Favorite Tours  

 

I am experienced and LICENSED tour guide for the entire Rome and Lazio region in Italy. In this capacity, I offer a wide variety of standard or customized guided  tours of many sites in and around Rome. As my curriculum vitae (CV) shows, my tour paths have included various city museums of the United States, such as Miami's Villa Vizcaya, New York's MET, and  the great Philadelphia Museum of Art on Beacon Hill. 

My focus is always on the very personal perspective, and the narratives of my walks --both for groups of no more than 6 or 7 individuals or school  class teams of up to 15-20 students -- are always accompanied by  MY custom-drawn TIMELINES and other visual materials that enhance the tour experience and which I hand out at the beginning of the excursions. Below is a list of my repertoire of walks:

Walks (4-6 hours)/  Day Tours (*)

The University of Delaware and their professor Amalia Veitia posed with me for this photo under the Archangel of Castel Sant'Angelo, after our tour of the monument and its "musical" connection --- since it is from this terrace that the heroine of Puccini's "most Roman of all operas," TOSCA, jumps to her death. 

Walks (2-4 hours duration)

1) ROME: The Ancient City. This exploration focuses on the archaeological remains of the urban network and buildings of Palatine Hill, where a combination of historical accounts and legends locate the beginnings of Rome at the time of twins Romulus and Remus in the 8th century B.C.;  subsequently during the Repubic (from 500 B.C. onwards); and finally from the time of the Caesars and the Empire. The tour then visits key areas of the Roman Forum, including the House of the Vestal Virgins, the Curia or Senate, the pagan basilicas, and the ruins of the Temples of Saturn and Castor and Pollux. 

The Colosseum: the visit may either start or finish with a reserved entry access to the great Flavian Amphitheater, full of stories of Gladiators and of war machine displays including marine battles, of course, as well testimony as to the  political reasons for investing in the building of such a huge sports structure, exhibiting the most advanced examples of civil enginieering and architectural designs in its day. 

2)  The life and footprints of Julius CAESAR in Rome. Young Gaius Giulio Cesare was born in the modern neighborhood of MONTI, in his day, the poor section of town. This walk explores the statesman's early career, his rise to prominence, and the various major building projects he left in Rome, prior to his assassination (at a location still visible near The Pantheon). These Julian legacies include the Theater of Marcellus, the Julian Forum, his histories of the Gallic Wars, and the Roman Calendar. 

3)  The Foro Boario -- the walk explores the Cattle Market (arguably the cradle of Rome as a trading crossroads even before the Forum existed) as well as the first port of Rome and the 12th-century myths of Hercules landing here before the Trojan War, when Etruscans, Latins, and Umbrians exchanged goods and stories. The walk includes a look at the 8thcentury Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin a d the famous "Bocca della Verita," as well as an altar of Hercules dating to remote pre-Christian times. Also nearby is the Tiber Island area of the river, connected with both commerce and with the medical profession and methods of quarantine in times of health crises. The earliest "people's market" displays of Gladiatorial contests were first recorded here.

4)  Campidoglio (the great Capitol Hill) and the Capitoline Museums, with its seminal  collection of antiquities including the Capitoline Wolf, Julius Caesar's prized statue of the Dying Gaul, the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, and the colossal head and hands of Constantine the Great. The Capitol Hill area was the site of the 3 high temples, as well as the point where all Triomphal Marches concluded, and where in the time of the Renaissance, the Farnese Pope of the Catholic Church brought Michaelangelo to give the revered site a "modern" urban look. 

5)  The Pantheon is the largest, still-intact pagan temple (turned Christian Basilica in 609 A.D.) of the ancient Western world. How and when was it built, what was its original use. And why was the great Renaissance painter Raphael Sanzio buried here in 1520, an honor most rare. Schedule-permitting, this tour may allow us to visit the nearby Dominican basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, with its associations to St. Catherine of Siena, buried here except for her head which is in Siena, and to the painter monk Fra Angelico: this venue holds ancient sculptures from Antiquity and splendid frescoes by Filippino Lippi and a Risen Christ statue  by Michaelangelo.

6) The Story of  Early Christian Basilicas : St. John Lateran, la Scala Santa; Santa Crocce in Gerusalemme; Santi Quatro Coronati; Santa Cecilia, and Santa Maria in Trastevere -- to name a few.

7)  Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel,  and St. Peter's Basilica

8)  Caravaggio , the painter of the chiaroscuro style  of great Christian art subject matter, who revolutionized his contemporary painter world of the early 1600s, and the Baroque style invites us to follow his meteoric career full of intrigues, painterly genious, even questions that the artist posed to his contemporaries. And since a number of Roman churches still have on display those very masterworks that became Caravaggio's path--- this walk is a very handson exploration of his life and times, before beging trapped into a dead end alley and the charges of homicide that eventuallly ended his Roman sucess story and launched him on a life hiding from the Holy Inquisition, a path that then is followed throught his footprints in Naples, Sicily, en the Island of Malta. This walk includes visits to 3 churches still exhibiting the works of this master of the Counter Reformation, as well as (an option) various Roman museums that own his paintings. 

9)  A visit in the neighborhood of Trastevere to the world of architecture and times of Renaissance bankers such as Agostino Chigi,  "The Magnificent."  The villa, designed for Chigi by his friend, the Sienese architect Balthazar Peruzzi marked a milestone in the history of Western culture, and this story is visually illustrated by Raphael's ceiling story of "Cupid and Psyche" and by the astrological chart of the owner, painted by architect Peruzzi. Many stories  surrounding The Magnificent's circle of friends include his extravagant banquets riverside in the villa's citrus orchards, with guests such as Medici Pope Leo X, Raphael himself, and courtesans like the famous Impera.

10) Aventine Hill : By appointment, this tour features a walk in the gardens and church designed by PIRANESI in the mid-1700s,  home to the Priorate of the Knights of Malta on the Aventine, descended from the Knights Templar, and connected to the Battle of Lepanto (1571) where Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes was a sailor in the Spanish fleet of the coalition against the Turkish Ottoman Empire.  This delightful walking tour of this Roman Hill also may highlight a stop by the starkly early Christian Basilica of  Santa Sabina, where St. Thomas Aquinas lived while writing his Summa Theologica.  In the vicinity, too, is the romantic Park of the Orange Orchards, commanding a panorama of the Eternal City, crowned by Michelangelo's Dome.

11) The Catacombs and Basilica of St. Agnese, including the adjacent  Mausoleum of Santa Constanza, decorated with splendid 4th-century A.D. mosaics. Constance was one of the daughters of Emperor Constantine, and she oredered the construction of her mausoleum near the catacombs site of St. Agnes, as an ex-voto or act of gratitude for a cure from leprosy in her body, which she attributed to Agnese's intervention.  This visit takes us outside the Ancient Aurelian walls, which delineated not only the city from the countryside and the various consular highways going to and fro the Empire, location of all funerary monuments of ancient Romans along the said highways, and of Christian and Jewish members of the population, whose faith in the resurrection proscribed then the rites of cremation. 

 

12) The Popes and other builders of the Roman Renaissance: This walk allows firsthand exploration of how the very street fabric of Rome of the late 1400s changed to allow for the transformation of the Medieval City into a new Renaissance powerhouse of new fountains and piazzas, churches, and of architecture of family palaces that put the City of the Popes on the map.

 

13)  Bernini vs.  Borromini : The visit to the major church architecture masterpieces by these two Rival Geniuses provides a fascinating glimpse into the artistic and socioeconomic changes that imprinted the Baroque style into the entire 1600s. The Rome of this century is visible during our walking tour of the masterpieces, including Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. Along with the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, the charming Church of Santa Maria della Pace, and the church of Sant'Agnese in Piazza Navona make this tour unforgettable.

14)  The Meridian solar "Clock" inside Santa Maria degli Angeli

 

15)  Galleria Borghese 

16)  TIVOLI (whole day tour): Hadrian's Villa and Villa D'Este (*) 

17)  Pompeii and Napoli  (*) 

18)  Painted Etruscan tombs in Tarquinia  (*) 

19)  Frescoes of Piero della Francesca (2-3 day trip) including Perugia, Arezzo, Urbino, and Rimini    (*)

20)  Paestum (overnight) and its Greek temples (6th Century B.C.)  (*) 

21)  Older churches of Rome:  San Clemente, SS. Giovanni e Paulo, Santo Stefano Rotondo, Santi Quattro Coronati, and the Baptistry at the Lateran

22)  Sketching in Rome (indoor or outdoor)

23)  Tosca Tour a "musical" walking visit to the 3 places where Puccini's

famous opera takes place in Rome

24)  Roman Aqueducts (Aqueduct Park, Porta Maggiore)

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has to say about one of my TOURS 

Curriculum Vitae

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Discover with an artist and historian

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Interview segment from the PBS series "The Curious Traveler"

A moment of rest during a tour of the Vatican Museums with a group of architecture students from the University of Miami and their professor Jaime Correa