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Tour of Roman Forum a success due to guide.

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.

Posted by
418 posts

Fantastic Ralph! A great tour guide can add so much to a traverler’s experience. It is great to hear from those who understand and experience that concept.

Posted by
11417 posts

Ralph, please provide the link to the exact tour you took through the company you booked with?

Posted by
1840 posts

I think it's difficult to understand the Forum without a guide; I'm glad you had a good one to help you understand it. I will add that it is also easy to get information overload in and around the Forum. Thanks for sharing your experience.

A Google search reveals Through Eternity Tours gets excellent marks on Trip Advisor. I even found a 2017 random travel blogger post that mentioned what a great job Gracelyn does.

I notice this is your first post. Welcome to the community! We look forward to hearing more about your travel experiences and hope you will continue to share what you learn.

Posted by
633 posts

I'm glad you had a good experience, and it's nice to give the name of a tour you found helpful.

But I have to point out that a 'tour' is not the only way to have a good experience in some place like the Roman Forum. It's the fastest and easiest way, but by no means the only way. There are great explanations about what you are seeing in many guidebooks. Beyond that, there is a vast amount of information on line (often with great photos too) that you can read/study before a trip. There are also some great books you can buy (often in souvenir shops near the site) with overlays of what things looked like 'then and now'. I'm one of the many people who actually enjoy doing a lot of research about historical sites before I visit them. And I have often 'eavesdropped' on a tour that I might be standing next to and more often that not the information is either way too simplified, or occasionally way too overly complicated and boring. Taking tours does not guarantee you will get the best experience.

Posted by
18 posts

Kathy asked for website: Wed 23 Oct – COLOSSEUM UNDERGROUND TOUR WITH ARENA FLOOR AND ANCIENT ROME: VIP EXPERIENCE WWW.THROUGHETERNITY.COM

Posted by
18 posts

Reply to Isabel's comments.
You are absolutely and totally correct. We tour for four months per year, so it is impossible for us to do the level of research you suggest. Wish we could. However, lately I have experienced an improvement in my ability to link together events in history from one tour to another. My focus is becoming the Middle Ages because so much was happening then that impacts now. A recent tour, "The Original Florence Walk" with Art Viva in Florence was revealing because it played off of tours we've had in other cities. Fascinating period.

Posted by
11417 posts

Thanks, Ralph. It wasn't quite clear which tour it was that you'd taken.
Hope you stick around to offer assistance on the Italy forums! :O)