I feel about tours the same way that I feel about titles: I like it best when they’re a true expression of something (a feeling, a city), and when they’re not too short. Now you may be thinking, I’m glad you brought this up, Flavia, because your titles tend to ramble; to this I say, that’s not what we’re talking about! We’re talking about a tour here!
When Through Eternity invited me to take a tour with them, I perused their catalog (group options of which you can find here, although from that link you can also check out their private tours, as well as tours they offer in other parts of Italy) in search of something unusual, in the sense that I wanted to learn something new – Rome is a treasure chest of history and stories, and if you’re new to the city then I would truly encourage you to take a more traditional, introductory tour, but if you’ve already explored some of the Eternal City, then it may be time to dig up new adventures. Enter The Secrets of Rome: Off the Beaten Path, the description of which intrigued me enough that the afternoon of December 31st found me tying up my walkin’ shoes, zipping up my winter jacket, and heading to the meeting point on the Piazza del Campidoglio.
Stuff to know: This is a seriously cool walking tour led by a seriously cool cultural historian (hi, Thomas!). You’ll see a couple of the more famous spots of the city (Campo de’ Fiori and Castel Sant’ Angelo, to name a few), but you’ll be hearing things from different viewpoints, as well as all about the hidden lives of some of the most famous names in the world. You’ll also be walking down mysterious side streets (note, beautiful mysterious side streets), thereby seeing landmarks you typically wouldn’t encounter unless you live here.
Recommended for: Thomas did mention that he’s happy to adapt the tour when children are present, but this particular one is recommended for adults, both for mature content and because it’s a fairly long walk – three and a half hours!
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring water, because this is the definition of a walking tour. I really wouldn’t recommend setting out in high-heeled boots. Not that I did that.
Would I recommend this tour? Absolutely. Not only did I learn things about my city that I didn’t know, I found the guide qualified and engaging, and the group was small, making it easy for everybody to feel actively involved in the conversation. As mentioned above, I’d recommend the Off the Beaten Path tour for those who already have a basic knowledge of Rome – the company also offers some in-depth tours that cover some of the more classic routes of the ancient city center. And if you end up taking their Rome at Twilight tour, do shoot me an email and let me know your thoughts, because I’m curious about that one!
At the end of this experience, you’ll find yourself at the tippy top of Castel Sant’Angelo, enjoying that stunning view and thinking, I cannot believe that about Emperor Hadrian’s lover.
If you take a Through Eternity tour, I’m curious to hear your thoughts! You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, happy exploration, YiR-ers, and may your 2016 be filled with new places and fantastic adventures!