It was thanks to TripAdvisor's high ratings of Real Rome Tours that we booked the tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum in March 2014. Having not known our schedule ahead of time, the booking was done fairly last minute, and I received a personal text message confirmation which I had requested to make sure the reservation went through. This professionalism was mirrored in our entire experience with Ferdinando, our extremely knowledgeable and friendly guide.
Not every tour company will grant you the opportunity to see an ancient archaeological site with someone like Ferdinando. We were blown away when he mentioned how his dissertation was written on his and his team's discoveries in a recently excavated layer of the Forum area, which he pointed out to us as we entered (still partly blocked by scaffolding!) and explained to us with the help of an extremely useful book of photographs and diagrams that served as a resource throughout the tour. We could tell that Ferdinando had a very well organized structure for how he wanted to explain each part of the tour, aided with those diagrams, and he managed to summarize the years of history in a very accessible way, constantly reminding us of the time frames of each character he mentioned to help keep us on track. He was even so organized as to offer us bathroom break opportunities every so often. It was the most informative tour I have ever been on - I just hope I will retain at least some of the information in years to come!
We were so impressed with Ferdinando as well as our ability to skip the lines and see both the sub-level and the highest level of the Colosseum (restricted access areas) that we managed to book a tour the next day with Ferdinando so that he could explain the Vatican to us in an equally interesting way, showing off his knowledge of art history while still contributing his specific archaeological knowledge of the excavations beneath the church and all of its associated history.
As Ferdinando explained to us, the two things in Rome that you really should see with the help of a guide are the Colosseum/Roman Forum and the Vatican, and we certainly are thankful that we decided to do just that. If all of the guides for Real Rome Tours are as impressive as Ferdinando was, this is without a doubt the best tour group in Rome.
If you're on the fence about booking a tour, just do it. It's worth the money three times over and really made our Rome vacation.
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