Paolo Apolloni

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 Italy

 

   
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 of Rome.
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 tourists.
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 Europe.
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 uncle's brother

(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 he was!

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 Basilica

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.

 

Concluding, I 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 Yoske Hana & Ken Otto

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 beautiful baby.

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?
       
   
   
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