We reached out to Francesca for a tour of Rome after reading about her in the Rick Steves book. We never actually thought we’d get a personal and private tour from her. It was amazing! She walked us around the coliseum, Roman Forum, and took us to the Pantheon. It was so personalized and by far our favorite tour in our three weeks in Italy. Afterwards she gave us recommendations for food, coffee, and other sites to see. We highly recommend reaching out to her if you are looking for a top notch tour by a vetted expert. We will be reaching out to her again, next time we’re in Italy.
She is THE BEST! You are lucky to have gotten her, although I would guess her schedule has been pretty loose this past 18 months.
We just booked this same type of tour with Nina Bernardo, recommended on the guide marketplace on this site. Now you're making me re-think who to use! I'm sure Nina will be great, though. Good to know it was a great way to do a tour!
Highly recommend it if you get a chance! She has so much knowledge and passion for her country. Everything was taught in a way that could help you visualize what was being explained, along with pictures that helped us peel back the many layers that are Rome.
Due to the lack of tourism right now, we felt like the city was ours! It felt very intimate and personal. I do know that her schedule is more open than in previous years because of these difficult times, so get on it people! Without question the best tour guide I’VE ever had. Tornerò!
She was our local guide for my 7 Days in Rome tour with RS and the RS 17 Days Best of Italy tour. She did the Coliseum and the Forum and the Borghese Gallery. She is excellent! So glad she is still tour guiding
We felt like we were being guided by a rock star when Francesca took us through the Coliseum, Forum and Borghese Gallery on our Best of Italy tour. Especially at the Borghese, that art came alive and we were thoroughly engaged. So good to know she is available for private hire. If you can get her, do it!
While I respect the opinions of those posting above, and in the interest of providing a bit of balance, I feel I should share that my experience with Ms. Caruso on a tour in Rome a few years ago was far from positive. I felt she droned on and on, repeating essentially the same information over and over as if those on the tour were too stupid to understand what she was saying the first, second, or third time.
After a while, I walked away from the tour group far enough so I could no longer hear her voice. I decided to observe the site on my own, rather than subject myself to her repetitive narrative. My wife stuck with the group but afterwards confessed that she wished she had joined me. In short, I would advise against hiring her as a guide. I certainly wouldn't do it again.
It would appear that others disagree, but I would suggest keeping in mind that Ms. Caruso's presentation works for some people, but not for others.
After that last post by Sammy, I want to join with the other people on here who are wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommending Francesca Caruso as a private guide for Rome. My husband and I were in Rome in 2017 with a group of friends, 5 couples in all. We hired Francesca to give us a private tour of the Colosseum and the Forum. The tour was fabulous! All of us agreed that it was truly one of the highlights of our two weeks spent in Italy. Francesca is very charismatic but also so down to earth. She is an engaging storyteller who held our rapt attention. The age range in our group was late 50’s to young 60’s, all in professional careers (e.g., two teachers, two engineers, one lawyer, 3 in medical fields). When the tour was over, we could not believe that our three hours had passed so quickly and wished that we were not parting yet.
Francesca was very easy to work with as I was planning that trip. She and I communicated by email and she always promptly replied to my messages and gave helpful input as I was trying to decide which tour we’d take. Her fee was very reasonable. Her tour itineraries are on her website, along with her contact information, just google her name.
A good tour guide is willing to be a bit flexible and we benefitted from Francesca’s willingness in that regard. Our tour was to take place in the afternoon on our arrival date in Rome from Florence. When the journey took a little longer than expected, I called Francesca to say that we were on the way to the meeting spot but might be a few minutes late. She asked whether we’d had a chance to eat lunch yet, and when I admitted that we had not, she suggested that we move the tour start time by an hour to give everyone a chance to catch a quick bite at a counter-service café near the meet spot. She knew we’d enjoy the tour more if we did not have empty stomachs.
My husband and I are returning to Rome in late Oct/early Nov., with one other couple this time, and we have again booked Francesca for a private tour. It was so much fun to reconnect with her again and she is just as warm and kind as I remember. Don’t be dissuaded by Sammy’s report that her tour was a droning repetition of the same information over and over. That’s so far from her philosophy! In her own words, Francesca wants her guests to abandon the idea that we learn only by accumulating facts and focus on making the most out of being there in person, experiencing 3,000 years of history as one infinite present moment.
Our last RS tour before, you know, was a Best of Rome, with Nina Bernardo as the guide. Francesca Caruso gave our group memorable tours of the Colosseum and San Clemente church, and another excellent guide (brain freezing on his name) took the group through the Vatican Museum and the Villa Borghese. You will be in good shape with any of these outstanding guides. Francesca knows her history and is a terrific guide in all respects, a real expert. Nina gave us marvelous tours of neighborhoods and quirky stuff like graffiti art. She also did a great job showing us all around Ostia Antica. You can't go wrong with either of these great guides, in my opinion.
We so enjoyed our time with Francesca. Her tour of the Bhorgese in particular brought it to life. My wife had toured with her about 10 years before. When she saw her she said, “s__t, that woman doesn’t age!”
Thank you, Vickie, for sharing your experience. It's great that you had such a positive one.
However, not everyone has had the same experience, and not every tour guide is at their best at every time.
I had read the glowing reviews for Ms. Caruso, and they seemed so inconsistent with my experience, that I felt compelled to share my experience lest those reading these accounts might be misled into thinking her work was consistently good.
Again, I'm glad you had a good experience. My wife and I did not.
Let's not discount or diminish each other's experience -- OK?
I have been on several Rick Steves' tours and experienced several local guides. All of the local guides have been above average, most were terrific, but Francesca was in a whole new category at the tip top. I am lucky to have been on more than one of her tours and I learn SO much. She is also so friendly and kind which is an added bonus.
I had her for my tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. She’s an incredible guide. I often think of her lesson: “The more you know, the more you see.”
My husband and I love going to Italy and especially Rome. We have had the honor of having Francesca as a private guide 5 times since in 2016. We thoroughly enjoy her tours and spending time with her. She brings ancient, medieval and modern day Rome to life with her stories. I have never met another tour guide like her. I learn so much from her every time we meet, no two tours are ever the same. She even gives tips on where to eat and other places to visit. Francesca’s love for Rome and teaching people is apparent. She is remarkable and we will sign up again and again for her tours. She is truly the best!