Travelling Weasels

Weasel your way out of the rat-race, with this travel blog

Showaround - Find A Local To Show You Around

Showaround Review, Rome

We have always found that the best way to discover a city is with a local - they know which touristy sites to miss and which ones are worth it, and they know all the best off-the-beaten path places that you just won't find by yourself on holiday.

Showaround understands this and has come up with the perfect concept: It connects you with locals who are ready to show you around!

We tried Showaround in Rome and this is what we thought:

Trying the Showaround website
First of all we signed up to Showaround, which was really quick and easy and then we set about searching for locals in Rome. 

A simple search of Rome found us 195 locals ready to show us around! This gave us lots of choice.  

There were some advanced filters to narrow down our search:

As you can see the prices of the tours range from 0-110 Euros (yes there are even hosts that offer free tours!) and you can filter to make sure your local speaks your language/ is interested in the same activity as you.
In the end we chose Giulia, partly because she speaks English, partly because she is a born and raised real-life Roman, but mainly because she's also a travel blogger: 

We were really keen to discover off-the-beaten path parts of Rome and thought she'd be perfect for the job. 

All in all, the digital side of Showaround was really easy to use, and had filters to make everything even easier. We loved that you could email the locals first - to check that they were available for your dates and wanted to see the same things as you. 

The only downside I found was that the emails from Showaround (which said Giula had replied to our message/agreed to show us around etc), persistently went into my junk email folder - though that may be more to do with Hotmail than Showaround, as many other tour's messages go into my junk email folder :( 

I check my junk email folder everyday though (there's almost always something important in there) so it wasn't a big deal, but for people who never check theirs it's important to note!
Being shown around Rome by a real local
Giulia met us at our hotel, which we really appreciated (we'd been trying to find places in Rome all week, so it was nice to just step outside and not worry about getting lost). 

She was perfectly punctual (really important for us as we are always early and everyone else is always late). She was really bubbly and friendly and we got on straight away. 

We found out that she'd actually lived in Bristol (where I'm from) so we had lots to talk about!

At my request, our first stop was at the Colosseum - it's really hard to get a good photo of the Colosseum on a selfie stick, and Giulia agreed to take a nice photo for us: 


Next we took the tube over to Testaccio, our tube ticket was included which was a nice surprise! 

Pyramid of Cestius
We saw the awesome Pyramid of Cestius - did you know there is a 2000 year old pyramid in Rome? 

Giulia had actually been in the pyramid herself (it's open once a month), and said that there is nothing in there, it's surprisingly small inside and there are lots of holes where grave diggers tried to dig in and steal things. 

Giulia said that one of the things that was successfully stolen was Cestius himself!
Protestant Graveyard

Next up we saw the beautiful Protestant graveyard, which was absolutely stunning, and reminiscent of British graveyards (except more beautiful and less creepy). 

Rome has been Roman Catholic for a very long time (officially since 380AD), but many protestants passed through Rome, and as some died here they needed a place to be buried. 

We saw the prettiest tiger cat and Giulia said that cats have a special right in Rome - if they were born there, they get to stay there:

The pyramid is also incorporated into the graveyard, as it's a non-catholic burial place. 

Weirdly, we stumbled across Keats grave here - I had no idea he was buried in Rome!

Testaccio Markets

Our next stop was the new Testaccio Market - it was so great to be shown around by a local, because Giulia knew all the local goss: the new Testaccio market is on the site of the old Testaccio market (which was on the site of the super old Roman markets, which you can still see the ruins of)!  The old Testaccio markets were a bit grimy and grungy and would often see rats and cats hanging out there afterwards. So they revamped it, put in some nice little indoor stalls and put lots of money into it.

But Giulia says the locals don't like the revamp - everything is more expensive.  

The Slaughter House

Our next stop was the old slaughterhouse which has now been partly renovated to house a museum, coffee shops and markets. 

What we all liked about it was the fact that some of the old slaughter bits haven't been renovated yet and you can peak in:

We stopped for a coffee here. 

The Graffiti Tour

Where Giulia really excelled, was with her knowledge about local graffiti artists. We love graffiti and it's always great to hear the stories behind them, better though, Giulia had actually met and toured with some of these super famous artists!

First we saw this piece by Roa:

Roa comes from Belgium and typically does large animal pieces. This 30 metre one is a wolf, because Rome's symbol is... the wolf! (Remember the story about Romulus and Remus?)

Next came two pieces: an anonymous face by Sten&Lex and a gangster by MTO:

There were many more great pieces like this one about mental health:

This one by an Argentinian artist:

But our favourite piece was by Blu:

Blu was nominated by the Observer as one of the top 10 street artists in the world. This piece was massive and is painted onto a squat where 400 people live. The piece is a massive piece of symbolism highlighting the issues he wants to fight: pollution, war and the housing crisis: 

One year later he came back and painted the side of the building: 

It's a pirate ship which represents an industrial metropolis ready to sink. 

What a liked the most is the idea that he did all this work without scaffolding - just ropes! 

Further Information
Find out more about Showaround and our day in our vlog! 

All in all, we think Showaround is a great way to see a city whilst on holiday or travelling, who knows a city better than its locals? Who else knows the hidden sites tourists just don't get to see?

To book your own tour head over to their website - and make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Special thanks to Giulia for showing us around! 

And to keep up with our own adventures, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter too!

This post was written in association with Showaround, but all opinions are Travelling Weasels own as always. 

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