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grammie Jun 30th, 2004 05:46 PM

Rome tours
We are going to spend a few days in Rome in late September before we board a cruise ship for the Greek Isles. We want to go on a few guided tours. What are the best tours
for our short amount of time in Rome and can
we book them in advance? We would appreciate any recommendations.

francophile03 Jun 30th, 2004 11:58 PM

We took the hotel's recommendation of Carrani (sp.) Tours. I didn't care for the tour guides, just ok. Also we used them for a day tour of Florence-kind of lousy. They do the "factory tour" thing and instead of having us visit the Ponte Vecchio and the San Lorenzo Market they just showed it to us from a far distance.
Not sure if this type of guided tour is what you refer to.

Nikki Jul 1st, 2004 02:25 AM

Two organizations are frequently recommended on this board for walking tours of Rome.

Scala Reale is pretty expensive but everyone raves about them. I have not taken their tours but I understand they are quite comprehensive and similar to taking a fascinating seminar. See their website (

Enjoy Rome is more reasonably priced. I have taken two of their tours (Ancient Rome and the Vatican) and enjoyed them very much. Their website is

Huitres Jul 1st, 2004 02:51 AM

I am affiliated with Scala Reale (now called Scala Reale Context Rome), so I heartily recommend their tours. The emphasis is on the history and in-depth, detailed information behind the monuments, sites, etc. versus the often glossed over "commercial" versions presented by other tour guides and companies. Additionally, Scala Reale tours focus on a particular place or monument(s) so I would recommend taking a more comprehensive, broad tour of Rome first (see recommendation below), then a Scala Reale tour for the Vatican, or Pantheon, etc.

Another, more flexible tour option is Archeobus ( that departs daily (10:00 am thru 5:00 pm) from Rome's Piazza Venezia. The cost is 7,75 euros per person, and a bi-lingual guide explains everything in English and Italian. This tour method allows one to take a bus all around the sites in Rome and the Appian Way, with the option of getting on and off at will. You can re-board anywhere along the route, several times, at no additional cost. Or you can stay on the bus for the duration of the tour, then on the return trip back, get off at a particular point(s) of interest you would like to see further. They recommend reserving tickets 1 day in advance, esp on Sundays and holidays.. Given your short amount of time in Rome, this might be the best comprehensive tour option for you while you are there.

jodalahh Jul 1st, 2004 09:22 AM

We took 2 Scala Reale tours past summer (the evening walk and ancient rome) - both were remarkable and highlights of our trip. We were only sorry that we did not use them for the Vatican as well. These tours are intimate (limit to 6 people), in-depth and fascinating. For our ancient rome tour, my husband and i were the only clients so our docent really tailored the tour just for us. Well worth every penny and will not disappoint.

elaine Jul 1st, 2004 02:38 PM

I'm in the Scala Reale alumni club too.
You ought to have some genuine interest in history, otherwise a shorter tour with a different company might be better.

Most SR tours, except for their Orientation tour, are 3-4 hours.

didan Jul 18th, 2004 08:32 AM

We're probably going on the same cruise as the person who started this thread (Princess/Greek Isles). One option we're considering is the Through Eternity 'Essence of Rome' tour. At 340 Euro, it's not cheap. But since we'll be in Rome such a short time -- and my wife and I will be accompanied by elderly in-laws on their first trip to Rome -- this seems like a great private tour. Through Eternity seems to have fans in the travel book community, but I'm wondering if anyone on this board has taken their tours. Thanks!

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