At a Glance Why You'll Love It
Tour Summary Get in the Know
Stroll through the Eternal City, celebrating centuries of art, architecture, and history with a licensed tour guide
Start your tour in Piazza di Spagna, at the foot of the Spanish Steps, and find your licensed tour guide where Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck met in the classic 1950’s film “Roman Holiday”. You’ll quickly see why the monumental Baroque style stairs are such a popular hangout for both locals and tourists, offering plenty of space for visitors to kick back and take in the views. But, lucky for you, your knowledgeable guide will be there to unlock incredible secrets that most visitors miss out on while reminiscing about the days when the piazza was completely flooded, when Bernini and his father constructed the central “Fountain of the Ugly Boat”, and when the steps themselves were frequented by revered romantic writers like Percy B. Shelley and John Keats.
Our What a Life Tours team is a close-knit group of passionate Roma experts, well versed in the art and history of the city – and we’re thrilled to share our expertise with you and your loved ones! Each of our guides possesses a special knack for storytelling, so prepare to be transported back in time as you wind through the exquisite ambiance of the Eternal City and explore the must-sees of the historic center. For us, it’s about going beyond the dates and names to paint a bigger picture of Rome’s rich history, while connecting the dots along the way. In such a small group, you’ll get to truly interact with your cicerone and even ask them for local tips about what to do and where to eat. No need to ask about ice cream, though, as we’ll be taking a brief pause so you can cool off and enjoy a true Italian gelato – on us!
Get the inside scoop as you discover ancient treasures amongst the unparalleled ambiance of Rome's historic center
They say all roads lead to Rome but, once you’ve arrived, all roads lead to incredible artistic and architectural displays. Renaissance palaces, baroque churches, and buzzing market squares pave the way to ancient structures, such as the remains of the Temple of Hadrian. While Piazza Pietra isn’t as famous as some of our other stops, the eleven 15-meter-high Corinthian columns that line the square are sure to wow you. Erected in 145 BC, the columns represent only a tiny fraction of the monumental temple that once stood here in honor of the Emperor Hadrian, who ruled Ancient Rome from 117-138 AD.
Just a short walk away, we’ll stand awestruck by one of Hadrian’s most extraordinary contributions to The Eternal City, the Pantheon. Gaze upon its grandiose portico from Piazza della Rotonda and discover how its enormous columns, each of which stand 39 feet tall and weigh 60 tons, were transported from Egypt nearly 2,000 years ago. Translate the Latin inscription and hear tales of how the once Pagan temple became a Christian Church. Make your entrance through the gigantic bronze doors and stand mesmerized on patterned marble floors beneath the world’s largest unsupported dome and its central oculus. Then, take a moment to ponder the life of artist Raphael beside his tomb.
Relish the moment, discover some of Rome’s most cinematic scenes, you might recognize some from the big screen
Walk in the footsteps of silver screen stars above a 1st century stadium in Piazza Navona. While the plaza has always been celebrated as a truly breath-taking Roman destination, its popularity has increased through the decades with features in blockbuster hits such as the 1990 version of “Coins in the Fountain” and the 2000 film adaptation of Dan Brown’s thriller novel “Angels & Demons”. The square, surrounded by charming restaurants and bars, boasts three dazzling fountains, the largest and most central of which is the “Fountain of Four Rivers”, constructed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651. Stand in the shadow of the Church of St. Agnese in Agone as your guide enlightens you with stories of Bernini’s fountain, the Egyptian obelisk it wields, and the ancient stadium that lies below.
Of course, our journey would not be complete without a stop at the iconic Trevi Fountain. Another cinematic highlight of Rome, this hydraulic wonder has made some noteworthy big screen cameos of its own, with classic features in the 1954 American romance “Three Coins in a Fountain” and Fellini’s 1960 drama “La Dolce Vita”. This 18th century marvel, considered to be one of the greatest manmade masterpieces in the world, sees thousands of visitors per day. Marvel in its glory, up close and personal, as stories of its origins, history, and symbolism unravel. You’ll have plenty of time to capture a picture-perfect photo and toss in a coin – or three – if you wish!
What You'll See Along the Way
Since their inauguration in 1725, the Spanish Steps have captured the hearts and minds of prolific poets, artists, and musicians of the centuries. The staircase was designed by lesser-known architects Alessandro Specchi and Francesco de Sanctis in order to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, located in Piazza di Spagna, to the Trinità dei Monti Church, which was under the patronage of the Bourbon Kings of France, above. The butterfly steps expand downward and outward, opening up to a unique Bernini fountain, “La Barcaccia”, which is said to have been made by both Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his father, Pietro.