Hiring a Guide in Rome - Pros and Cons

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Gowithguide travel specialist O.

Last updated : Apr 13, 202310 min read

Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. One can spend years meandering through the winding ancient alleyways of this beautiful city and still not see everything. Sure, we’re all familiar with the major landmarks such as the Colosseum and Vatican City, but to truly explore Rome you’ll either need a lot of time on your hands or the help of a knowledgeable local to guide you around efficiently. 

So, what to do? Well in this article we’re going to lay out the pros and cons of hiring a private guide for your Rome adventure. We’ll be taking an objective look at things and hopefully give you the tips you need to plan the trip of a lifetime. 

What is a private guide anyway? 

If you’re reading this you probably already have a rough idea of what private guiding entails, but let’s take a quick look just in case. Hiring a ‘private guide’ used to be confined to rich celebrities or mountaineers looking for a sherpa, but these days private tours are becoming more and more popular with everyday travelers. 

There are many reasons for this, but primarily it’s associated with people yearning for more meaningful and unique travel experiences as opposed to simply flying in, staying at a hotel, and following the recommendations of the latest sightseeing handbook. Traveling also has a tendency of feeling more authentic when done in the company of a local, something which you won’t find when moving around as part of a large tour group of foreigners. 

You can think about it almost like an Uber driver, a private individual (i.e. not someone working for a large tour company) who you can call up to show you around an area or city. Unlike an Uber, a private guide of course provides a much more in-depth service which may include transport, accommodation, itinerary planning, shopping trips, visits to remote areas, and much more. 

Pros and Cons

Okay, so let’s get down to the upsides and downsides of traveling with a private guide when in Rome. 


  • Your own pace - With a private guide you can arrange your tour to fit your schedule, and if you’d prefer to just relax you can book a simple walking or exploration tour as well. Check out the highlights of the city or spend a quiet day at a spa
  • Bespoke - Select only the attractions you want to visit and customize your tour to include only what you want to do, whether this be shopping, historical venues, hidden gems, or much more. Prefer a quirky driving tour? We get you covered! 
  • Insider knowledge - Traveling alongside a local means you can check out the best spots and gain additional insights and translation help. If you aren’t sure where to go, your guide can also provide recommendations based on your preferences. 
  • Peace of mind - A private guide can help you with public transport, bartering at markets, and of course ensure that you don’t enter some of the more sketchy areas of the city. They can also arrange to meet you at your hotel so you don’t have to worry about anything. 
  • Uniqueness - Whether you customize your itinerary or leave the details up to your guide, every private tour will be a unique experience that will stay with you for a long time. Try touring the city in a golf cart, visit the ancient port of Ostia, or go on a gastronomic tour of Tuscany. 


  • Cost - The number one concern when it comes to hiring private guides is probably going to be cost, and yes you will need to fork out a bit more for the experience and convenience of a personal guide. 
  • Timing - Unlike large group tours, a private guide will only be able to attend to a set amount of guests during any given time, so you may run into situations where your preferred guide is already booked. 
  • Social compatibility - Sometimes a clash of personalities is unavoidable, especially since you’ll be spending a good amount of time with your guide. Talk with your guide beforehand and get to know them a bit to avoid any potential awkwardness. 
  • Freedom - While you have a lot of freedom when it comes to the things you want to do, your guide also has a schedule to keep, so if you suddenly get the urge to have a three hour lunch it may interfere with the rest of the day’s schedule. 
  • Language - While all of our guides speak English, some accents may be harder to understand than others. Ask your guide about their English proficiency before confirming your booking. 


Being accompanied by a local guide can really help reduce any concerns you have regarding safety. From specific areas and tourist traps to avoid, to ensuring shopkeepers don’t overcharge you, guides can keep you and your wallet safe. Please don’t think of your guide as a personal bodyguard however, but their local know-how can definitely help reduce the chances of anything bad happening. 

Like most large European tourist cities, Rome does have a bit of a reputation when it comes to pickpockets and other petty crime. As an international tourist we recommend you be particularly vigilant as criminals may view you as a prime target. 

Some tips to stay safe would include; not carrying your valuables in obvious places, leaving your passport and important documents in your hotel room safe (or similar secure location), and investing in an anti-theft device such as an anti-pickpocket wallet. Luckily, violent crime is not very common in Italy, but staying vigilant is always a good idea. Ask your private guide for their advice when it comes to areas to avoid and other general safety considerations. 

Disclaimer: Our guides do not conduct tours of particularly dangerous areas like the kind you may see in a hard-hitting documentary series.  

Time Efficiency

From trying to decipher foreign language websites, making multiple separate bookings, or getting confused by the sheer amount of potential available activities, a private guide can help you avoid all of these and more. 

If a pre-made tour doesn’t tick all of your boxes, simply give your guide an idea of what you’d like to experience and they can take care of the rest. Your guide will also ensure that you have enough time to see everything on your bucket list, so you don’t need to worry about missing out. It can also be pretty easy to get lost, especially in cities strewn with ancient alleyways like Rome, and while getting lost in a foreign city can be a fun adventure in itself, it may not be something that everyone will enjoy! 

While we feature several fun car tours of Rome, the best way to get around day to day is still going to be public transportation. Subway, train, and bus services are plentiful, but may be a bit of a challenge to figure out for newcomers. Traveling alongside a private guide gives you the peace of mind of not having to worry about navigating around the city.


The exact cost of your tour will obviously depend on how long it is and what exactly you’re looking to do, but you have a lot more freedom when it comes to private guides compared to tour groups. 

The word “private” may make one think that this is an exclusive and thus expensive service, but this is not always the case. A private day tour of Rome using one of our accredited guides can be organized for as little as $80 per person. Keep in mind that most short duration private tours do not include things like accommodation, transport, or food costs, and depending on the destination special tickets may need to be purchased. We recommend talking to your guide beforehand so you have a clear idea of the expected costs. 

Comparatively, a guided day tour using a large tour company can put you back hundreds of dollars, but these usually include transport, food, or other extras in the price (though these can vary in quality). Remember, in this scenario you are only one amongst many guests on the tour whereas with a private guide you yourself or your group will be directly in contact with your guide from step one. 

If you’re looking to splurge a bit on a truly luxurious experience, a private guide can also create a premium tour experience that caters to your needs. Higher end tours of the area include a 5-day food and wellness tour through gorgeous Tuscany or a day at the thermal spas in Sorano. When it comes to multi-day tours, accommodation and transport is also frequently included in the price, but check with your guide before securing your booking.


As we can see, the major advantages of traveling with a private guide include their flexibility, uniqueness, and exclusivity. On the other hand, a tour with a large company may be more affordable and provide a more structured holiday experience. 

The type of tour experience you choose will ultimately depend on your personality, but if you’re a veteran traveler but have never used the services of a private guide, we’d recommend giving it a try. Contact one of our Italy private guides today to see what they can offer you.

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