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“Fantastic morning at the Vatican and St. Peter's”

Understanding Rome Tours
Ranked #84 of 878 Tours in Rome
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Owner description: Private tours of Rome taking the Eternal City at your pace, and focusing on what interests you. Proud to be licensed as a guide by the Province of Rome, I organize tailor-made private and small group tours of the city and environs. I've lived in Rome for 12 years, am a naturalized Roman, and love exploring the city's multiple layers; the only way to understand Rome. Understanding Rome is recommended by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Rough Guide to Rome, the Sydney Sun Herald, and Conde Nast Traveller's Rome App.
Reviewed 4 April 2018

Our tour with Agnes Crawford was just fantastic. She is smart, funny, high energy, no-nonsense, organized, and had answers to any questions we asked. We met at the Vatican, she got us through the crowds effortlessly, she filtered the overwhelming amount of art to see down to a few things (we would have liked maybe a few more?), she prepared us for our visit to the Sistine Chapelwith key things to notice that we would never have noticed on our own, and then she left us alone to appreciate it. Because we did this tour early in our trip to Rome, some of what she taught us really helped in our appreciation of other art we saw elsewhere, too. If money were no object we would have signed up for any other tour Agnes offers--highly recommended!

Thank ElizabethFromNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Agnes C, Owner at Understanding Rome Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Thank you!

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"entry process"
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"churches and museums"
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"palatine hill"
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"private tour"
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"deep knowledge"
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"money well spent"
in 3 reviews
"peter's basilica"
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"fascinating history"
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"perfect tour"
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"personal guide"
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"subject matter"
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"forum and colosseum"
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Reviewed 28 March 2018

My parents and I were in Rome for their first visit and my fourth. Our 3 hour tour with Agnes of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Forum was definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip. Agnes was not only informative (we felt we had only scratched the surface of her knowledge), she was also able to describe Ancient Rome in such a way that we could visualize it, and felt ourselves actually there in its prime. I learned more about Ancient Rome in 3 hours than I learned in all my Western Civilization courses put together. She was personable, and beautifully answered all of our questions...we never felt like asking any questions disrupted her; she simply seamlessly and effortlessly wove the answer to our questions into the story she was telling. Our attention was riveted for the entire 3 hours...she was simply fascinating. If we ever return to Rome, we will be seeking another tour from her!

1  Thank beloved722
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Agnes C, Owner at Understanding Rome Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 2 days ago

Thanks! I hope to see you again!

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Reviewed 22 March 2018

A group of 4 of us booked Agnes for the Vatican Museum tour, including Sistine Chapel, St. Peters and the Grottoes. From the outset in dealing with Anna through the booking process right up to meeting up with Agnes Undiscovered Rome were professional and accommodating to our requirements.

On the day Agnes was outstanding!. I thoroughly recommend using her. When you read about queues to access the Vatican it may put you off. Don't worry about that with Agnes. We met her at 13.00 on a glorious sunny day. The crowds outside were intense, the queue enormous. Agnes's expertise, knowledge and use of the entry process meant we waited in NO QUEUES whatsoever. Moreover, once inside she knew all the routes to get the best from the exhibits and places of interest to have us cruising through the crowds and other tour groups like they weren't there.
We spent just over 3 hours with Agnes so nothing was skimmed over, and her information and management of us as a group was impeccable. Her delivery and manner is friendly and very down to earth, unlike other tour leaders we happened to pass who seemed to range from downright rude to almost impossible to hear. She guided us through the museum to the Sistine Chapel and onto the basilica in such a way that everything was set up to feel like a cliffhanger before you entered each section. This made the tour so much better as opposed to, say, the tour starting with the main event of St. Peters and then interest being lost as you travelled through the museum. She built the anticipation for the big reveals perfectly which kept our attention hooked. Very expertly done. We returned to our hotel and all agreed how fabulous a time we had had and how Agnes made it so.

The best compliment a person can pay is to return, and so it was for us. We had planned to visit the Colosseum on the Sunday and decided that the only way to do it was with Agnes. However she was booked for Monday, our spirits fell. Then she told us that she had a slot on Monday morning at 09.00 and we had no hesitation in booking again with her. This second booking was all done via email while in town, so again, very accommodating. We were not let down again with the Colosseum, Palatine and Forum and she continued to be knowledgeable, expert at getting through the throngs and imparting relevant information as well as tips and recommendations of Rome in general.

If you plan on a guided tour when in Rome I can't recommend using Undiscovered Rome enough, especially if in a smaller group. Thank you Agnes, it was an absolute dream to have used your services as a tour guide TWICE!

David, Pauline, Gena, Vivienne

1  Thank DavidandPauline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Agnes C, Owner at Understanding Rome Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2018

Thanks for the lovely review, it was great meeting you all. I'm so glad you had a good time, despite the final downpour!

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Reviewed 15 March 2018

I took a tour of the Colosseum and Palatine Hill with Agnes. She described not only the historical and architectural significance of the locations, but also the life and politics of ancient Rome. Along the way, we discussed art, literature, engineering, cooking - the depth of Agnes knowledge, and her ability to answer questions on just about any conceivable topic, it truly incredible. One of the best tours I've ever been on, anywhere!

Thank mkortz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Agnes C, Owner at Understanding Rome Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2018

thanks so much for the lovely review! I hope to see you in Rome next time!

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Reviewed 14 March 2018

Agnes is one of the most talented, knowledgeable, and engaging tour guides I have met, and I highly encourage you to book a private tour with her today!

I first met Agnes when she was the docent for a Context Travel tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel I took on my first trip to Rome. Agnes helps visitors navigate the overwhelming sensory overload that is the Vatican Museums, and she hones in on certain pieces to tell stories about the artist, the subject of the piece, and the context of the period in which the art was created. In particular, I especially enjoyed the time Agnes took in the Gallery of Maps to talk about the context of 16th century politics and geography of the known world at that time. It is fascinating information, and Agnes weaves a masterful narrative.

For my most recent trip to Rome, I enjoyed a private tour with Agnes where we braved the downpour to walk through the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere in search of history hidden in plain sight. Oh goodness, I can’t recommend this tour enough! One of the most unique treasures of Rome is how the city has been built up on many layers and reused its own materials throughout the last two millennia. During this tour, Agnes discusses the hodgepodge, layered, and defensive Medieval Roman architecture that still exists throughout the Centro Storico and Trastevere districts – if you know where to look. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the history of buildings and streets I had walked past numerous times on previous trips, only to discover more layers of fascinating history through Agnes’ well-researched lens. In particular, I am now a huge fan of the artist Pietro Cavallini. Agnes got us entrance to see Cavallini’s Last Judgment at Santa Cecilia, and I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to see this tucked away treasure. The detail is stunning, and I highly recommend checking out the piece if you visit the church. I also greatly appreciated Agnes’ discussion about the Cosmatesque style of decorative flooring. This style can be found in many of the churches built (or rebuilt as is so often the case for Rome) in the Medieval period (examples I saw included Chiesa di San Benedetto in Piscinula, Santa Cecilia, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Basilica di San Clemente, and Santa Prassede). Agnes tells a great story about Cosmatesque artisans commissioned to do work in Westminster in London – book the tour to learn more!

Lastly, I have to give Agnes huge props for coming up with suggested itineraries of additional activities totally spontaneously and with impeccable taste. I plan to use Agnes’s suggestions for a tour to see churches and museums more off the beaten path and further out from the central city sights on my next trip to Rome – can’t wait!

Thank needabeach99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Agnes C, Owner at Understanding Rome Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2018

I'm glad your birthday trip was a success! Alla prossima!

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