Reviews of some of

my Tours:

__________________________________________

2019: 

Summer

Colosseum and roman forum walk (July 11th-2019):

" Jose was professional, knowledgeable and extremely patient with our child with special needs.  He is an absolute pleasure to be with and we learned so much. Bravo Jose." 

Colosseum and roman forum walk (July 20th-2019):

"We got lucky to have Jose for both of our tours.  It was great because we were so impressed after our first tour that we were thrilled to have him again.  He gave us so much information about the Vatican Museum art pieces and then for the Colosseum tour, it was just as great!  These were not our first Context tours.  But Jose reiterated the fact that all tours with Context are guided with high-quality docents and worth every penny!" 

highly recommend this tour to all


" It all worked. Loved our guide Jose and the sensitive and informed way he approached the tour and the subject of Caesar's rise to power and its consequence in Roman history and in its archictecture. I would highly recommend this tour to all."

Tour:  Julius Caesar (from the Republic to the Empire) 

greatly enjoyed our tour


" We greatly enjoyed Jose's tour.  Of the many tours I have taken in Ancient Rome Jose's was the most integrated, cogent, and comprehensive." 

Tour:  Ancient City (October 2017)  

 

will certainly be looking for Jose again 

 "Jose is a special docent, even for Context-travel. He led a private tour for our entire family of four in Rome (to Tivoli -- two years ago) and now today at the Met for my wife and me as part of a larger group tour. His knowledge of ancient history and culture, as well as mythology and literature, is both broad and deep. He is very enthusiastic and clearly loves the pursuit of art and knowledge. He knows how to connect with a variety of people in terms that are relatable while consistently conveying valuable and interesting knowledge. All of this would earn him top marks as a docent. However, what makes him truly special is that he takes it a step further. My wife and I (and in Rome, our two daughters as well) feel that drawing and sketching various elements of the art that we were discussing as a group was a valuably enriching activity. We left the tour with a more deeply internalized understanding of both the theoretical and empathic aspe cts of the cultural artifacts that we studied. This extra dimension was truly special and we will certainly be looking for Jose again, whether in Rome or in New York. "

Tour: drawing in the  Greek and Roman Collections at the Metropolitan Museum in New York

allows you to see Rome through his eyes

" Jose transmits all his passion and interest in History, drawing, and mythology and really prepares for each tour and group he will guide. One can feel all the planning he puts into it and can really appreciate all the valuable insights he provides as well as interesting stories,  His calm presence and just all the wealth in information he provides makes you see Rome with his eyes and makes you remember it forever.  Having this background really makes for a most interesting experience and one that I surely will never forget"

(Patricia, April 2014)

Tours:  Vatican Museums ,  Pompeii , the Roman Forum

knowledgeable and engaging

" Jose began our tour by giving us a single piece of paper that summarized the history of Rome! This timeline was particularly valuable as we toured various sites and Jose could refer to this timeline. Bravo, Jose! We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Jose is both knowledgeable and engaging."

Tour:  Julius Caesar (from the Republic to the Empire) 

above and beyond

"Jose was great.  He certainly went well above and beyond when he appeared at our hotel with the book Michael wanted to buy and would not let me pay him for it.....so he spent his tip on the book which was exceptional....actually, we really wanted to pay him for the book."

Tour:  Julius Caesar (from the Republic to the Empire)  

most open and engaging manner

"Can I also please express my sincere and deepest gratitude for engaging with us on the day but also  for being  that FANTASTIC that my wife recognized you after two years because of the impression you had made on her and our daughter. Also thank you for being able to remember her and  for being so passionate about your interests and sharing this knowledge in a most open and engaging manner."

Tour:  of the MERIDIAN inside Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica ("astrology in a Christian church")

his obvious love of the many dimensions of Rome is contagious

"This tour was excellent for us and Jose was informative, stimulating, and a very congenial man. We had visited the church on our own a few years back but now realize how little we understood without the background and, no pun intended, context that Jose gave us about the Church's place in the early years. His obvious love of the many dimensions of Rome is contagious."

Tour: First Christian Basilica of SAN GIOVANNI in LATERANO and the story of Emperor Constantine

he mixed history with philosophy

"This was one of the top tours for me personally as a devout Catholic who wanted to see as much theological history as possible. By the time we took the tour (14th at this point) we were becoming very knowledgable and familiar with much of the history. Jose was a fantastic docent and certainly one of our favorites - we would seek him out again. Among all the guides, he mixed history with philosophy, and showed us his tour prep advance reading and notes, clearly indicating he researched the aspects of the tour he would conduct. That was just amazing and demonstrated an unexpected commitment. For me, the fact that we were again just the 3 of us, allowed some customization that made the trip for me - finishing with a few minutes to spare, we went to Santa Croce of Jerusalem and we got to saw relics of the crucifixion that I didn't know existed - much less in this off-the-beaten path church. The other thing I liked about Jose's style was that he didn't care if we ran over - both tours were 3.5 hours; at the end he went with us part way on our first metro ride to another site we wanted to see on our own - that was a big help to navigate through initially." 

Tour: First Christian Basilica of SAN GIOVANNI in LATERANO and the story of Emperor Constantine

what to expect from the experience 

" Jose was excellent. I really appreciated that he asked us in the beginning what we expected from the experience."

Tour:  The First Christian Basilica of SAN GIOVANNI in LATERANO

Jose, evolved into the gold standard
 

"We took 6 tours in Paris and Rome, four with Jose. My 10-year-old grandaughter and the two of us continually rated each tour and guide, developing more extensive evaluation criteria as we proceeded. Our tour guide for the Ancient Rome experience, Jose, evolved into the gold standard. HE was prepared, including a personal timeline he sketched for our grandaughter, knew her interest in mythology and Greek history, and designed the most engaging tour for her. It was spectacular!!!" 

Tour:  ANCIENT ROME-  An Introduction for Children

used sketches to illustrate his points

"Jose was great - well prepared, enthusiastic, engaging, pitched the tour at the right level. He brought to life many smaller interesting details and we loved the way he used sketches to illustrate his points."

Tour:  ANCIENT ROME-  An Introduction for Children

provides meaningful answers for any questions

"Jose was fantastically knowledgeable. Any tour guide can memorize an interesting set of facts and stories for a pre-set tour, but Jose's expertise allows him to provide meaningful answers for any questions we had. The small tour group also worked fantastically. It allowed us to do without the problematic little transmitters that other tour groups use, as well as encourage us to feel comfortable asking questions. Also, reviewing the panels of the Sistine Chapel, in a quiet and separate area, prior to entering was brilliant."

Tour: THE VATICAN MUSEUM and St. Peter's Basilica

the true highlight of our trip to Italy

"On behalf of my wife and myself, I wanted to thank ...(you)... for two wonderful and informative walking tours- one in Rome and one in Venice. They were both excellent and each guide was so knowledgeable.Our guide in Rome was Jose Grave de Paralta and in Venice, (another guide). You are lucky to have such wonderful docents. Please pass along our sincere thanks to both of them.They have both been the true highlight of our trip to Italy. Thank you ."

Tour: Ancient Rome

truly profound and relevant connections from even "mundane" observations



"We found the Basilica of San Clemente, our first visit, either closed or running a long mass but it did not affect the overall tour as Jose Grave de Peralta was on the ball and a great docent all around. His gentle manner and clarity in explaining complicated archaeology and historical connections were much appreciated. We also appreciated his world view of breadth and interconnection (and his capability in expressing it). I was also impressed that he always responded thoughtfully to questions by making extemporaneous, truly profound and relevant connections from even our own mundane observations."

Tour:  Underground ROME 

engages the kids

"Jose was great at engaging the kids We would recommend him as a guide to anyone! We wish that we had scheduled our other tours with Context tours." 

Tour:  FORO BOARIO: The Myths of HERCULES and the First Market and Port of Rome

a balance of art, history, archeology: a treasure

"What a balance of art, history, archeology. Jose is a treasure."

Tour:  FORO BOARIO: The Myths of HERCULES and the First Market and Port of Rome

agreeable and enlightening


"A tour is a bit like a piece of performance art. You cannot guarantee that everything is covered but the experience should be agreeable and enlightening. Our Docent was wonderful in this respect. I cannot imagine a better more enjoyable tour."

Tour:  Galleria Borghese  

connects the history to Art, architecture and literature at the time

We thoroughly enjoyed this walk. Not only did we learn the significance and history of many sites we had previously walked right by, Jose also made a point of connecting this history to what else was going on in art, architecture and literature a this time. We ended up going back to see the Barracco Museo, the baths of Caracalla, and the Cleopatra exhibit at the Maria della Pace -- all things we saw or were mentioned during our walk -- rounding out our itinerary for the week. I am never the most educated or well versed person on your walks and I appreciate the your docents always make me feel welcome and can speak to the subjects on many levels.

Tour :  ROMAN POPES and their Place in the Italian Renaissance