My Tours of Rome
Would you like to roam around Rome and have some fun? I will bring you insight about Rome, an experience not just a tour.
Rome, with its 2800 years of history and its many layers, is a feast for the eyes.
From the Colosseum to the Pantheon, from the Roman Forum to the many churches (some byzantine), from the famous squares or piazzas (like Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps that were paid for by the French!), to the Jewish Ghetto (one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world). Rome is a place of enchantment and exploration, with many renowned fountains such as the Trevi Fountain, where you can actually drink water there. And did you know you can go to a different country by just walking across a street without a passport (the Vatican)?
But like a good forkful of lasagne (and yes, the food here IS utterly delicious, even kosher and gluten free), the layers are mingled together.
The joy I have is showing you Rome and helping you understand and appreciate all the various aspects and layers of this amazing city.
Join me for fun and a tour of a lifetime.
including the Colosseum
the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
the City that honours water and architecture
THE JEWISH GHETTO and 2000 years of Jewish history in Rome
AND VILLA D’ESTE
BYZANTINE CHURCHES of Trastevere
WITH EASE BY CAR
- the famous sites of Rome
Ancient Rome including the Colosseum
Go back in time with a tour of ancient Rome. Visit the heart of the ancient city for legal, religious, and commercial undertakings – The Forum. Walk where a population of over a million people lived 2000 years ago, the “strata” constructed by the first emperor Augustus. See where the famous Julius Caesar was burned and declared a deity and the famous Roman senate.
We also visit the Palatine hill (one of the 7 hills of Rome), where the founder of Rome, Romulus (753bc), is believed to have lived and the palaces of various emperors who lived in this area for over 300 years. The views from the hill of the forum are fabulous for those who like photos and selfies!
The final part of the tour is to the famous Colosseum, the ultimate sports arena, where both animals and gladiators fought and died, built almost 2000 years ago. What was it really like and why did people go – was it truly about entertainment or was it about power and money or both?
The Vatican - Vatican Museum including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
We go to the smallest country in the world – the Vatican where we will see the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s basilica and square, and the famous Pietà by Michelangelo.
We start at the world-famous Vatican museum. This includes not only the history of the Vatican, explanation of the artwork and famous sculptures, but also the building itself, a former papal summer palace, which is something to behold. The museum part ends at the famed Sistine chapel and the magnificent ceiling by Michelangelo. We then take a direct route to St. Peter's basilica and the famous square. The basilica is the world’s largest Roman Catholic church (and largest optical illusion), so large it can hold up to 60,000 people and the altar that the pope gives a Mass from is the height of a 10-story building. You will also the famous masterpiece by Michelangelo -the “Pietà” and of course the tomb of St. Peter. See for yourself what you may have viewed on television when you finally leave the basilica and enter St. Peter’s square, see the Pope’s official residence and the famous” habemus papam” balcony -where the newly elected popes first says hello!
Rome - the City that honours water and architecture
A stroll around the centre of Rome – marvel at the mixture of ancient Rome and the baroque. How much influence did the style of ancient Rome have?
Rome is famous for fountains and square (piazzas) and the best are here- Piazza Narvona and the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, the Trevi fountain (and yes throw a coin in and take plenty of photos), Campo di Fiori ( the field of flowers, markets and burning in the 1600s) and Piazza di Spagna, with the famous Spanish Steps and the boat fountain by the famous Bernini’s father where you can actually drink the water.
We will also visit the best well preserved Roman monument in the world -the pantheon. A large part of it is original, the bronze was recycled by the popes, but has the impressive original poured concrete 43.3-meter (142 feet) dome that has inspired all domes ever built. It is a literally a perfect sphere in shape or perhaps a time machine???
A general stroll through the centre, easy and at a leisurely fun pace with lots to see, which can include coffee, gelato (a gelateria has of over 100 flavours) or even a bit of tourist shopping if you like!
The Jewish Ghetto - 2000 years of Jewish history in Rome
The Roman Jewish Community is one of the oldest continuous community in the world. It has a history starting from ancient Roman times. They have always had a presence in what is known as the Jewish ghetto area (which just happened to be by the port and warehouses of ancient Rome. Convenient for known merchants, no?) since ancient times and today it is the center of Jewish life.
We walk around learning the amazing history of this Italian and Sephardic Jewish community from ancient Roman time seeing the ruins of the Porticus Octaviae ( where the main street gets its name), to the 1492 Jewish expulsion from Spain when many Jews came to Rome and many Roman Jews can directly trace their ancestry to this, to the 315 years in this area that was locked up and what remains, to the current beautiful synagogue built in 1904 after Italy became a country and this history.
The area is bustling with lively mouth-watering kosher restaurants and shops. It also has one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome, the Turtle Fountain. This tour includes a description and tour of the fabulous Jewish museum with its virtual tour of what the gated ghetto used to look like and the magnificent synagogue.
This is one of the best places to experience the many different layers of Rome and appreciate the structure you currently see is not how it started. It was born as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, a burial site for the Emperor and his descendants.
In the late Imperial period, it was swallowed up by the city fortification, becoming a part of the Aurelian Walls. It became known as a great defensive fortress and received appropriate modifications like an underground prison (actually one of its most renown functions, especially during the inquisition), cannons, a moat and a drawbridge. It became the fortress of the pope- actually saving his life during the sack of Rome in 1527. So as the home away from home when needed, the popes had to have it decorated in splendour, with a library, study and even with a bathroom with hot running water!
However, this splendour does not compete with the magnificent views of Rome that can be seen from the various levels of this place. There is even a fantastic bar to sit, have a coffee and take in all the beauty and easy photos. And finally, you will see the statue of Archangel Michael (the story of how this place received its name) at the top. This is a travel through time with beauty at your side!
Hadrian's Villa and Villa d’Este in Tivoli
Burdened by his disgust for the chaos and dirt of Rome, and an even stronger contempt for the city’s Senate, Roman emperor Hadrian decided to relocate to Tivoli in the 2nd century. He built an imperial mini city to be his new residence in Tivoli, north-east of Rome, just where the travertine happened to be located. Mix easy access to travertine, water supply and beautiful environment, the resulting impressive ruins are some of the most amazing in existence and an incredible part of day out of Rome.
Then we’ll move on to Villa d’Este, home to Cardinal Ippolito d’Este in the 16th century. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to get himself elected Pope, he was appointed governor to Tivoli, eventually for life. To show his contempt for not being elected pope and building on the myths in the area, ( Cumae Sybil, who predicted the coming of Jesus, and Hercules) he built a residence and garden that would rival any pope or myth for that matter- and created one of the most magical places in existence.
The gem is the garden- originally with over 50 fountains, a majority still working and even on that plays music, combining the sounds and with the surrounding environment - all in perfect harmony - it is a sight to behold and for amazing photos.
This tour will also include a luxurious Mercedes car hire, picking you up where you're staying, then to and from Tivoli.
Byzantine - churches of Rome tour
A specialised tour of churches. I can do other famous churches (just ask) but these are hidden beauties and magic. Sometimes they are called special churches, smaller churches, hidden gems- they are this and more. Usually they do not look extremely impressive on the outside, normally having the exterior restored between the 1600-1700, but inside them is something to behold: byzantine mosaics ranging from 4th and 13th centuries that can rival those in Turkey or Ravenna.
From the time of Constantine in the 4th century through the time of the Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, Byzantine art flourished throughout both the East (Istanbul) and the West (Ravenna/Rome) as they had the same church, same religion, same set of rules.
They glitter, shine and cover a large area: Whereas Roman mosaics were mostly used as floors, the Byzantines specialised in covering walls and ceilings. Also, they were set at slight angles to the wall, so that they caught the light in different ways. The gold tesserae sparkle as the viewer moves around within the building
They are scattered through Rome, however there are 2 major clusters: in Trastevere, starting at Santa Maria in Trastevere and the other in Esquilino, starting at Santa Maria Maggorie.
We can do one area or the other (I like Trastevere as you see underground portions of some churches and great food after) or both
Tour the famous sites of Rome with ease by car
Seeing all of Rome can be a monumental task, especially in one day or with mobility issues, but this tour covers all highlights in the comfort of a luxury car.
We pick you up from where you’re staying to see the iconic landmarks including the Colosseum, Circo Massimo, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Vatican to name a few. How long and how this fits into your schedule (such as we touring inside the colosseum as an option) depends on you.
This tour is ideal for visitors with limited time (such as cruise ship passengers), first time visitors who want to get the lay out of the city, and those with mobility issues.
We get very close to many sites, so for those who have limitations, it is only a very short walk or push to see inside the Pantheon or for the picturesque photo of you in front of the Trevi fountain.