I was born and raised in Rome, and I’m an archaeologist who (has) worked in many archaeological excavation sites. I’ve always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and passion for history and archaeology. When I was expecting my second child I had to stop digging in archaeological sites. I used this time to study and pass the exam to become a qualified tourist guide.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I work before, during and after a tour. I wake up and I check my email inbox (usually there are information requests for future tours). Then I take my daughter to school and meet my clients for the tour. Very often I work with families (who have) children, but also individual travelers, friends or groups. After walking, climbing and talking for a half or full day, I spend the afternoon with my two children. Then I find the time to answer customers’ email. When I am not out for a tour, I love cooking, meeting friends, studying some new tours or improving my skills. The learning never stops.
What’s the best part of your job?
People. I have a strong interest in people. I’m fortunate because I work in such a beautiful city and I’m communicating and meeting with new people every day. This is why guiding is one of the world’s best professions.
I still consider myself an archaeologist, and I focus on the archaeological aspects to understand the transformation of Rome during the centuries. (But) each tour is unique. I need to understand not only who my clients are, but why they travel. I listen to guests and tailor-make the tour based on nationality, culture, age and interests.
What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve had on a guided tour?
I could write a catalogue of bizarre experiences, but I would prefer to keep this a secret to myself!
Every job has its ups and downs. Are there any aspects you aren’t keen on?
My job depends on the tourist season, which is from April to November. It means that I have free time during the winter, but I have to work harder and harder during the tourist season. It’s exhausting, but I love it.
Hiring a local guide is putting yourself in the hands of an expert. It’s the best way to minimize wasted time. A qualified guide is the connection with the culture of the country you are visiting, giving you information, insight and interesting stories.
Tell us something about your city that only a guide would know.
In Rome there are many hidden gems that visitors often miss and only a local could share. You can explore off-the-beaten-path restaurants and cafes, hidden courtyards and underground Rome. You can learn how to drink from the “nasoni” — the typical Roman drinking fountains made in the shape of a big nose.
In your view, what makes a good tour guide?
Being a good tourist guide requires a special combination of skills and attributes: patience, flexibility, passion, continuous education, the ability to communicate with people (and) a problem-solving attitude.