Showaround Review: How to Find a Local to Show You Around in Any City

Showaround app review

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!

An Honest Review of the Showaround App

We tried Show Around in Rome and this is what we thought:

Showaround Website Review

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:

show around review

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:

review of showaround app

We were really keen to discover off-the-beaten-path parts of Rome and thought she'd be perfect for the job. But back to the app: 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 Giulia 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 every day 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!

Using Showaround in Italy: 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:

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

#1. Pyramid of Cestius

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

showaround app

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!

#2. 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).

showaround review

showaround app

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.

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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:

show around

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

showaround review

showaround app

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

showaround italy

#3. 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.

#4. The Slaughter House

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

Showaround Italy

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:

showaround review

We stopped for a coffee here. Want a more vegan version of Rome? Check out this vegan Italy guide.

#5. 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!

show around review

First, we saw this piece by Roa:

show around app

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:

show around italy

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

show around review

This one by an Argentinian artist:


But our favourite piece was by Blu:

showaround review

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:

local show around

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

showaround review

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!

Wrap Up: An Honest Review of Showaround

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 - or find them on Viator. Special thanks to Giulia for showing us around! You can also find out more about Showaround and our day in our vlog!

This post was written in association with Showaround, but all opinions are Travelling Weasels own as always. P.S. Make sure to check out Beehive Rome - a cheap and great place to stay in Rome  with vegan food available!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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