Rome Mysteries tour reveals city’s strangest secrets

The English, giving its people a place to buy English goods, helped Italy build the Sciarra Palace after Italian unification in 1861. It was Rome's first shopping center.

I’m starting to get more heavily into guided tours. Many aren’t very good. A good guidebook is a cheaper substitute and you don’t feel like a geek following someone holding up a flag. But one guide I always follow is Massimiliano Francia (guideromax@virgilio.it). Rome Explorers, an excellent Meetup group that does everything from urban tours to mountain hikes, hires “Max” out for English-speaking tours. He’s a Rome native with a library of history books that could fill one side of the Pantheon. What sets apart Francia is his voluminous knowledge of historical tidbits, oddities you won’t find in any guidebook or mainstream tour.
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