I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my visit to Italy. Even though a little expensive, the tour was a unique opportunity to enjoy an intimate, exclusive tour of Rome with a small group of 3 people. Stefano, who accompanied my friends and I for Drive Through the Centuries, was truly a fantastic guide. Not only was he extremely charming, but his breadth and depth of knowledge as an archaeologist gave us unique insight on the history of Rome.
Stefano met us at our accommodations, and immediately we began our tour near the Spanish Steps. He was very spontaneous and flexible--thinking and searching for unusual venues for us to see. One of our excursions led us to the weirdly macabre, yet fascinating church of Capucin monks, decorated in the baroque style by the bones of the dead. The tour was extremely educational, and Stefano encouraged participation. He gave us a greater understanding of the political/theological underpinnings of why and how things were built in Rome. He explained his perspective that everything in Rome is built with a purpose--to demonstrate power, conquest, the granting of political favors, the intertwining of church and state. The tour even became sort of a treasure hunt, to locate the famous obelisks of the city. I was awed by the mosaics and gilded gold ceilings of Sta. Maria, the sweeping scope of the Circus Maximus, and the spectacular view of Rome from a church with an orange orchard. Our driver, Nazareno, expertly navigated through the crazy urban traffic.
At the end of our tour, Stefano recommended several wonderful restaurants for us to explore, off the beaten tourist track. He also pointed out numerous other places on our map that he highly recommended for us to see. He generously encouraged us to continue to contact him in the future, if we needed any other recommendations or had any other questions. I hope that the next time I visit Italy, we may even have the chance to accompany Stefano on his archaeological digs at a lake north of Rome. To sum up, using one of Stefano's favorite words, everything was "amazing!"
I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed all of our tour arranged by In Italy. The Driving Tour with Michael was excellent--being a school teacher as well--he interacted greatly with my sons and step daughter--all of whom have studied Rome History and Latin.
We sent our thanks to Dennis so we'll tell you in essence what we said, and we are happy to inform your prospective clients about the Drive Through the Centuries tour. For some quick time travel (and for those contemporary travelers with little time or who can't do a lot of walking), Drive Through the Centuries was a wonderful overview of Rome. We were fortunate to have Dennis Cigler as our guide--his knowledge, passion for the city, and sense of humor conveyed the vitality of Rome and his experience of living there as a teacher, painter, and ex-pat. Our visit was a nice combination of covering the sprawl of Rome via car plus nice interludes of short walks to get a closer look at neighborhoods and antiquities. The car, smoothly driven by Nazarene (spelling?) materialized whenever we were ready to move on. We look forward to future visits, which will be enhanced by all the wonderful suggestions that Dennis offered so graciously. Molto grazie for this creative and personal approach to an endlessly fascinating city.
Best, Laurie Norris and Clarence P
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