Rome: About Private Tour Guides in Rome
If you are traveling independently, a local tour guide can really help you to go beyond the pages in your guidebook or the audio tour at the museum. That is where a private guide can make all the difference.
A local guide can help fill in the details of the places you visit and bring them to life, help gain admission to popular sites, suggest restaurants where you will dine like a local, and it will be like having a friend show you their city (rather than wandering around lost and wasting time trying to see everything).
Local guides are not cheap, of course, but considering how much you will spend getting there, lodging, etc. we suggest you budget at least one day with a private guide. You will no doubt be wishing you had more once it is over. Even if you are traveling with a group, you may have a “free day” or just want to see something not included in your group tour and have one day on your own. That is where a private guide would be well worth having.
As pointed out on our Rome page, guides in Rome must be licensed. Some are licensed just for the city, some for the Vatican, and some for both. If you make the mistake of engaging a non-licensed guide, you could end up with the guide being arrested and your tour cut short–probably without a refund.
And, naturally, you are going to want a guide who gives you the Catholic Christian perspective, which narrows your choices quite a bit as well.
You would think it easy to find a good tour guide in Rome, however, that is not the case. There are many (if not most) non-practicing “Catholic” Italian tour guides that give a distorted view of Church history and are very negative towards the Church. This is definitely going to take any enjoyment away from your visit (as well as give you false information), so we suggest you look for a guide who has a good grasp of the truth of the Catholic faith and its history.
Cost of a local tour guide:
As we state above, private guides are not cheap…obviously they are worth it if you can afford one, but we realize that not everyone can.
Most private tours are minimum 60 euros ($62) per hour for 2 people for a minimum of 3 hours, so that is about $186 for a three hour tour. Some are a bit more, but may be worth it due to the quality of the guide. The number of hours vary per tour: for example, the Vatican and Ancient Rome are often 2-4 hours in length.
It is impossible to give a two hour tour of both the Vatican and Ancient Rome….there is too much to cover in such a short time.
Our list of Recommended licensed guides in Rome:
Kiron Rathnam: a graduate of the University of Dallas from their Braniff School of Liberal Arts. She received a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature and then went to the European University of Rome to study Sacred Art, Architecture and Liturgy.
Gets great reviews on TripAdvisor as well as other review websites.
She has her own website http://www.kiron.us/home email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gregory Dipippo: has the Vatican license but not the Rome license.
Ribal: is a very good Christian guide from Lebanon
Ester Scoditti: wrote the Vatican guidebook for the Jubilee year and also one of the “official” Saint Peter’s guide books