trying to get the overall picture can
be extremely tiring (understatement there!).

A good guide will do just that - guide you around in the most
efficient and meaningful way p'haps with some shady shortcuts.
Although shade is at a premium there.

Checked out Gaetano's slick website - talk about a pro!
immimi is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2010, 06:25 PM
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Not sure if you are still in research mode or not...

Just came across this and it seem relevant to posts here...
"Gaetano's Slick website" is receiving some not-so-complimentary comments from recent clients here

Obviously your "milage may vary"

Hope this helps

francescalaguida is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 06:35 AM
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We've now been in touch with Sr. Manfredi whose charge is now quoted at €130 per hour for our group of ten. Obviously to see Pompeii properly you need at least 2 to 3 hours and even then maybe more.

I'm sure that he's very busy at the moment, but his replies are a bit brusque, to tell the truth. I realise that we are booking for next year, but there's nothing like filling the diary is there?

His website does look good but (and it's unlike me), I'm a bit undecided whether to use him or not. I wonder if he's got a bit big for his boots with having been recommended. I could do with an alternative if anyone can help. I have decided to book a private guide and not take pot luck at the gate.
Lifeman is offline  
Jun 11th, 2010, 01:12 AM
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I'm waiting for a reply from the "Barabaraguide" company quoted in the article above from Francesca, for which much thanks.

Any others anyone can recommend to allow a comparison?
Lifeman is offline  
Jun 20th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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Just got back from the Rome area, and in Pompei we hired Ciro Favicchio as our guide. For 10 Euro per person (we had 8 in our group), it was well worth it for almost two hours of entertaining info. Although not an all-inclusive tour since the ruins are extensive, Ciro took us to the main points of interest and explained that we could explore further afield on our own. But the sites visited on the tour give you a vivid picture of what it was like to live in Pompei 2000 years ago. Ciro will also give two-hour private tours for 120 Euro. His email address is: [email protected].

P.S. If you're also planning to tour the Coliseum and Roman Forum, it's imperative that you get a guide to avoid the long ticket lines.
Salde49 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2010, 03:15 AM
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Lifeman, have you picked a guide for Pompeii yet? Are you going with the "Barbaraguide" company.
Oohlala1 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2010, 03:31 AM
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I had my own guide - my husband teaches Ancient History!! However, if that wasn't the case, we would have been hopelessly lost and wouldn't have understood the significance of much of what we were seeing. For such a big group I would want to prebook a guide.

In response to Saide49's post - it isn't imperative to have a guide at the coliseum or the Forum - if your go to Palatine Hill first and purchase a combo ticket there, then you can just walk into the other two venues. other posters may shoot me, but we used Rick Steves audio guides on our ipods rather than hire an audio guide.
cathies is online now  
Jun 28th, 2010, 04:34 AM
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Yes, we've decided to go with the Barabara Guide company. Reasonably priced and she seems professional.
Lifeman is offline  
Jun 28th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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Lifeman, could you please give me her email address?
Oohlala1 is offline  

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