Tag Archives | Vatican Museum

The Seven Secrets of Rome

Check out our latest post for the City Blogging Tour:  The Seven Secrets of Rome!  We were even awarded the Jury prize for our post!!  Please check it out and while there could you hit the vote button for us?

An excerpt from our post:

The Secret Keyhole

For our first secret of Rome, head to the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, wander around to the back side of the square, there you will find the church of Santa Maria Del Priorato. Find the door leading into the church. Peer through the small bronze keyhole in the gate. Spoiler alert! As you gaze through the small hole you will see perfectly framed by trees and scrubs, the Basilica of St. Peter. It is truly a sight to behold. It is difficult to fully describe just how beautiful and unexpected this view is. We highly recommend!

 

 

 

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Put it in Context

We must put a clear disclaimer on this post, there is one thing that we both hate more than a layover in anywhere that begins with Den and ends with a Ver: it is tour guides.  WE DESPISE THEM!  In so many places we have seen the gaggle of tourists led by someone that is supplying very simplistic remarks.  To identify them simply look for the person holding the metal stick with a yellow flag on top- sporting the clipboard.  You might hear them say, “There is a fine example of Greek statue….ok moving right a long.”  This in front of the Venus de Milo!  Or the most egregious example was a tour guide who said in front of the Celcius Library, “This is the library; imagine it,” and walked off. End of disclaimer.  Ok one more disclaimer…(We are never, ever paid/compensated for anything that we review or comment on.)  This is really the end of disclaimers.

We found a truly unique and frankly awesome service, Context Travel.  This is not your run of the mill tour guide.  You are paired in small groups never more than 6 people, with a true expert in the field.   When we say expert, we mean….someone that has devoted a lifetime to study in a given field.  Imagine having an architecture tour of Rome with someone with a Doctorate in Roman Architecture!  Or a tour of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul with someone that wrote a book about the palace!  Or even an incredible tour of Wall Street with a former bond trader!  With Context Travel you get just that. Ok…must be expensive right?  It really is affordable.  Tours are much more specific in their breadth, but much, much more profound in their depth.Our guide Claire in Istanbul. She speaks seven languages and literally wrote the book on Topaki Palace. We spent four hours with her and it was a highlight of our trip!

Most of our tours with Context have been just Mike and I.  They are not in every city. They don’t cover every topic.  They don’t even offer tours to some of your typically touristy spots.  But what they lack in quantity, they certainly make up in quality.

We have taken the following tours with context:

Imperial Rome: Architecture and History of the Archaeological Center

HISTORY AND CONTINUITY IN ISTANBUL

Tasting the Immigrant Experience

HISTORY OF FINANCE

Many of the tour descriptions sound more like a college syllabus than a promo for a tour. Don’t be scared away.  The beauty of Context is the questions you are able to ask.  Forget the trite quicky response (quicky’s are good just not on a tour).  You are always going to be surprised and enlightened.  (In-depth info really makes you sound cool at cocktail parties.)

We have only had one bad experience with Context.  Our foodie tour of NY.  But he really ruined it for himself.  He speaks fluent Chinese, so in Chinatown he kinda didn’t pay attention to guide.

We have recommended Context to many friends and now our blog-followers! A friend recently went to Rome with her two teenage daughters. They used Context to see the Vatican and the Vatican Museum. My friend said her daughters even thought the guide was cool! Context really puts things in, well, “context.”

We HIGHLY recommend:

Context Travel

Scholar-led Walks of the World’s Greatest Cities

Context is an in-depth alternative to traditional tours. We are a network of architects, historians, art historians, and specialists who organize over 300 different walks in 12 cities around the world.


What distinguishes us:

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