You guys. We just launched our audio walking tour of Rome, and we’re all sorts of frantically excited about it.
I can’t tell you how delighted I am to finally announce the project I’ve been working on since the end of 2015, so while I’m typing this, I’m doing a happy dance which consists mostly of shaking my head around and bouncing up and down in my socks. But that’s not the point. What the point is, is that in December this very cool company called VoiceMap reached out to see if I was interested in developing a storytellers audio tour of Rome. Was I? Was I? You had me at storytellers, VoiceMap.
A few weeks before that, I’d heard the story of Antinous, the lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who sacrificed himself after it was prophesied that if what Hadrian loved the most did not die, then he would lose his empire. Hadrian scoffed, but Antinous believed that it was true – and this is where things get a little misty, but the story goes that unbeknownst to Hadrian, Antinous arranged his own death. Hadrian mourned him for the rest of his life, made him a god, and essentially did all an emperor can do to keep someone from being forgotten. Thing is, we forgot about Antinous anyways. Hadrian is one of my favorite emperors of the Roman Empire, and I had never heard of Antinous before. I was told his story on a cold evening while standing on a bridge in the middle of the Castel Sant’Angelo, which was originally built to be Hadrian’s mausoleum. It made me think about all the lost tales. So Antinous had been sitting in my head, a reminder of all the stories that don’t get told, that so many visitors to my city never get to hear.
Long story short, I thought VoiceMap’s idea of sharing a city through a story was fantastic. So, with the help of amazing VoiceMap editor Chris (hi Chris!), awesome script reviser Lauren (hi Lauren!), and fantastic Henry (who is the voice of Antinous, and so is now mostly referred to as Henrinous), I wrote a script, and here we are! What Emperor Hadrian Lost: A Walk Through Ancient Rome is a 50-minute, 1.25-mile walking tour of our favorite ancient spots that are linked to the greatness of Hadrian’s Rome, hosted by none other than Antinous, the absolute best tour ghost from the times when Rome ruled the known world. He’ll take you from Castel Sant’Angelo to Piazza Navona, to the Pantheon, the Temple of Hadrian, and finally to Piazza Venezia.
Want to join us? All you need to do is download the tour (price is US $3.99) and get yourself to the starting destination (Castel Sant’Angelo). Then put your headphones on and your phone away, and let Antinous take you to his favorite haunts (haunts! Get it? Okay I’m done…) Your phone will use your GPS to locate where you are, and Antinous will tell you where to go while regaling you with tales of his city – you’ll also make stops for the best coffee and gelato. You can find the tour here, and preview the first three tracks before purchasing to see if you like the sound of it!
If you take the tour when you come to Rome or just go over and check out the intro and preview the tracks – we made this for you, so please let us know what you think! You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Happy exploring, YiR-ers, and thank you!