Vatican tours--need experienced opinions

Feb 6th, 2002, 08:46 PM
  #1  
Barb
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Vatican tours--need experienced opinions

My family group of 6 (4 adults, 2 20 year olds, will be in Rome in March; we want to tour the Vatican and I feel a guide would help us maximize the process. We have reservations for the Scavi Tour, but I'd like some input on the best guides to use for St. Peter's and the museums. I've read about Walks of Rome, Scala Reale, and Through Eternity; please offer some comments on your own experiences with these guides. Thanks, Barb
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 06:15 AM
  #2  
jparis
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Barb: We had our own personal tour guide who was wonderful. It is not cheap, but if you are a large group, by the time you pay, "by the person", it probably will not come out much more. His name is Sergio Caggia and his e-mail is "[email protected]"
We hire him for 2 half days. The first 1/2 day was tour of Vatican which was great. I have been there twice before but never got as much out of it. The second day was tour of Roman Forum which I had also seen a few times and again, learned a ton. We were travelling with our children then 13 and 9 and they were never bored - he really kept their attention and he really cutomized it to us, I felt. He also gave me some "homework" before we went so we had some background. Can't recommend him highly enough.
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 07:23 AM
  #3  
elaine
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Barb
I used Scala Reale for their Orientation Hike and their Forum-Colosseum tour and it was spectacularly good. I only wish I'd used them for the Vatican. At the Vatican I went on a small group tour with one of the Vatican's own "English-speaking" guides, and unfortunately she might have been knowledgeable but her English was incomprehensible. Scala Reale uses English-speaking art and architecture students and teachers, many if not all of whom have English as their first language. I really can't praise them enough. Their tours are longer than some, 4 hours or so, but not boring for one second, not too scholarly but completely informative and entertaining.
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 07:33 AM
  #4  
claire
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We used Scala Reale in august for both the Orientation tour and the Vatican tour. High marks for both. Worth every penny, in my opinion. We are not art historians or architects, but were never bored with the tours. The Vatican tour is a half day tour. To some degree, your guide can key things to your interests. The Scala Reale "semi-private tours" are limited to six people, so your family would constitute an entire tour group. I would suggest that you e-mail Scala Reale to discuss your specifics and see to what degree they can accommodate any special interests your family members might have for the Vatican tour. www.scalareale.org
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 08:43 AM
  #5  
Kate
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My husband & I used Scala Reale for the Vatican tour & absolutely loved it! It was a highlight of the trip. It cost about $50/person, but worth it. They only use art historians & architects. Our group only had 6 people in to (only two other adults.) We had a PhD Art Historian, to ourselves for nearly 5 hours. It was FASCINATING! I would highly recommend it. We chose not to do the Scavi tours, but opted for tours of Domus Aureus & the Borghese Gardens instead. We were in Rome for 5 days. Have a GREAT time!

Kate
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 10:28 AM
  #6  
Barb
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Wow! It sounds like it will be worth my while to get the Scala Reale guide--one other question--do you agree that the Scavi Tour is worthwhile in terms of the extra time? I currently have a reservation for the Scavi tour on Sat Am at 9:15; should we try to arrange the Scala Reale tour for the same day, or would Friday be better?(We arrive Thursday, probably too jet-lagged to concentrate; Sunday is no good, Monday we're planning a day trip to Pompeii, and Tuesday we leave for Florence.)
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 01:53 PM
  #7  
elaine
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Barb
It's hard to make recommendations for others, we all have different interests.
You don't have that much time in Rome and if you are like most people you will be overwhelmed by how much there is to see, and how quickly the time goes by.
I had reserved the Scavi tour for my own first trip to Rome, and I ended up skipping it because there was just too much else I wanted to do. I had about 50 churches that I wanted to see, and I only got to a handful. Plus there was the Ghetto area. Plus Trastevere.
Plus the Borghese and Domus Aurea, both of which I enjoyed. Plus the Capitoline museums. Plus the Colosseum and the Forum, both highlights. Plus....
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 06:25 PM
  #8  
Kate
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Barb...I'll have to echo all of Elaine's "plus" remarks. All of those activities that she mentioned are why we did not do the Scavi Tour. We did have another activity to fill up our schedule as well...a local friend took us to Frascati for the afternoon/evening, one day, which was marvelous (getting out of the city & experiencing a little of the environs.) Within Rome...I also had so much fun just walking, popping into churches (I didn't have a list) and marveling at their beauty (& the number of them!!!) Rome is wonderful. Whatever you do, you can't go wrong.

Kate
 
Feb 7th, 2002, 06:48 PM
  #9  
jpm
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Another vote for Scala Reale. We used them for four different tours and loved every minute of it. If you want to read more have it all posted at my travelogue site: www.appleberryroad.com.

jpm
 
Feb 8th, 2002, 03:32 AM
  #10  
Mike Miller
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We did the Scavi tour of the Vatican Necropolis. This is the old Roman graveyard that St. Peters is actually built on top of. It is fascinating. You have to book far in advance by sending an email to: [email protected]. This is a fascinating tour of a part of the Vatican most people do not get to see. Only 10 people at a time are permitted. The Vatican guides are very informative.
 
Feb 8th, 2002, 04:50 AM
  #11  
Helen Donegan
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Hi Barb
Have a look at: Travel - Favourites - Scavi:
http://www.italywithus.com/
 

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