I see Rome in one week chunks. It’s a great way to get a feel for the Eternal City.
But you don’t have that much time to spend in one place, do you?
You could, of course, go on one of those coach tours in a humongous bus full of people you don’t know. You’d have to walk a lot, because lumbering, diesel-belching buses aren’t allowed very close to the historic monuments in the center of Rome.
And you’ll follow the same route everyone else has to follow, with all the big sites and very few of the hidden gems. And what if you wanted to stop for a gelato or coffee? Only if it’s on the itinerary, Bub. And then you’d stand in line with all the other folks on the tour.
But let’s say you decided to splurge on a 5 hour tour with your very own driver. When It was time for a coffee, he’d take you right to the best coffee in Rome and let you out.
A Private Tour of Rome, a Genius Driver
Let’s say you had a driver named Pietro Petrilli, a guy so full of knowledge about Rome and enthusiasm for it that interesting stories seem to spill out of him like coins from a slot machine showing three cherries. And he does this while winding his Mercedes through town, dodging weary tourists who meander zombie-like in the middle of the road until someone honks at them.
It’s ok to be smug. It’s only five hours. You can take air-conditioned bliss for that long, eh?
Then, bing-bang he’s whipping the car into a parking spot right in front of a church.
“I want to show you something. It’s only a minute. It’s the best church in Rome. I mean everyone misses it. To me it’s special.”
And you take three steps out of the car and you’re on the ramp into Saint Ignazio. You’ve never heard of it. The ceiling is nice.
There are stars in the floor. He leads you to one and tells you to stand there and look up.
“See the dome? It’s not a dome. lt’s flat. A painting. But it’s clever, because when you move over here it changes like you would expect the view to change as you move.”
You see, the folks of 1642 had money problems just like we do today. There wasn’t enough of it to finish the fabulous dome they had planned. But God provides, as some say. Jesuit brother Andrea Pozzo proposed to paint a fake dome, one that would fool folks as long as they walked the line on the floor.
And that’s what you see. Andrea Pozzo went on to do other fakes as well.
You might have missed this amazing piece of work on a group tour as well as other amazing things inside this church and others.
And what if you wanted to see the Pantheon and there was a group playing some fine jazz out in front you wanted to listen to for a bit?
No problem, your guide is at your command for the day, taking you on an itinerary you can help plan and modify on the fly.
You can even stop at the Vatican and wander around for that perfect picture. As long as you want. Yes, it’s hard to park, but Pietro will sweet talk the police woman into letting him stay longer so you can click away at will.
So how do you arrange a private tour of Rome? Well, we did this tour with Miles & Miles. They provided the tour for our evaluation—and we had a great time. There is no doubt that if you can’t climb the Janiculum hill because your best climbing days are past, then this is the way to see all of the best of Rome in a short period. If you have only a few days in Rome, you can go on this tour at the beginning of your stay and fill in the gaps later. Your driver can assist you with that.
And if he tells you to eat at Trattoria Pommidoro in the graffiti-heavy San Lorenzo district near the University, just go. Have the Amatriciana.