ROME Tour Guide Interview
Here’s our latest interview with a tour guide or certified local as we seek to learn from some of the top experts from the places we love.
If you are a certified tour guide and would like to be considered for an interview, drop me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat about specifics.
My questions are in bold and the responses follow below. Please excuse us if you see a mistake in grammar, we are travel bloggers & travelers not English writers. 😉
What’s your name and how old are you?
Ciao! My name is Francesca and I am 40.
Do you have kids? If so, how old are they?
I am the mom of a young teen girl, Camilla, who is 12 year old.
Where are you originally from and what city do you currently live?
I am Italian and I was born in Rome, where I have been living for nearly 26 years, before moving to the countryside area of the so called “Castelli Romani”.
I now live in the little town of Genzano di Roma, the “city of bread”.
It overlooks the lake of Nemi, where the Roman emperor Caligula built two large ships.
How long have you been a tour guide?
I started giving tours in 2005.
Why did you want to become a tour guide?
I am an archaeologists and I have always loved the history of my hometown. I started to work as a tour guide long time ago at the National Prehistoric Museum of Rome with kids. Meanwhile, I worked for an American non-profit organization based in Italy and was a tour guide whenever possible. I have been an AFSer (exchange student) in Finland when I was 17, and getting to know other people and discovering the world has always been my main focus.
Are you a licensed tour guide? What cities? If so, from which organization?
I am a qualified and authorized tour guide of Rome and its province, the Vatican and the Roman Castles area.
How many tours have you provided?
Who knows? It is impossible to count them! In high season I enter the Sistine Chapel up to 3 times a day, so I can maybe tell I enter it more times than the Pope actually does ?.
Let’s get to the exciting stuff. Why should anyone visit the city?
Rome is a magical city. Its colors, its narrow alleys and the breathtaking squares you end up in while strolling, are some of the reasons why you should come at least once to Rome in your life.
Roman food and its noise, its vibrant soul, as well as the Roman people, are simply unique.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
Rome is a really safe city. Security is everywhere and visitors really feel safe. You have to always keep an eye on your personal belongings, but this is a simple rule that has to be followed in every big city of the world.
What’s the weather like?
The weather is great all the year round, October and early May are my favorite months. I would avoid the city at the end of July/August, as it gets really hot. So, visiting the main attractions and museums at that time is not really recommended, especially to little kids and seniors.
November and January, as well as February, are considered low season months: it may be a bit rainy or cold, but the city is nearly empty, stress-free and you can enjoy some amazing sunny days, with a great blue sky.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
Clearly Italian, English is spoken by lots of Romans. If you speak Spanish, as it is so similar to the Italian language, it will be very easy communicating with us. At times some Romans are a bit shit of speaking foreign languages, but we use our body language and everything works!
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
The currency accepted is the Euro. Dollars are not accepted. I always suggest my guests to pay with card or to bring Euros in cash. It is never really convenient arriving with lots of US Dollars and changing them at the money changers’ offices. Commissions and taxes can be very high, especially at the airports.
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
Any district or area that is linked to the A line metro stations. It depends a lot on the budget of the visitor and the kind of accomodation you are looking for.
What’re your top 3 hotels and why?
JK Place – super luxury and smart, a few steps far away from the city center.
Albergo del Senato – right in front of the Pantheon. Good quality and price, good deal for the service provided.
Piazza Farnese Luxury Suites – in front of Piazza Farnese and a minute away from the market of Campo de’Fiori. Perfect for families, as they have mini apartments.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
Uber is not really legal in Rome, but I have found out the service is great and it costs only a 20-30% more than taxis. I use the regular means of transportation, such us metro and buses.
Here you find on-line updated links of our public services:
Can you highlight the MUST see sight? Minimum of 5, feel free to share as many as you would like.
Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo
Colosseum and Roman Forum
St. Peter’s Basilica
Catacombs and Appian Way
Roman Acqueducts in the Regional Park of the Appian Way
What’s the best place to take a photo?
From the terrace on the Capitoline Hill, you can take an amazing photo of the Roman Forum, tight when the sunset starts.
For a great view of the city center, I love walking in the Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci) then stopping on its terrace. You will enjoy a great optical illusion while reaching the terrace: you can discover it with me during one of my tours!
What about the top 3 restaurants?
It is impossible making a list of my top 3 restaurants, I have dozens of them to suggest! Ask me more about the incredible food experiences you can try in Rome
Here a few of them:
Casa Coppelle – great list of wines, French and Italian cuisine. Top place for foodies and gourmet food lovers.
Vinando a Campo Marzio – delicious rivisited Roman dishes, over 600 wines available. Good prices and great service.
Da Francesco a Piazza del Fico – yummy pasta alla carbonara, pizza and fresh food every day. Do not be upset, they do not have caffè espresso.
Verso sera , Piazza del Biscione – the staff is always super helpful, delicious fried artichokes, first courses, and a selection of products from the area of the earthquakes of October 2016 in central Italy (the owner is a native of the area).
What‘s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
Pasta alla carbonara
Tonnarelli cacio e pepe
Carciofi fritti – fried artichokes
Coda alla vaccinara (oxtail – you have to try it!)
Trippa alla romana
What about food markets?
Mercato di Testaccio (www.mercatoditestaccio.it)
Probably the best in town, the temple of street food addicted.
My favorite place is “Mordi e vai”, rich and watermouthering sandwiches to go. My favorite is the panino con il lesso alla picchiapò: ask about its recipe and ingredients!
Fo a good glass of local wine, go to Maurizio’s “Chicchi e Lettere”.
Please note: there is plenty of NON authorized and NON qualified tour guides there, always ask for a registered and qualified one. Local guide is better!
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
Testaccio, with its clubs and discos!
Trastevere district is great for an evening stroll and a Spritz.
My recipe for a perfect moment of hapiness and relax is: a glass of Franciacorta, a trail of cold cuts and cheeses and the person you love, while sitting down along one of the alleys of the area.
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
Eitch Borromini – right over Piazza Navona
The roof top of the Hotel de la Minerve (behind the Pantheon)
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
If you are looking for good brands, go to Castel Romano outlet, there are daily shuttle buses that do depart from the city center.
Via del Corso
Via dei Giubbonari
Euroma 2 – shopping mall
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
For sure, the Castelli Romani area, where I do wine tastings in the vineyards of the area of the Frascati Superiore DOCG, one of our best white wines of central Italy.
Just less that 35 minutes far away from Rome’s city centre, it does enchant you with its hills, towns, lakes. The Pope of Rome has his summer papal palace here, in Castel Gandolfo.
For food, art, nature and wine lovers. Perfect for people who want to experience the real “dolce vita”. None of my guests wants to come back home after visiting them.
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables? If so, what’s the best Casino in town?
Casinos are allowed, but we mainly have Bingo halls. We have Las Vegas by Playpark, quite close to the Vatican area, and Vegas Dream.
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
Rome is not only the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum. Give yourself some time to explore the city centre and its alleys, get lost, taste, seep and stroll. Fall in love with Rome.
Rome has so much more to offer than what you think!
How can people learn more about you? Feel free to share your phone, email and contact info below.
Any quote or request is more than welcome!
Please send me an e-mail to make your Roman stay more than unforgettable:
Thanks for your time! Your insights will help the next traveler.
Be Jetting & Buy Experiences!