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Rome| © S.Borisov/Shutterstock
Rome| © S.Borisov/Shutterstock
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Top 10 Art And Culture Tours In Rome

Picture of Melissa Pearce
Updated: 27 October 2017
Home to 2.8 million people, Rome is not only the capital of Italy, but also a hub of cultural and historical artifacts. By dividing the Rome experience into five categories, we have gathered some of the best art and culture tours and guides that the city has to offer, managed by those who know the ins and outs of the city best: the local people of Rome.

Renaissance and Baroque Rome

Colosseum in Rome and morning sun | © prochasson frederic/Shutterstock
Colosseum in Rome and morning sun | © prochasson frederic/Shutterstock

Rome As You Like It

A team of five Roman locals, all born in the city, Rome As You Like It offers three-hour tours for up to six people covering a range of places of interest within Rome and its outskirts. The Borghese Gallery and the Church of St. Maria del Popolo tour privately leads you first through The Borghese Gallery, home of Cardinal Borghese’s art collection. From the mansion’s gardens you can gaze over the Piazza del Popolo and see the Twin Churches and the prominent Egyptian Obelisk, the subject of many Baroque landscape paintings. The guides here are interested in giving newcomers a range of examples of the art that the city has to offer whilst ensuring that they are well looked after.

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Rome Local Guide

Rome Local Guide offers private tours, walking tours and tailored tours on request. The Downtown Rome Walking Tour is perfect for those new to the city who are interested in the city’s Baroque and Renaissance history. Lasting for approximately three hours, you begin at the infamous Piazza Navona city square, before passing through the beautiful Fountain of Four Rivers, The Church of Santa Agnese and the awe-inspiring Pantheon. Finally having thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain, the tour ends at the Spanish steps and your wallet anxiously awaits the famous shopping site – the Via Condotti. Alessia’s family is rooted in tourism and guiding newcomers around the city of Rome, and her genuine passion makes for a memorable exploration through the city.

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Underground Rome

Old street in Trastevere, Rome, Italy | © Catarina Belova/Shutterstock
Old street in Trastevere, Rome, Italy | © Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

3 Millennia Tours

Run by local experts who aim to assist you in all aspects of your trip, 3 Millennia Tours has built up an impressive reputation. In their Underground Rome Tour, they take visitors through the ancient catacombs that lie hidden beneath the city and reach outside its perimeters. The catacombs stretch on for kilometers and often go as much as four layers deep. In this tour you will be taken first to the outskirts of the city’s catacombs, before returning to the center in order to visit The Church of San Clement: a beautiful structure housing stunning frescos in addition to a 12th Century mosaic. Whilst here you will learn how the building has developed over time, symbolic of the growth of the Catholic Church itself. With an average of four to six people per group, you are given a very intimate and informative guide around the catacombs.

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Context Rome

Focusing on private guides and walking tours, Context Rome is at the forefront of educational guides and tour seminars in Rome. Offering an alternative to the archetypal tours of the city, they hold over 50 different walks, all of which are fronted by experts in the field and have a maximum of six people per group. As well as guided seminars on the art, architecture and cuisine of Rome, an underground view of the city is presented in their Underground Rome: The Hidden City tour. Through visits to specialist sites, experts in speleology give an in-depth look into some of the newer archeological finds in the catacombs.

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Vatican Rome

Saint Peter's Square in Vatican | © S-F/Shutterstock
Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican | © S-F/Shutterstock

Paola Your Personal Tour Guide Of Rome

Paola Barbanera is a reputable tour guide in Rome, which is where she grew up. Her interest in the city’s history and its artworks stems from her childhood when she would explore its back lanes and alleys in search of cultural treasures. An experienced guide, she offers tours to small groups, individuals and business groups. Paola is a specialist in art history and archaeology, and has also undertaken a degree in Science Tourism. She offers to meet visitors at the airport to ensure their safe arrival into the city. One of her best tours is The Vatican Tour in which she takes visitors on a four-hour walk, meeting at the Vatican Museums. Once you have breathed in the musty air of the exquisite Sistine Chapel and looked upon the famous frescoes of Michelangelo, Paola will take you to St Peter’s Basilica, heralded as the ‘Mother Church’ of Catholicism.

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Private Rome Tour Guide

Private Tour Guide Jan Corinne, a New Zealander who has lived in Rome for 20 years, will take you through the city with enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge that she has acquired over years of study. Corinne offers group tours but also encourages privately guided tours with an itinerary that can be tailored to the needs of the visitor in order to give them a more individual experience. The potential itinerary for a tour based around the Vatican and the Pope is extensive, with visits to both ancient artworks such as Raphael’s School of Athens, as well as contemporary sites such as the Vatican Modern Art Gallery. Jan allows you to pick and chose the sites that interest you most, utilizing her knowledge to ensure that you get the most out of the time spent. Spellbinding views are to be had at the end of the tour, as you are given the chance to climb to the top of St Peter’s Dome, a must-see.

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Ancient Rome

Roman Forum | © anshar/Shutterstock
Roman Forum | © anshar/Shutterstock

A Guide in Rome

Run by licensed tour guides all living in Rome, these tours are aimed ideally at smaller parties, independent travelers and families. The tours strive to give the visitor a different look at the city of Rome, visiting some of the less well-known spots in addition to the more obvious and important architectural sites. The Ancient Rome and its Glories tour covers all the typically popular sites within the city, but gives you an intimate experience with groups no larger than eight, and headsets offered to groups over five. Here you will see all of the main attractions; The Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum, Palatine, Circus Maximus and Capitol Hill. Then finally a stunning finish, with panoramic views of all Roman Forums and Palentine Hill.

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Roma Culta

Roma Culta offers a mixture of seven hour full-day tours and half-day tours that can last between three and four hours. If you follow the Roma Antiqua – The Eternal City tour you will see a selection of Rome’s ancient architecture such as The Colosseum and the Ancient Roman Arches of Triumph, with a spectacular finish as you are led to The Villa dei Quintili, located in the plush surroundings of the Appian Way.

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Fountains of Rome

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy | © TTstudio/Shutterstock
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy | © TTstudio/Shutterstock

London Rome Tours

Alessandro Innocca de Cesaris is a Roman citizen, from the glorious Tivoli countryside, who has been giving tours around Rome for over ten years, as well as around other parts of the globe for even longer. He hand picks the best spots for travellers in order to provide them with a full and independent guide of the city. Similarly to other local guides, he prefers an intimate affair with small groups and individuals. Also working for the company is Agnese Angelini, a student of art history and licensed tour guide of eight years. Their website is informative and full of helpful videos that give you an entertaining insight about what to expect. Highlights of their Roman Fountains tour include the Fontana die Quattro Fiumi in Navona Square, the Trevi Fountain, the Fontana dell’Obelisco and the Fontana del Nettuno in the Piazza del Popolo.

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Real Rome Tours

Real Rome Tours is a family run company intimately guides visitors in and around Rome, The Vatican and Florence. Allowing no more than twelve people per guide, they aim to make tours entertaining and educational in order to keep all ages amused. Tours cover a range of Rome’s places of interest in addition to talks on food and wine, driving and private tours, walking tours, semi-private tours and day trips. If you want to view Rome, its fountains and architecture after sunset, then Romantic Rome: Fountains, Monuments & Piazzas at Sunset is well-suited. Try not to be perturbed by the name of the tour, this experience will show you Rome under a completely new light as the sun sets and the white marble structures are quintessentially altered. A relatively short three-hour walk will take you through the city just as the sun is setting, allowing you to watch as the city unwinds and the hustle and bustle evening atmosphere begins to build up. This tour stands out due to its focus on important figures in history, symbology, and their relevance to the sites being shown, of which all the significant ones are included. Finishing the evening with a classic Italian ice-cream, this tour is an ideal way to round off your trip.

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