How do we create a new tour?

Posted on May 7, 2020 in Time out to reflect

[revised December 2023] Preparing new tours is one of the most exciting moments in our tour guide job! How do we proceed when we decide to introduce a new itinerary in our portfolio? (BTW, current portfolio already includes more than 80 tours/activities, but we love diversity, even when it comes to tours!)

  1. first of all, we have to be fascinated ourselves by a specific subject or period, or maybe a new site/exhibition … for instance, here below is the Crypta Balbi, a museum that opened in Rome only in 2001, included in our portfolio in 2019 (at present closed for long renovation, but we wait for the reopening!).  Recently we introduced a tour about WW2 and this year, 2023 – we launched a tour about Palazzo Altemps throughout the centuries, across love stories and plots for power. 
  2. we start studying the context: for instance the medieval history and architecture of Rome for Cripta Balbi, the reasons why the Roman Empire collapsed, the “late antiquity” age…
  3. we visit several monuments or remains dating back to the same period or related to the same age (for instance I studied the churches of S. Maria Antiqua and S.Maria in Via Lata, together with some other underground sites of the city centre such as  the Vicus Caprarius). If possible, we are escorted by some experts, for instance I had the chance to visit Crypta Balbi with an archaeologist who dug there, or I went to the Ardeatine Caves with a colleague who is also the granddaughter of one of the victims of the massacre happening there during Nazi’s occupation, in order to prepare the tour about WW2.
  4. of course we study the catalogue of the site/museum (when available) in details at this stage, when every information in there makes more sense.
  5. this is when we visit the site again, with new eyes!
  6. at this stage (and not earlier) we are ready to revise our notes, organise all the infos, create an itinerary outdoors and inside the museum that follows our “thread”, and finally we select useful images to be loaded on our tablets and be at hand during the tour.
  7. Eventually we visit the site again, checking the itinerary, testing times and exact locations (where can we stop for short and long explanations, where is the sun/shade, where can we provide a break to our guests…)

Every year new tours are offered to see Rome from a different angle, and in the last three years also suburban areas outside the city walls and surrounding towns in Lazio region become part of my investigations.

It’s an endless task, and that’s what I like! 

Crypta Balbi, the exedra