Secrets of a City - Georgia Darell

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All of my tours are designed for both the Vestal Virgin and experienced Roman Historian and Traveller. Each tour contains the iconic monuments you'd expect, but I also endeavour to take you "under the bonnet" in a way that no group tour ever could. Rome's secrets are etched into her very atmosphere if you only have the eyes to see, ears to hear and... me to lead the way! From princes and popes to paupers and prostitutes, from homosexual charioteers to illegal christians, this is the history you wish you'd been taught at school.

 

QUICK LINKS TO ROME TOUR DESCRIPTIONS:

Roaming around Rome (3 hours)

Caravaggio and Vino - a perfect passegiata (3 hours)

Galleria Borghese (2 hours)

A Date with Death (2.5 to 3 hours)

Learning the Layers (1 hour)

La Grande Bellezza (3.5 hours - Driving)

Ghetto and Trastevere with Apperitivo (2.5 to 3 hours)

Moving Museum Segway Tour (3 or 4 hours)

 

OUT OF ROME TOUR DESCRIPTIONS:

Ostia Antica (4 hours)

Tivoli - The Villa Adriana and the Villa D'Este (5 hours)

 

OTHER:

Custom Private Tours (varies)

 

PRIVATE TOUR FEES:

1-2 people: Euro 80 per hour

3-6 people Euro 100 per hour

For parties of more than 6 people contact Georgia. (Fees are excluding tickets and driver costs) Georgia accepts deposits via PayPal. Please get in contact to enquire and book!




Roaming around Rome

3 hours

This is a wonderful orientation tour of the historic centre taking in the quintessential stops, and obviously including a few secret extras, like Bernini's elephant Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Poppolo and includes a gelato and a coffee. And of course, we will also stop in on a few hidden gems too... not least the site of Caesar's assassination.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Caravaggio and Vino - a perfect passegiata

3 hours

Caravaggio was the Bad boy of early Baroque Rome. He lived a life as dramatic as his paintings. We will wander around the historical centre of Rome focussing in on churches containing Caravaggio's masterpieces, stop off for traditional Roman street food: "fritti" "suppli" and pizza al taglio before enjoying an apperitivo (wine and pre dinner canapes Roman style).

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Galleria Borghese

2 hours

Georgia's favourite museum! A veritable Aladdin's cave of treasures from antiquities to Bernini's breathtaking statues and the largest collection of Caravaggio's in the world. Raphael, Titian, Domenichino... these are just some of the maestros we'll see and talk about. With floor to ceiling frescoes my commentary is peppered with anecdotes of the scandalous Cardinal Scipione Borghese and the private lives of the artists, this is one you can't afford to miss. Less crowded and more intimate than the Vatican, the Villa Borghese limits the numbers of people allowed in with pre-booked tickets, and keeps your reserved visiting time to two hours. Which is why it's so important to have a guide. Honestly - this is one of the most eye-boggling places you will ever see. And I include the Taj Mahal in that comparison! (This tour can be combined with the Caravaggio, Vino and passegiata tour. I call this the ABC tour: Apperitivo, Bernini and Caravaggio!)

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




A Date with Death

2.5 - 3 hours

One of the most exciting and fascinating experiences to enjoy in Rome. We visit the Ancient Christian catacombs of Santa Priscilla and the Crypt of the Capuccin monks. This is an adventurous and often spine-chilling tour into the depths of the underground tombs of Rome's first illegal Christians. From the catacombs we travel by private transfer to The Crypt. This is a profoundly spiritual, viscerally macabre funereal piece of art created from the bones of nearly 4000 human skeletons... You want to make sure you've digested your lunch thoroughly before you visit! I call this the Indiana Jones and Lara Croft tour... as we become tomb raiders and witness the secret language of symbols and esoteric meanings of frescoes that have survived since the Second Century A.D. I'll show you evidence of ancient female priestesses as well as the oldest known fresco of the Virgin suckling the infant Christ in the world. I know these catacombs like the back of my hand, and I'll show you places not normally seen by the "usual" public. Dan Brown.... eat your heart out. Notes: This tour has a strict dress code: shoulders and knees must be covered. Gentleman are asked to remove their hats. The only draw back to this tour? Strictly no photographs allowed at either site. There are souvenirs and post cards available though.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Learning the Layers

1 hour

Located a 5 minute walk for the Colosseum, San Clemente Basilica is one of Rome's most exceptional gems. A stunning 12th century basilica hides many secrets. Directly underneath is a 4th Century basilica - which has been fully excavated and we'll be able to tread in the footsteps of the first ever newly legalised Christians, admire frescos from the middle ages and marvel at the legends of saints and martyrs as depicted in these frescos that have somehow survived nearly two millennia. That's not all though, beneath this basilica is... a 2nd Century pagan temple to Mithras... it feels like climbing down into the bowels of Slytherin common room. We'll learn all about the secretive and often macabre warrior cult of Mithras. And that's not all.... there is yet another layer; but I don't want to spoil all the surprises!

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




La Grande Bellezza

Driving tour: 3.5 hours

This is a custom made driving tour of Rome's remarkable vistas and viewing points that you would never find alone! We'll visit ancient bath houses and learn about how the Romans loved their luxury - although I'm not sure having one's armpit hair plucked by slaves is quite my idea of luxury... We will then head out to see the surrounding countryside. We'll drive out to the old Appian Way to see some of the astonishing ancient pagan tombs that line it, as well as see the ancient Aqueducts - Rome's incredible plumbing system. We end with an outstanding panaroma overlooking the entirety of the Eternal City. A great way to start or end your stay in Rome.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Ghetto and Trastevere with Apperitivo

2.5 - 3 hours

A wonderfully atmospheric amble through these quaintly cobbled streets of Rome learning about the way of life of the poorer members of Roman society - it wasn't just the cardinals! We'll stop and sample in-season Roman delicacies like the artichokes and enjoy an apperitivo over the way in Trastevere.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Moving Museum Segway Tour

3 or 4 hours

The City of Rome is an open air museum. It can take days of walking your socks off and getting a little lost to try and fit it all in. This incredibly fun segway tour whizzes us around the city - meaning we see as much in 3 hours as you might in 3 days! From the Castel Sant Angelo through the historical centre and around the Forums and monuments of Antiquity including the Colosseum and Circus Maximus - where we pretend to be racing charioteers (or maybe that's just me) this is always a highlight of any trip to Rome.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




OUT OF ROME TOURS:

Ostia Antica

4 hours

Rome's ancient port town, to those in the know we call it "the better" Pompeii. While Ostia doesn't have the compelling tragedy of the volcano that Pompeii has, it has nonetheless been preserved for over two millennia and I will help you recreate the hustle and bustle of ancient Rome's most important port town. From amphitheatres to bath houses, temples to necropli (the burial grounds), fast food joints to brothels and high rise apartments, a trip to Ostia is a remarkable experience and a wonderfully tranquil escape from the dust and noise of Rome. We will travel there by metro (30 minutes each way) from Stazione Ostiense, opposite the Piramid.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Tivoli - The Villa Adriana and the Villa D'Este

5 hours

I am obsessed with the Hunky Hadrian. He is one of my favourite emperor's. Sadly for me, he was obsessed with the beautiful Greek boy Antinuous and would never have returned my love. Hadrian is famous for all sorts of reasons some good, some bad, some horrifying and some down right deviant. One of his many hobbies was architecture and he is widely credited with being the brains behind the Pantheon. His palatial complex at Tivoli is one of the most beautifully preserved ancient monuments in the world and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. During our 3 hour visit we'll learn all about the ancient Roman way of life and all about the Emperor Hadrian too - one of the 5 "good emperors" (not that that is saying much...). He won the hearts and minds of the people but wasn't loved by the politicians. What was the reason he decided to live so far out of the way? To avoid poisoning perhaps? His love for Antinuous is one of the great romantic legends of all time... his young beloved tragically drowned in the Nile, and Hadrian turned him into a god, to immortalise him. His wife, Sabina, was obviously thrilled. This and more will we unearth as we meander around this citadel, just 40 minutes away from Rome. Afterwards we'll head up the hill to the town of Tivoli where we'll explore the most exquisite Renaissance garden of Europe; treading in the footsteps of the great and the good through the ages, we'll marvel at the spectacular fountains and breath taking views of the Villa D'Este. This is a picturesque afternoon and one that will stay with you forever.

Please contact me with your travel itnerary and possible dates.




Custom Private Tours

Depending on your interests and the length of your stay in Rome I can tailor your itineraries and tour schedules to suit you. Please do email me with any enquiries and I will always come back to you within 48 hours.

 

Eating and Drinking

Two of my favourite pastimes! If you would like advice and help booking restaurants, I am only too happy to help.


Other Tours Georgia Recommends

Off the beaten track storytelling:

There are several amazing guides that have created outstanding tours for the lover of stories and scandal. My favourite is the Courtesans tour of Rome, created and led by Massimo de Filippis. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I was mesmerised by this tour throughout... the stories of the courtesans of Rome! It is a social history of Rome, bringing the place to life as you head down lesser known back alleys, with animated stories of the lives of these remarkable women. Massimo has also created a mind blowing Emperor's tour - which involves an evening stroll around Rome while he talks to you about the lives and loves, scandals and stories of some of the most famous and infamous emperors. Don't just take my word for it have a look what others say about him on Tripadvisor.

Vatican:

For a delightful, small group tour I highly recommend the Walks of Italy Pristine Sistine tour as the perfect way to beat the crowds and experience this magical place in its entirety with no one else there. It's an early start, but having the Sistine chapel to yourselves is very much worth it. Your guide will take you straight to the Sistine Chapel before a walk around the museums. When you re-enter a couple of hours later, you'll be shocked at the sheer volume of people in there. For any tours with Walks of Italy please feel free to use my 10% discount code GeorgiaD10.

Colosseum:

I recommend a couple of outstanding guides for Ancient Rome as well as myself (!) The tour includes the three major sites of Ancient Rome: the Forum, the Palatine Hill and of course the Colosseum. I believe that stories bring these places to life - so if you want the dimensions of the buildings that's cool - but I and my esteemed colleagues prefer to delve right into the lives and stories of the people that lived and loved, breathed and bellowed, politicked and policed, married and murdered, prayed and died in these buildings. There are so many incredible stories and extraordinary characters whose ghosts still haunt these places... 3 hours will fly by!

Private Guides

For private guide recommendations for the Vatican and Colosseum, if I am unavailable, please contact me and I can put you in touch.

Secret of a City Tours