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Some Rome sights: tour vs on my own

Of the following Rome sights, which would you recommend seeing with a guide? If I went on my own, I'd use the Rick Steves guidebook or audio tours. But are any of these better visited with an actual person who can provide more in-depth information and answer my questions?

I've been in touch with both Sonia Tavoletta and Marta Marsili, based on recommendations from folks on this forum. Both offer private tours to these places, and both charge 80 euros per hour with a 3 hour minimum. I'm just wondering if it would be worthwhile to do that, considering that the cost isn't exactly dirt cheap.

Group tours would also be an option for many of these sights. I'm just wondering where you went in Rome that you wish you had a guide for or where you were really glad you had a guide (or where you had a guide and thought in retrospect it was unnecessary).

  • Orientation walk (RS calls it "Heart of Rome Walk" including Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Farnese, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and what's in between)
  • Borghese Gallery
  • Jewish Ghetto
  • Trastevere
  • Ostia Antica
  • Tivoli (Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este)
  • Appian Way and Park of the Aqueducts

I've already booked tours of the Vatican and Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill, so not asking about those.

Posted by
1160 posts

Group tours can save time; we did one that was able to use the tour-group line and get immediately into the Pantheon instead of waiting in line. We did a food walking tour that went thru Trastevere and a bit of the Jewish Ghetto; good food, informative, we felt it was worth it although more expensive than just a group walking tour. We took a group tour thru the Borghese Gallery and thought we got a lot more out of it than we would have just going thru with a guidebook.

Posted by
987 posts

I have been to Rome many times, most recently last May. I find tours in general helpful when you want more context and details on the history and culture. I can only comment on the places I have visited.

  • Orientation walk can easily be done on your own. The RS guide book provides enough information about the places you will see. The advantage of doing it on you own is that you can go at your own pace. Stop along to get a bite to eat, shop, or just pop into a local church to see some outstanding art work.
  • Borghese Gallery tour guide allows you to get a greater understanding of the history of the Gallery and the artwork. The Gallery itself has excellent guided tours at a reasonable cost. The tours allow enough time at the end to revisit favorite works of art and to visit the gardens.
  • Jewish Ghetto. I wish I had taken a tour. I have visited the Jewish Ghetto multiple times on my own, had dinner there, and each time I stumble upon something of historical importance. A guide would have made my visits much more meaningful. When I go back next time, I will get a guide.
  • Trastevere is a place to wander and get lost. You can just follow your nose and there are some many wonderful places to eat. However, I would recommend a food tour. We have gone on the Eating Europe's tour twice and each time we have eaten at different places and learned even more about this wonderful part of Rome.
Posted by
1817 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions.

I do think I will look for guided tours of the Ghetto and the Borghese Gallery. And maybe a food tour or other group tour here or there as a way to connect with other travelers.

If you have any specific recommendations for group tours or food tours you especially enjoyed in Rome, I'd love to hear about them.

Posted by
5 posts

Another vote here for food tours! Our tour with Eating Europe in Rome and the tour guide, Fabio,was top notch. One does not leave hungry! We are returning to Rome in January 2025 with plans to book another food tour with them.