Rome on your own

Posted on Feb 1, 2016 in Planning Support, On your own

[revised December 2023]

We believe the guidance of a local expert makes a big difference in your Roman Holiday, of course!

But we also believe  you need your *own* time to explore the city, to wander and wonder, to feel lost and find your way….

Moreover, there are some sites where you will have an internal guide or audioguide service included in your admission ticket and we are here also to help you  save some money and rather have an extra bottle of wine at dinner!

Here is the list of some palaces, museums and attractions where you do not need us and the link to reserve a visit or receive informations:

  • Domus di Palazzo Valentini: highly recommended, it’s a virtual reconstruction of two ancient Roman houses now buried by a Renaissance palace. The tour suits all ages, children and teens love it!  You are given an audioguide. Reservation is mandatory. This visit can be combined with our orientation in the city centre or with our Ancient Rome tour. 
  • Villa Medici is a gorgeous Renaissance Villa now housing the Academy of Fine Arts for France in Italy. You will mainly visit the gorgeous garden and few rooms, enjoying an incredible panorama over Rome. Great combination with our tour of the city centre, a bike tour in the Borghese park or our “Grand Tour” walk.
  • Palazzo Farnese: the seat of the French Embassy (formerly a Cardinal residence, boasting some of the most precious frescoes in Rome) is open to visitors over the age of 10 for three days per week. You can combine this tour to our walking orientation in the centre or a Food Tour around the market of Campo de’ Fiori.
  • Catacombs  arrange internal group tours for security reasons. If you are interested in a deeper tour along the Appian Way, to St.Agnes’ complex or to the “Underground Rome”, we will include the catacombs in those visits (but we cannot guide you there). If you are just curious to see the catacombs’ tunnels, you can go on own to San Callisto, San Sebastiano, Catacombe di Domitilla, Sant’Agnese, Catacombe di Priscilla. We can reserve private access to the Jewish Catacombs of Rome.
  • Jewish Museum: the interesting museum of the Jewish Community of Rome is located under the Roman Synagogue and your ticket includes the visit of the Synagogue as well. You can combine it with our tour of the Ghetto,  Trastevere or with our Food Tour near Campo de’ Fiori market/Trastevere. 
  • Domus Aurea is the latin name of the Golden Palace of Nero, an incredible archaeological site currently under restoration and only accessible with internal guides during weekends. This visit can be combined with our Ancient Rome tour or with a visit to  the Archaeological Museum of Rome.
  • Palazzo Pamphilj is an historical building overlooking the famous Piazza Navona, and it is now property of the Brazilian Embassy. Visits are possible on few days of each month, led by the staff of the Embassy,  the only obstacle is that visits are only in Italian and Portuguese, but you can appreciate the beauty of the frescos and architecture anyway. You can combine this tour to our walking orientation in the centre, an “Underground Rome” tour in the centre or a Food Tour around the market of Campo de’ Fiori.
  • In case you are interested in the seats of the Italian Institutions, they follow these rules : Palazzo Madama, our Senate House,  opens on the first Saturday of each month.  Palazzo Chigi is the seat of the Government and it is accessible upon reservation on Saturday morning. Palazzo di Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament, is open on the first Sunday of each month. The Quirinale Palace, where our President lives and works, can be visited every day but only with internal tours. Recently re-opened to the visitors also the beautiful Casino Algardi “del Bel Respiro” inside Villa Pamphili, hosting from time to time Government events.
  • Vatican: several areas of the Vatican are forbidden to external guides (the Gardens and  the Excavations for example), but you can join  a group tour. You can find more information in a special blog post dedicated to pre-booking (bear in mind the necropolis under St. Peter’s requires to be booked several months in advance). In this post you also find details about the Papal Audience and the Papal Mass: here you do not need a guide, some companies ask you to pay for these events, but they are for free!
  • Hop-on Hop-off Open Bus: we do not recommend this experience in Rome, as most of the “must sees” are in pedestrian areas and you do not see a lot from the bus. Moreover, traffic is really bad in Rome and you lose time  in traffic jams or waiting for the next bus. So, just avoid the hop-on hop-off (better and cheaper to use metro or local buses) and consider this tour only if you need a general overview sitting on the bus for approx 1,5 hr taking some picture and resting a bit. Several companies offer the same tour, the price is more or less the same, we just linked one of them.
  • Segway tours: we openly declared here we do not like segways in Rome, but if you really like this tour or you have promised your children … well, you can contact Rome by Segway

Enjoy Rome, with your Friend in Rome and on your own!