Interview with Rome Tour Guide


  • Posted: 26.05.2021
  • Rome Tour Guide



    1) How did you begin your career as a tour guide? and when?

    My experience as a tour guide began not too long time ago! Officially in 2018. Before that, I mainly had work experience related to the world of art and museum education.

    After my degree in Art History I actually thought I wanted to work in the field of curating and contemporary Art. I started working as an author of publications for online periodicals in the world contemporary art and promoted curatorial projects, in some institutional sites and not. I had great satisfactions in this kind of work, but also many discouragements and I realized very early that that field was not for me.

    Later, I understood that my real passion was sharing my knowledge of art history and love for Rome, especially with those who haven’t had much exposure to that world but nevertheless want to satisfy their curiosity. Therefore, since 2015, I have orientated my work in the field of museum education for kids, student and tourists through collaborations with various cultural associations.

    In 2018 I finally obtained the qualification as a Tour Guide in Italian, English and French languages. Since then, I’ve been leading tours in the city, museums and archeological sites for adults and schools, collaborating with big companies and Tour Operators.

    During the pandemic I have decided that I wanted to work more independently, so I’ve been communicating my own itineraries online through my social pages and website www.whatisrome.com. What is Rome is for me very important, because it’s created with the aim of promoting itineraries outside the big mass circuits and encouraging a deeper and genuine knowledge of Rome including all its districts and neighborhoods.

    2) You speak 3 languages, Italian, French and English, it means you are multi-languages tour guide in Rome, it is possible to combine? what are the nuances during the tours?

    Over the years, my training and work experience has interspersed with stays abroad that have allowed me to further improve my knowledge of foreign languages.

    I had, in the last years, developed a big passion for foreign languages: I enjoy discovering the differences of communication between cultures and the different ways of speaking. Knowing two other languages, in addition to Italian, is an amazing privilege because it allows me to be in contact with other worlds. I am strongly attracted to other cultures, so having the chance to know and speak other languages, combined with my job, allows me to cultivate this interest more.

    Of course, there are days in which I give tours in all 3 languages and It’s not always easy to switch from a language to another in a very short time haha; but I find it very stimulating and now I can’t live without speaking and learning other languages. It’s always a new discovery! And in accordance with that, I’ve finally decided to add another language to my brain: Portuguese!


    3) What is important to you when you talk to people about the history of Rome?

    We say “Rome is an open museum” and walking through its streets you always have a story to experience or an old ruin to explore! For those that come to Rome it’s predictable, I think. Rome is one of the oldest cities in the world and visiting it without knowing some of its history is not likely to happen. At the same time, I think is important that the people discover the history of Rome with the goal of better understanding the city in its current form. History and present are always combined, and I like in my tours to examine this juxtaposition between past and present.


    4) What kind of tours do you lead in Rome, your bestsellers?

    Walking tours inside the city are definitely my favourite tours: Trastevere, Ghetto, Parione, Testaccio etc. These kinds of tours allow me to not only to speak about the history of Rome, but also to experience the everyday life of my city with my clients. They also allow me to take a break from the mass tourism sites, that even though are amazing places, they sometimes suffer from an excess of tourism that decrease their beauty.

    I like to show the story of a specific neighborhood and take my clients to the typical cafe or pizza place frequented especially by residents. I like to help the visitors feel at home in a city that perhaps they don’t yet fully know, but they can already make it their own.

    And, of course, I like to encourage my clients to give me more information about their interests in order to personalize the time together and give them the best experience in Rome!

    Rome Tour Guide

    Photo: © Giulia Zamperini

    5) Does being a guide mean dealing with different people from different cultures, countries? So you are a psychologist? How do you do it?

    Working as guide allow me to meet people from all around the world. This is probably one of the reasons why I chose this career! As I said previously, I’m continuously intrigued by other cultures and with my job I’ve better understood, for example, that the way how different cultures interact with me or behave in a visit are very different from each other. So, I’ve learned to modulate my way of working in relation to the culture with who I interact, like for example the amount and the kind of information that I usually give. I like to personalize the time spent with my clients and at the same time I enjoy to establish a nice and stimulating dialogue with them, during which we can confront our diversities, in order to be both enriched by our meeting. In conclusion, I do not know if I can compare my job to that of a psychologist, but I can certainly say that in my job it’s important to be empathic and able to grasp the needs or interests of the other person.


    6) Do you have any funny travel stories during tours? Please share

    In Rome we have many seagulls. We usually say that they are now the new owners of the city; in fact, they have not only multiplied but they are also bigger than before. They can be very confident, sometimes getting too close to people; most of the time the reason is not because they want to be your friend, but…they simply want your food. One time I was leading my group along via dei Fori Imperiali (close to Colosseum). One of my clients, a kind and delicate lady, took out from her purse a small sandwich, with the purpose of eating a bit of it during the long tour. Bad choice!!

    In 5 seconds, she was attacked twice by two seagulls (very well organized), that eventually were able to steal her small snack. She survived and was a bit worn out but the entire scene ended with a lot of laughter by the entire group, and created a nice atmosphere between complete strangers. From then on, I always inform my clients to be “a bit careful” when they decide to eat during the tours, especially in specific areas, where I know about the silent presence of these starved creatures.


    7) What are some of your ‘can't-live-without’ accessories? During walking tour in Rome?

    I can’t live without my bottle of water, that’s for sure! Especially in summer time. Fortunately, Rome has many fountains so it’s easy to refill it at any moment. Another essential accessory is of course my book of images. In this book I’ve collected during the years all the images of ancient Rome or images connected to the content of my tours.

    Last but not least, my Tour Guide license card!


    8) Tell us 5 things to do in Rome until leave :)

    • 1) Eat in a typical roman restaurant: we are lucky, in Rome there are many good restaurants where it’s possible to eat the traditional roman food for a good price. My favorite ones are placed in Trastevere, but if you want to experience something outside the historical center, Testaccio or Garbatella or Pigneto also have very good choices.

    • 3) Get absolutely lost, in the early morning, in the narrow streets of Trastevere and the historical center close to Piazza Campo de Fiori, Piazza Navona and the Ghetto. But also areas outside the center are extremely fascinating for just wandering: my favorite one is Garbatella!

    • 4) Admire the view of the city from one of the main hills of Rome: Gianicolo and Pincio hills are the most famous terraces, but Rome has many unknown hills and terraces that are just as beautiful. For example, Aventine hill and the view of Zodiaco.

    • 5) Visit the historical museums: The Vatican Museums and the archeological area of the Colosseum & Roman Forum are usually the attractions that visitors never miss. For longer journey I usually suggest exploring other cultural sites. Rome is full of museums of all kinds! The ones that I like the most are the Ara Pacis Museum, Etruscan Museum in the beautiful Villa Giulia, the Contemporary Art Museum (MAXXI) and Villa Borghese.

    • 2) Shop in one of the many street markets of Rome. Porta Portese is the main street market of Rome, placed close to Trastevere. Inside this market it’s possible to find vintage or new clothes and objects of any size or function. The atmosphere over there is vibrant and the wander there is a must-do! But also the local food markets are a great attraction, each neighborhood of Rome has at least one.

    Rome Tour Guide

    Photo: © Giulia Zamperini

    9) Your favourite place in Monti, Trevi, Borgo, Ponte and Trastevere and why?

    I have a lot of favorite places haha! I’ll try to be concise. My favourite area in Borgo is the Park of Mole Adriana, near to Castle of the Holy Angel. It’s a nice green space where you can find some peace close to the center and the monument. Simply perfect. Usually in Trastevere it’s beautiful enough just wandering in the beautiful streets, exploring the gorgeous churches, drinking with friends in one of the many bars and pubs or simply sitting in one of the main squares with a good ice cream. I usually like to go to Monti in order to drink good wines. There are many great wine bars over there! In Ponte area there is the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, an extraordinary example of Renaissance architecture that always hosts interesting contemporary exhibitions. In Trevi, it’s very simple, the top of Pincio hill from where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful view of Rome (better if in the sunset)!

    Rome Tour Guide

    Photo: © Giulia Zamperini

    10) How has the pandemic affected tourism in Rome and Italy?, and what tasks for the future?

    Of course, the current pandemic has seriously affected tourism in general, and Rome passed a very difficult moment, given that it has always relied on this resource. The tourism in the city disappeared suddenly and it was a shock for everyone working in the sector, included me and many of my colleagues. It was also a difficult moment for sectors that vicariously work with tourism, like the restaurants, bars etc..

    But during this time Rome was beautiful like never before. Of course, I’m not saying that I like the current situation though. But without working I realized how important is to take this opportunity to renovate the way we approach tourism and how it effects the life of a city and its citizens.

    Rome has an infinite number of beauties, but unfortunately the average tourist has always been satisfied with what the official channels broadcast, neglecting many realities with great potential. The result is having in the city huge groups running, in very short times, in the same two or three places, and with zero genuine experience in the city or interaction with local community. This is not exactly the way I conceive traveling. I don’t blame the tourists, of course, because I think it’s, unfortunately, a systemic problem that involves the entire sector.

    Another big problem of this behaviour is the over-tourism in some areas of the city.

    The over-tourism has dramatically changed not only the authentic beauty of a single place but also the way the citizens live in the historical center; I think it’s more important than ever to extend the places of interest throughout the city to avoid the effects of it.

    I hope that living with the virus will teach us to understand how important a respectful use of shared spaces is. My hope is that tourism will return, of course, but in a more conscientious, sustainable, authentic and respectful way. And I think another goal of a tour guide is to stimulate the new visitors in that direction.

    Contact Giulia
    • IG: whatis.rome
    • FB: What is Rome

    It was big interview and absolutely great, it’s a honor to have an opportunity interview with Giulia from Rome, thanks!!

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