Tours in Rome

Jun 4th, 2008, 07:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 76
Tours in Rome

Four of us will be in Rome in the fall and want to know if Angel Tours or Context tours are the best for going to the Vatican and the Colusseum There is a significant difference in price but are willing to pay more if there is a significant difference in the tours. Thanks.
lstamu is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 04:26 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 51
I was just in Rome 2 weeks ago and I didn't use either company, but I just used Viator for a tour of the Vatican Musuems in order to be sure we got into the Sistine Chapel. We did go into St Peter's at the end, but the tour's main focus was on the Sistine Chapel. It was an excellent tour and I'd recommend them.

For the Colasseum, I got tickets on and we didn't do a tour. In that area and the forums (included in the ticket) I preferred to download free tours on my ipod, read up on the area and wander it myself at my own pace, but I know others like doing the tours.

goferfan512 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2008, 02:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 196
On our April trip to Rome, we used Context for the Vatican, and Icon for the Colosseum. Both tours were good, but the Context Tour was VERY expensive and I did not think it provided anything extra for the money. You also want to check how long the tours are - one company that we did not use (I think it was Through Eternity)had Vatican tours that lasted more than 5 hours. That would just be way to long for me!
butnotrmpt is offline  
Jul 17th, 2008, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 636
We were in Rome last year and used Argiletum Tours for the Vatican. They were recommended by the owner of the apartment we rented. They were very cheap and very good. Here is the link We were thoroughly satisfied. We rented the headphones for the Colusseum and Forum and that was fine too. We heard different groups passing us and the guides were telling them conflicting information. Kind of funny.
sdtravels is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,070
I have to speak up for Context. I took three of their tours last November. All of their guides' qualifications are on the website, so the comment about them "appearing" to be scholarly is a joke. For example, the guide I had for the Caravaggio tour had written numerous books on the history of Rome through the ages (which I have found in bookstores and online) and had produced a television documentary for BBC and PBS in the States -- that's certainly scholarly in my book.

If you are a learned individual who likes detail (and not just trivia) and as much info as you can get in three or four hours, you'd be hard-pressed to beat Context, imho. FYI I did Antica Rome, Caravaggio tour and Borghese Gallery tour with them. When I go back I plan to do two others I didn't have time for in November.
amyb is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 11:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 963
We took 3 Context tours in Italy (Venice lion hunt tour for children, Borghese for children in Rome and hubby took the running tour in Rome) and we thought they were wonderful. The guides were very friendly, knowledgeable and professional. I highly recommend Context. They are expensive, but we felt like it was worth it.
Attnymom is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,090
In October 2006, I took the following Context tours: Ancient Rome, Roman Civilization, the Caravaggio Seminar, Vatican Tour. All were excellent with qualified guides. I also took a Pilgrimage Tour with Anno Domini Organization that was also fantastic.
Margaretlb is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 147
We've had two experiences with Context: one in Rome (2006) and one in Florence (2008). The guides we had were very knowledgeable, and the tours were excellent. But they were SO expensive, especially as the exchange rate has deteriorated. And they generally exclude all admissions, so you have to pay that as well for your party. As to whether they are "licensed guides": our Florence tour required that we be accompanied by an official licensed guide who was Italian. That is, we had both the knowledgeable English-speaking (American living in Florence) and an Italian who had no purpose whatsoever other than to walk around with us to make it all "legal." From the Context guide's comments, I got the impression that they were supposed to have licensed guides on the tours in Rome as well, but that they often don't. Keep in mind that many licensed guides have just memorized the info required for a test of their knowledge; they may know much less than your Context PhD student or scholar and their English skills are also likely to be less satisfactory. In fact, Context tries to use the terminology "lecture" rather than "tour," possibly to get around the requirement to be accompanied by an Italian licensed guide. If you've got the $$$ (make that $$$$), I'd take a chance on the Context Tours for the Vatican/St. Peter's. If you want an excellent licensed guide who speaks perfect English for a private tour of the Colosseum/Forum, I would recommend Francesca Caruso: [email protected] You can also Google her to find out more..
mocha_dolce is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,433
mocha_dolce; I can't for certain speak for Florence but it might be a local ordinance requiring that foreign licensed tour guides also have a local licensed tour guide on the tour because they are taking a local's job away.

In Rome in '05 possibly '04 I took a tour with the Archaeologist I mentioned above (lead a Roman Forum & Ostia Antica excavation), he also I'm certain is a co-founded and instructor at the 'American Institute for Roman Culture' in Rome and is a resident.

Anyway on that tour (Forum, Palatine, Colosseum) and it seems only around that timeframe (never before or after) it was required to have a local guide on the tour only because a foreign company's licensed guide was taking a local's job.

Actually it was a great tour, the local's expertise was Medieval Rome. So we would get the ancient Roman ruin history and then what it became later during Medieval times.

Also in '05 I took Context's Pompeii & Naples Tour.
Our Italian Naples guide was with us the entire day but Context still had to hire a Pompeii guide who just walked along with us.
Our Naples guide said she was only licensed for the Naples area.
Regards, Walter
ParadiseLost is offline  
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