Wednesday, 23 Oct, we took a taxi from the hotel over to the Via de San Gregorio entrance to the Palatine Hill to join our 10:30 tour by Through Eternity Tours. It was billed as exploring the Roman Forum in-depth, the Palatine Hill, where we explored the imposing palaces of the Emperors. Our tour also included the awesome Renaissance Farnese Gardens and its Aviaries. Finally, we visited the underground levels of the Colosseum, with its trapdoors and mechanical elevators.
Our guide for this tour of these ancient edifices was Gracelyn Monaco. On a scale of one to ten, her enthusiasm level was over twelve. She never stopped talking and was very informative. You could ask her anything and she’d provide a detailed answer. Before this I knew little of the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. I learned so much from her description of what we were observing, I was exhausted mentally near the end of the day by all the new information I was trying to absorb. Our tour lasted from 10:30 until 16:00 with a fifty-minute break for lunch.
Upon leaving the Colosseum we came upon a waiting taxi. He told us he’d charge €25 to take us back to the Pantheon. I knew that was way too high and should have kept walking but agreed to the charge. At first, he didn’t turn his meter on but then he did. It was at about €8 when it suddenly jumped to €24.50. I laughed when this happened and told Sandy he was ripping us off. He must have overheard it because he took us two blocks from the Pantheon and told us he couldn’t go any further (total BS) but only charged us €19. Rick Steves says a taxi ride to anyplace in Rome shouldn’t cost more than €13. Our hotel says a fair rate is under €20.