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Excelente!!! nuestra guia fue maravillosa, conocia muy bien todos los detalles de los diferentes sitios que conocimos y ya que es una maestra, se tomo el tiempo para explicarle a nuestro hijo de 8 años, de forma muy agradable todo lo que estabamos visitando.
My mom and I had a wonderful three-hour walking tour on a Monday afternoon in late March lovely time to visit Rome, beautiful weather and a little less crowded. This was our third visit to Rome so we wanted to see a few places outside the typical tourist circuit in addition to returning to some old favorites, of course, so this tour of San Giovanni in Laterano the official Church of Rome and seat of the Bishop of Rome, i.e., the Pope, and apparently the oldest basilica, founded by Constantine, San Clemente, and San Pietro in Vincoli St. Peter in Chains fit the bill perfectly.
I love that this tour included hotel pick up and return, and our driver was amazing, getting us from our hotel just north of the Spanish Steps to San Giovanni south of the Colosseum as quickly as possible in spite of jammed city center streets due to the arrival of a visiting African head of state's motorcade! Our guide Maria was waiting for us outside San Giovanni, where we began a lovely three hour tour. Maria is a very warm and sweet person, low key yet engaging, and an extremely knowledgeable guide. My mom and I already knew a lot about Roman history and architecture yet she gave us lots of knew and fascinating information, sharing lots of anecdotes about the religious and artistic history of what we were seeing.
San Giovanni is enormous and extremely impressive, almost overwhelming in its size and artistic content, and not at all crowded: highly recommend it if you can get out there. Maria then took us across the street to visit the famous Holy Staircase reportedly walked on by Jesus as he entered Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem, at the top of which you can see the Holy of Holies, the medieval popes' private chapel and the only remaining portion of the original Lateran Palace, home of the popes prior to their move to Avignon and then the Vatican. Striking to see the faithful still ascending the Holy Stairs on their knees. Afterwards we walked around the side of San Giovanni's through a square with the largest and oldest of Rome's many Egyptian obelisks and visited the cathedral's baptistery, dating from the early Middle Ages and a real gem. Again, very few other tourists, and loaded with fascinating history. We then walked to the nearby church of San Clemente, a fascinating lasagna to borrow Maria's term! of Roman history, with the new 12th century basilica on top of the original 4th or 5th ce. church on top of a 1st century Temple to Mithras and various Roman dwellings and what is thought to be the Roman Mint. An unbelievable experience! Maria guided us deftly through all three levels the two lower ones are dark and there are lots of steps to descend, and then ascend, but my mom, who is a senior citizen, was fine because Maria didn't move us through too quickly. After San Clemente we got some unexpected treats: she walked us by the spot where the Pope Joan of legend supposedly gave birth in a procession and was killed by the witnesses, approached the Colosseum from the south and saw the remains of the main gladiator training center, and ended up at St. Peter's in Chains for a visit to Michelangelo's incredible Moses! Because we were a little late getting to the last stop due to the aforementioned traffic issues, Maria ran up to the guard at San Pietro in Vincoli as he was getting ready to close the gates it closes at 6 pm in winter and persuaded him to let us in for a visit! As in the other sites, Maria offered us many fascinating details about the history and art, and we now finally know the real story behind the horns on the top of Moses' head! When we exited the church our driver was waiting for us in an adjacent parking area, and he whisked us back to our hotel in no time at all this time with no traffic issues!.
In short, this tour by the local operator Welcome Italy was even more than we'd hoped it would be and Maria was a delightful tour guide and companion for the final afternoon of our week in Rome. Highly recommended! Grazie mille, Maria!
The tour was good and really informative. However we felt that the experience was marred as our guide appeared 45mins late.
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