Tour started out well but crashed and burned at the Vatican. Early morning pick-up was timely. Dropped off at Colosseum where Grey Line Carrani Tours staff seemed confused as to what they should do with our group of 3. It was our understanding per the web site that our tour would start at the Vatican versus at the Colosseum. Finally after much discussion and waiting we ended up joining the Colosseum tour. Our guide was very good. Knowledgeable and he had a great sense of humor. First part of the tour was a winner and we had no complaints. Our guide escorted us to an area where we met another couple and their daughter and we were escorted to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Nothing spectacular, but it met our needs. A bus picked us up after about an hour and we were transported to the Vatican. Upon arriving, we were assigned a guide for our tour. She informed us that the Basilica had closed at 1 PM and we would not be able to access the sight. Their was a Papal mass scheduled for the next morning and it was usually closed the day before as a result. Those in our group were all upset over this revelation. I specifically asked why our tour was not started at the Vatican - as noted in the tour information - versus the Colosseum so we could have accessed everything in the morning. The guide said she did not know and could not give me an answer. As we began the tour it was obvious the tour guide was knowledgeable, but was having a hard time capturing the full attention of the group. The Colosseum guide in the morning was better suited to relating to the group and offering an a keen perspective and an often off -beat perspective on things. Just before visiting the Sistine Chapel our guide instructed us to hurry to the Chapel, because she was informed it would be closing early. She would meet us at the exit in about 20 minutes after we had enjoyed our visit to the Chapel. Our group waited for the guide at the exit of the Chapel for over 30 minutes and she was no where to be found. Our group continued through the Vatican without guidance, but enjoyed each others company. We inquired, but were not able to gain information as to how we could access St. Peter's Square without exiting the Vatican entirely. My family and I exited at closing and had to walk several blocks to gain entrance to St Peter's Square at an alternate gate. Over all greatly disappointed in the Vatican tour and failure of Grey Line I Love Rome by Carrani Tours. I did contact Viator regarding the issue without resolution. I would not recommend this tour operator. The response I received from Viator was that the tour operator states that the Library at the Vatican was open and made available to our tour as a substitute for the Basilica. This was never communicated to anyone and we never did see the library. My question regarding the morning change was never answered and the tour operator should have known the Basilica was going to be closed due to the next day's Papal mass. Very disappointing.
Our One day tour was really two half day tours. No big deal to us, but things were a little unorganized in-between the two.
The line at the Colosseum was very long! Skip-the-line is definitely the way to go. You get in much faster with a group. Our guide was great. We learned a lot about the history of the Colosseum and the surrounding area. You will walk a lot!
It's hard to imagine going to Rome and not seeing The Vatican. I would say it's a must. However, the Vatican was mobbed. Even the tour group lines were long but moved much faster. Again, Skip-the-line is the way to go! Our Guide at the Vatican, Linda, was fantastic. She was entertaining, knowledgeable and funny! Since it was crowded it was hard to keep together as a group. She did a very good job of herding us around. There's so much to see. So many rooms to go through. It's hard to take it all in. The Sistine Chapel was not quite what I expected. It was crowded. They do want to you to be reverent so you're asked to be quiet. There were people in the Chapel shushing you. That was unexpected, but understandable.
The hotel pick-up and drop-off is great. I wouldn't recommend driving anywhere!
This was a good tour but it does take all day to do both. You won't have time to see anything else.
Amazing. Both guides were fabulous. Best thing I did was to try to book this trip 24 hours before it began, so happy I was able to get in. I wasn't cheap but it was worth every penny! If you are thinking about it or still researching/reading reviews to find the best one.... STOP...... and BOOK IT!
The tour guides were super knowledgeable. It was quite organized. The lunch was a bummer....food not good and was held in a very cramped, hot restaurant. I think whoever books this tour should be aware that it is VERY rigorous....LOTS of hills, steps, walking over VERY uneven surfaces.....And, in the summer, most of it in the hot sun. This would be a very long day for older people or anyone that can' walk for 7 hours straight. If you're up to that, it's great!
I chose this tour partly because it offered hotel pick-up. The driver was on time, but did not speak English, and for an English-speaking tour, that presented a bit of a challenge and some confusion trying to determine if I was getting in the right vehicle. Once dropped off at the Coliseum, there was a bit of a wait with very little communication - nothing terrible, but just standing around for a long time wondering what was going on and waiting for the guide to show up. Our tour guide for the Coliseum left a lot to be desired. While she spoke English, she was difficult to understand and was not very enthusiastic or engaging. After the Coliseum, me and another couple were put on a bus to be taken to the Vatican. After getting through security, we were combined with a very large group who had a different morning tour. We were taken to the Vatican cafeteria and provided lunch lasagna, a very questionable pork? patty, veggies, tiramisu, bottled water, but the large group we combined with had been promised lunch THREE HOURS PRIOR, and they were extremely cranky and upset. I don't blame them, and it affected the entire mood of the group going forward. A different tour guide collected us for the Vatican museum tour. He was very knowledgeable and mildly engaging. It was extremely difficult to keep up with him in A such a large group, 30-40 people, and B so many tourists in general. I had to spend 90 of the tour concentrating on not getting lost in the crowd. No fault of the tour itself, it's just a popular destination. Overall, I was glad I got to see these bucket-list destinations, but the tour guides did not add much value to the experience. I won't say I was disappointed, but my expectations certainly weren't exceeded.
First off, let me start by saying that having to wait 40 minutes to get through the security check point at the Palatine Hill does not count as Skip the line in my book. That being said, the tour guide we had during the first half of the tour at Palatine Hill and the Colosseum was very informative and ran the tour at the right pace, plus the group was a nice size of about 15-20 people. However, the Hotel pick up and drop off at the Colosseum could have gone smoother, the mini van driver dropped us off in front and told us to find The lady in the pick jacket, and left. Well, there was no such person to be found until some 40 minutes later. In the meantime, myself and two other clients were just left wondering.
For the second half of the tour we were taken by mini-bus to the Vatican Museum were we were left in the cafeteria for an hour and 15 minutes and given a pre-set lunch, no choices. Personally, I would have preferred to pay less and pick my own food. After lunch we waited around for another 15 minutes until we were Handed off to another tour group of about 40 people. The tour guide for this group was hard to understand, he rattled off a rapid, non stop barrage of information in a monotone, that could barely be heard over the provided headsets. I soon gave up trying to listen to him. Also, he moved so fast through the crowded museum, that at times many of us who'd stopped to actually look at, or photograph something, had to run to catch up before we lost sight of him. In fact, on many occasions I seriously considered just giving up on the tour and proceeding on my own.
By the end of the day I felt as if the entire tour was a continuous series of Hurry up and wait episodes.
We had one day in Rome and this tour was an excellent learning and visual experience for the time we had. Our first guide took us through the Roman Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the various palace sites for different Roman Emperors each had to better the other. He drilled down into all areas for us and made our time very interesting. We were then transported to the Vatican for entrance and lunch in the Vatican Museum. After lunch, we were joined by a new guide who took us through the Vatican museum galleries - ending in the Sistine Chapel. Next he had our entrance tickets into St. Peter's Basilica where he again gave us a very detailed and interesting tour throughout. We toured St. Peter's Square with some great final highlights to complete our tour. Just an excellent experience!