English speaking driver-guide for tours of
Rome by private car or minivan. Shore trips from the ports.
Excursions in the countryside. Tours of Rome
by electric golf cart. Exclusive tours of Rome.
Shore excursions, day trips, journeys through
My name is Paolo Apolloni and
showing visitors my beautiful country is my job
and I enjoy doing it!
I am continuing my fatherís trade, who started
this business during World War II. Still a young
boy, he was taking American service men on tours
I began learning from him when I was a little
boy myself. Whenever he had clients that were
kind enough to let him, he used to take me along
on his tours.
The picture here below shows me sitting on the
hood of the Cadillac that my father used to
drive back in the 50's. Yes, that's what people
in this business were driving back then.
American cars were the only ones that were big
and comfortable enough to accommodate American
Those who have visited here
and saw how small European cars are, know
what I'm talking about! Our cars are small
now, but back then they were even
smaller! Going with my father on his tours I
became acquainted with Rome and other cities
in Italy and Europe very early in my life.
In fact my dad was often hired to travel
from Rome to the major cities in Italy and
Later, as I was old enough for my driver's
license, dad bought me my first car and that
was it! Many years have passed since then
and Iím now in my mid fifties and dad is
probably taking angels on tours, but I
continue doing my job with a lot of
enthusiasm and endeavoring to improve! When
I was young and new in this business, my
father's colleagues talked a lot about him.
I heard them say that nobody in Rome spoke
English as well as he did, that his
knowledge of Rome was astounding, that he
invented the driver-guide business.
1963: My dad Gino and his Alfa Romeo
in front of St. Peter's Basilica .
In those days in Italy it
wasn't too common to find a person who could speak a
foreign language and my dad did so well in
English that often he was mistaken for an American
(also because of his blond hair and blue eyes).
It wasn't easy to find someone who could
drive you around and tell you about the
monuments just like a guide would, without
having to hire two people, a driver and a
guide, to take a tour of Rome. But I also
heard them criticize him for careless
behavior: they said he never washed his car.
he drove too fast, he was never punctual, he
had to many fender-bender accidents and
never had his car fixed and they always
concluded that I if I wanted to do well in
this business I had to learn from my dad,
but not do as he did. I heard it so many
times that whenever I talked to one of these
guys, as soon as they found out I was Gino's
son, I knew what was coming. I heard it to
the nausea. Fortunately I didn't look like
him, I looked like my mother, typical
Mediterranean, while he was blond and blue
eyed. So when I didn't feel like getting the
same old sermon I used my mother's maiden
name and made everyone think I was my
(yes, my mother's brother was
in this business too). But I spoke English
just like he did and I have the same voice,
so people looked at me and said I reminded
them of someone...
It only stopped after he died
and his contemporaries retired or died. But
my brother, oh boy, he looked just like our
dad! The minute people saw him they new who
I started working in St.
Peter's renting audio guides when I was 16
years old. I was supposed to be just for the
summer, but when winter came I didn't want
to go back to school. And I didn't. The
following dad forced me, but when I turned
18 I forced him to by me a car and I got
started in the business.
In the 50's and 60's if you wanted to drive
tourists around Rome you better have a large car, so here's me at age 4
sitting on the hood of my Dad's Cadillac.
Showing hidden works of art in St. Peter's
I never finished high school,
but I continued to study on my own: Art
history, archaeology, Roman history, history
of the popes and the Holy See.
And I'm not done yet, you're
never done studying when the subject is
Rome. Rather, the more you learn and the
more you find out how much you still do not
know. Surely though, I know enough about
Rome and Italy to satisfy any tourist at any
cultural level. After almost 40 years in
this business I surely know how to serve my
tourists; those who want to see everything
and rush back to their ship and those who
want to take it easy and go deeper into the
history of my country.
I hope I'm not boring anyone
with the history of my life, I just wanted
to introduce myself so that those who decide
to tour with me will know who they'll be
spending their time with.
would like to introduce my family which,
besides me, consists in my wife Keiko (she's
Japanese); my son Yoske, Hana and Ken,
Italian shepherd dogs; and Otto a black cat.
Keiko loves to garden. She especially
loves roses, because they bloom all year round she says. She spends a
lot of most of the day, any time of the year with any kind of weather,
working in the garden with the dogs and the cat right around her. I met
her in Rome 20 years ago and about three years later she gave me this
When I was Yoske's age all I could think
of was a motorcycle, he rides one, but just to go where he needs to go.
He loves music. He's very talented and impresses everyone when he plays
his guitar but he likes other instruments too and these days the
harmonica looks very attractive to him. He does rather well in school,
though he doesn't like it.
Have has a hobby: food. She would eat
constantly and she's as fat as a female dog
can be and she likes everyone to know how
fat she is; she like to lie on her back with
her feet in the air. Ken's hobby is hunting.
He can kill anything, porcupines, lizard,
hornets, mice ...and cats! He respects Otto
because he knows he'll be in big trouble if
he hurts her, but wouldn't he love to get
rid of her!
Otto rivals with Ken in hunting and that's probably why
they don't like each other. She can jump six feet high to catch a bird
on the fly, but she also loves to lie on your keyboard while your using
it. If you feel like patting her, she'll run away from you, but if
you're busy doing something, she comes and purrs! Typical huh? She just
had 5 kittens, do you want one?