Why use a licensed guide?

Tour Guides in Italy are considered professionals and must be licensed under Italian law. A licensed professional Tour Guide has studied the history, art, architecture and culture of Rome in great detail and has passed the rigorous exams set by the Provincia di Roma (district council).

A licensed Tour Guide must always display their license (patentino) while working. Official Guides are proud of their qualification and the hard work they put in to pass the exams.

This patentino is the only official guide license in Rome

Why does the license matter?

  • To interpret the complex history and art of Rome's 2800 years requires more than the superficial knowledge of the sites and monuments which can be gleaned from any guidebook.
  • In Italy it is an offense to operate as a Tour Guide without a license.
Sadly a large number of unlicensed guides do operate in Rome, often having very slick websites. They tend to promote tours by "excellent" or "native" English-speakers who describe themselves as long-time residents of the city, insiders or experts. If they do not specify that they are licensed Tour Guides, then they are probably not.

Plain-clothes police officers often conduct random checks. An unlicensed guide will be stopped and fined, bringing the tour to a sudden end.

We would urge you to only consider using a licensed Tour Guide.