Tours to Popular Sites
When you take a city tour, a good way to make the most of it is to have a map of the city in hand and make note of the places you wish to explore later. Rome city tours often include popular sites such as the Arch of Constantine, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican. Another option is to team up with a few fellow travelers for a private, customized tour in a taxi or a van. The driver lets you look around at the site for as long as you wish. It may not be any more expensive to have a private tour, but if you choose this option, make sure that your guide speaks English and agree to the price, the duration of the tour and your itinerary ahead of time.
Rome is an ancient city built on the Tiber River, and a wonderful way to tour the city is to take a "water bus" that takes you under the bridges along the water. Pick up the water bus at Ponte Sant'Angelo near the Vatican and enjoy local landmarks including St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo and Isola Tiberina, a small island in the Tiber. Treat yourself to spectacular views of Rome lit up at night during the two and a half-hour evening dinner tour.
If you have special interests and would appreciate a more in-depth tour, there are tourist companies that are staffed by archaeologists, historians, art historians and architects. These experts give the visitor perspectives on ancient Rome, Vatican City and other uniquely-Roman attractions. Small walking-tour groups often gain access to sites not available to the public at large, such as the underground chambers of the Circus Maximus.
Tours to Villa d'Este
When you are ready to venture outside of Rome, a popular tour destination is Villa d'Este, a mid-16th century structure with spectacular gardens. Fountains, including one designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, dazzle visitors. Tourists should prepare for hours of walking with some steep climbs. Buses leave for Villa d'Este from Rome and arrive at the villa five hours later. Tours of estate are available from spring through the summer until early fall.