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Rome - Ancient Sites - Guide Recommendations

Rome - Ancient Sites - Guide Recommendations

Aug 26th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Rome - Ancient Sites - Guide Recommendations

We will be going to Italy visiting my younger daughter who is studying in Florence(wife, myself, older daughter).

We will spend a few days in Rome where we had been before and I would like to spend a day wandering around the older historical sites.

Does it make sense to just do this ourselves or hire a guide? And if a guide, any recommendations?

- Dan Mintz
dmintz is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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I recently had a private tour of Forum/Palatine/Colosseum arranged through Icon Tours that was very helpful. They also do group tours which you can join for a reasonable cost.

Others on this forum highly recommend Context Rome.

I've been to Rome several times before but I still found it helpful to have a guide walk me through the ruins. Otherwise, even with a guidebook, they can look like a lot of, well, how to say it? They look like like a lot of old ruins.
J62 is online now  
Aug 26th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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You will get different opinions on whether it is best to do a self-guided tour or take a group guided tour or hire a private guide.
We were happiest with the self-guided approach. we were able to go at our own pace, and we split the three major sites between 2 days, doing the Forum one morning, the colosseum that afternoon and the Palatine the following morning. I think we spent more time on all 3 than we would have with a guide, but we had a break.
You need tickets for the colossuem and Palatine, and you buy one-day combination ticket. Tickets issued at one site in the afternoon are good for entrance to the other the following morning. The best place to buy the tickets is at the entrance to the Palatine from the forum (near the Arch of Titus); there are long lines at the Colosseum but not here.

IMO if you have a good guide book and read it ahead of time then review it while on site you can understand what you are seeing. The Forum is the most confusing.

there are of course many other ancient roman sites and monuments to explore. We visited the Baths of Caracalla, the Via appia Antica and Ostia Antica during our last trip -- all of them fascinating.

Vttraveler is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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We used Context Rome and I would recomend them highly. They are very different from your regular tour guides in that they will normally have scholars (with a Phd or working towards one) and will assign one who is a an expert in terms of your interests.
ahmedhaff is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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By all means go the self directed path... if you want to hurry you can if you want to stay longer you can. Also, it is amazing how much you learn about the city you are going to visit.

Visit my web site EmilyandJim.info we have been to Rome and Florence several times... Oscar James
Oscar_James is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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By older historical sites, I am assuming you mean ancient Rome, in which case I would definitely recommend a good guide.
Either with a small group tour or a private guide.

There are so many layers of history to peel back and understand a guide is a must, in my opinion.
iluvitaly is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Whether or not you hire a guide depends on your level of interest. You can easily tour Ancient Rome on your own but you will have a better understanding of the sights with a guide. Context Rome is wonderful!
BigBlueMarble is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Would also recommend Daniella Hunt of Mirabilia Urbis Tours. www.rome-tours.com. We thoroughly enjoyed our private tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum with Daniella last year. She's extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and alot of fun.
Uma is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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I went with my 2 teen-aged daughters to Rome in June and we saw many of the historical sites. The ones we felt we got the most out of, we had a good tour guide for... sorry I can't suggest which ones to use (not all are good so plan ahead) but I vote for definitely having one. If you can do it without a large group, even better. We found it hard to be reading books while looking at sites and were tired too... read as much as you can before you go...
gruezi is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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hi, dmintz,

of all the places I've been to, the forum is the place where I most wish that we'd had a good guide to help us understand the jumble of ruins that lay before us. I'm not bad at understanding maps and diagrams, but the Forum had us beat.

if i were you, I'd hire one of the guides recommended here.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 02:30 PM
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smoot60 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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I have been to Rome a half dozen times and only the last time hired a private guide for the Forum...what a difference! It made it all come alive and was worth the cost.

For this next trip in October, I have booked a private guide for the Colosseum and Forum as well as for St. Peters and the Vatican. I am taking friends to Italy for the first time and want them to get the most out of the trip. By booking our own guide, we can move at our own pace and get the personalized insights that mean so much.
kfusto is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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Francesca Caruso....there is no other, she is the BEST! [email protected] Don't get stuck in a large group tour, you won't get as much out of it. Pay a little extra for a private guide, and your tour will come to life. Contact Francesca, you won't regret it.
rmeyer is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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We are confirmed with Francesca for our October trip. I will post back when I return.
kfusto is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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You might like to look at City Secrets:Rome, in which artists, writers, historians, etc, tell about what their favorite places are, and why. this includes not just museums and ruins, but also gelato shops, restaurants, and the like.

One architect highly recommends that you get your first view of the Forum from Michelangelo's Campidoglio, preferably early in the morning or in the evening. I was particularly intrigued by the description of Trajan's Market, near the Forum, which not many people go to see, but which is quite amazing, carved into the hillside with a huge vast main room and all kinds of side alleys to explore. I can hardly wait to see it!

I have not used it yet, but I plan to take it along when we go. It's about 4x7" so it is easy to carry. It also has pretty good small maps of the different areas which is lots easier than carrying around a big one that you have to keep unfolding to see where things are. there are no big glossy illustrations, (in fact there aren't ANY pictures) but I don't think they are necessary with this guide. Just reading and following the descriptions will work very well, I think.

charnees is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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Used Context Rome last October-wonderful guides w/a Master or PhD. level of knowledge & small groups-our max was 6 & our Pompeii trip was only 4.I felt a guide is absolutely necessary for the Forum unles you have a great sense of imagination as you look at the ruins. The Colosseum is a different story. Good luck

P.S. If you go to the Colosseum, walk about 2 blocks east to San Clemente for which you do not need a guide but you must read about it ahead of time-it is 3 layers of history(14th, 4th & 1st C. structures) w/a pagan temple at the bottom-it is spectacular.
The_Judge is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2007, 03:56 AM
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Many thanks to all who responded, you have given us much to think about and more options than we can select in a single trip.

Will write back when we figure out what we will do and report on how it went.

- Dan
dmintz is offline  

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