Name and Surname: Maria Rita Bertoncini
Qualifications: Tour guide and tour leader
Languages: Italian, English and Spanish
Tours: Classic tours, thematic tours, children and families, school tourism, recreational tours (e.g. treasure hunts)
Services: Private tours, semi-private tours, group tours
Topics: History, archeology, Roman mythology and religion, ancient building techniques
Why did you decide to become a tour guide?
I took my license as professional guide here in Rome, the city where I’ve been living for ten years, even if I studied in Padua.
When I moved to Rome, it was a dream coming true. I had visited the city many times before, because of my archeological studies, but living here was something completely different.
I used to spend all my free time visiting archeological sites and museums and I also started to get passionate about Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, the stories of Rome’s noble families and Renaissance and Baroque palaces. So, when the opportunity to get the license as tour guide came, I took it and so now my passion is my job.And this is just the beginning, because being a tour guide isn’t a job like any other and Rome isn’t a city like any other…I like to think of my job as a path: studying is always very important, and this led me to develop passions for new topics, for examples architecture of the fascist period or contemporary street art. But Rome isn’t just this, it is also its popular culture, its food, its districts, its proverbs and for all those reasons I like to guide people in their discovering path.
What’s so special about Ostia Antica for you?
I want to start by saying that I’m so in love with Ostia Antica that is where I decided to focus my job, with tours of the archeological site and where I settled my family and my daughters, so I can’t say I’ll be impartial.
First of all, the archeological site. I don’t want to say too much about it because there is much information easily accessible online but I would like to highlight that, so close to Rome, there are ruins of a city of 50.000 inhabitants perfectly conserved with its major buildings: theater, baths, forum, temples, houses, warehouses, shops and cemetery.
All those seem good reasons to decide to go to Ostia Antica but I would like to say few more things about the context: even if Ostia Antica is part of the municipality of Rome, it looks very different. When you arrive here with the local train, you can immediately smell the sea and you’ll be surprised by the large number of umbrella pines. Ostia Antica is a small village that preserves all its genuineness, where the big metropolitan city is just a memory and the inhabitants know each other by name. And all this in the frame of a beautiful countryside.
This context can easily be felt by taking a look at the small but gorgeous village where you can find Julius II’s castle.For all those reasons I decided to join my friends in the adventure of creating Visit Ostia Antica, a cultural association which aim is the promotion of Ostia and of the Roman seacoast.
Which are your favorite tours?
The classic Ostia Antica is one of the most requested tours and one that I always do with pleasure because usually the people I go with enjoy it beyond their expectations.
My actually favorite tour is the combination of Ancient Rome and Ostia Antica. I suggest this tour to all those that would like to do a real full immersion in the ancient world. It is possible to spend the first day (or half day) visiting all the most important sites of the ancient Rome: Coliseum, Roman Forum and Imperial Forum so that you can have the full picture of the urbs. The following day (or the afternoon, depending on the time at your disposal) it is possible to reach Ostia Antica, leaving Rome from the station in front of the famous pyramid Cestia, a real mausoleum built in the I century BC, and visit the city. In this case, there will be the opportunity to better explore some peculiarities of Ostia Antica, such as the harbor nature and all the religious rituals linked to that. To complete this tour, that is actually already full of things, I would suggest the visit of the National Archeological Museum and the Caracalla Baths.
With the full package, you’ll bring home an unforgettable experience and a real in-depth visit of Ancient Rome.