While our team works hard to provide interesting and well-researched travel content, sometimes it’s best to hear things straight from a guide on the ground. In a new series of articles, we are going to be hearing directly from some of GoWithGuide’s best private tour guides. This includes their favorite ways to explore, unique insights into the region they work in, and the kind of tips and tricks that only a true local can provide.
Today we’re heading to one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, the beautiful Italian peninsula. Our guide, Roberto M. is not only an authorized Campania guide, but also a professional archeologist! This means he can provide unique insights into the history of ancient Roman ruins usually only enjoyed at the university level. Without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.
GWG: Please briefly tell us about your history as a guide.
Roberto: “My name is Roberto. I am an archaeologist and an authorized guide of the Campania Region. I obtained a bachelor's degree in Cultural Heritage, master’s degree in Classical Archaeology, and a Post-Graduate diploma in Archeological Heritage.
I have been an authorized guide of Campania Region since 2011 and I have also worked as an archaeologist all around the Mediterranean including: Populonia (Livorno, Italy), Paestum (Salerno, Italy), Olbia de Provence (Hyères, Var -France), Efestia (Lemnos, Greece), and Phaistos (Crete, Greece).
Since I was a child I loved the history of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and also the Art history of the Middle Ages. I live in Salerno, a characteristic seaside town located between the paradise-like Amalfi Coast and the charming Cilento.
I'm going to offer my knowledge in the art-historical and archaeological field for anyone who wants to understand and investigate the incredible richness of Campania.”
GWG: What is your personal favorite thing to do in your city/area?
Roberto: “Walking into the ancient Greek and Roman cities of Pompeii, Paestum, and Herculaneum to discover the secrets of ancient daily life 2000 years ago.”
Some of Roberto’s tour offerings include an in-depth archeological tour of the ruins of Pompeii, an exploration of the historic center of Naples, and a relaxing tour of the beautiful Capri Island that includes a boat tour to marvel at the azure Mediterranean beauty of the area.
GWG: How many days should guests spend in your city/area to experience most of it?
Roberto: “I would recommend about 5-6 days to properly experience the area.”
When visiting an area as rich in activities and history as Italy, it’s always a good idea to spend a few days truly getting a feel of the region. GoWithGuide features a large selection of half-day and full-day tours, and even longer duration options.
GWG: In your opinion, what is the best kind of food a visitor should try if they visit your city/area?
Roberto: “It may sound like an obvious choice, but my top recommendation would be Neapolitan Pizza. If you haven’t enjoyed truly authentic Italian pizza, you’re missing out!”
There are obviously tons of places you can visit to enjoy true Neapolitan pizza, but some of our recommendations in Naples include gems such as Gino e Toto Sorbillo, Pizzeria Starita, and La Lazzara Trattoria. All these establishments pride themselves on making pizza following traditional methods, and all come highly rated. For an even more in-depth look at the rich food culture of Naples, check out our article that details the region’s best culinary delights.
Pro-tip: Italians are extremely passionate about their pizza, so try not to offend them by trying to order something with pineapple on.
GWG: Where should visitors go if they want to do some souvenir shopping?
Roberto: “While great shopping can be enjoyed all over Campania, I would recommend visiting the Amalfi Coast and Ravello if you’re looking for some unique souvenirs.”
Virtually all of our Italian tours take some time out of their schedule for a bit of shopping. Feel free to ask your private Italian tour guide for their recommendations of where to go and what to buy for that perfect gift. If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, we already have detailed shopping guides for several Italian cities for you to dive into right now, including Florence, Rome, Venice, and Pompeii/Naples.
GWG: In terms of budget, how much should visitors set aside to enjoy their time in your city/area? (Excluding tour fees)
Roberto: “I would say around 200 euros per day is a good amount to enjoy a comfortable holiday including shopping, great dining, and other activities.”
Obviously your exact budget will depend on how luxurious you are planning your tour to be, but feel free to reach out to any of our Italian private guides for help in figuring out your ideal range.
GWG: Are there any special or exclusive experiences visitors can only find in your city/area which you would recommend?
Roberto: “A private boat tour of the Amalfi Coast or a guided archaeological tour of Pompeii, Herculaneum, or Paestum.”
Immersing yourself in the ancient history of Italy, from the oldest Greek colonies to marvels of the Roman Empire is a fascinating experience. There are also numerous tours of renaissance structures and world renowned art museums. Feel free to browse through our extensive list of our artistics, cultural, and historic Italian tours.
GWG: Are there any cultural norms or manners which visitors should be aware of when they visit?
Roberto: “When you speak to someone it’s a good idea to gesticulate like a real Italian.”
While somewhat in jest, being able to use Italian hand gestures while talking will certainly help you warm up to the locals. Funnily enough there are several guides and videos available to teach you how to do just this! Remember to keep those hands moving and you may even find yourself scoring a discount on your next Italian souvenir.
GWG: Is there anything else about your area or your tour experiences that you would like to share with readers?
Roberto: “I collaborate with Slow Food (an international movement that strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem). I can also organize custom tours to those who want to discover the authentic pleasures of wine and traditional food. Availability, preparation, and organization are my greatest battle horses to transmit the love that I feel for my country and its history.”
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Roberto for taking the time to speak with us and give us an inside look at his tour offerings. Wherever in Italy you find yourself, GoWithGuide has you covered thanks to our large and well trained team of private tour guides. Remember, you can ask any guide to organize a custom experience tailored to your needs if you don’t find what you’re looking for immediately!
Now, what are you waiting for? The summer months will be here in the blink of an eye, and Italy will again be buzzing with the sounds of happy travelers. Book your spot today to avoid missing out!