Hangover Tours In Rome With Mike.

By Posted in - Italy & Rome & Travel Blog on May 9th, 2013

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It happened by accident.

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Hangover Mike – the unconventional Roman tour guide.

Instead we decided to visit St. Peter’s and when we arrived we were equally shocked at the length of the line. It was another two hour wait to get inside. When Randy and I had visited a couple years before there was no line to enter and we just walked right in. But at the time we were there in late September and there were a lot less tourists.

It became clearly pretty quickly that our chances of seeing either spot were starting to dwindle fast.

Our merry gang of four walked around trying to figure out our best option when we were approached by a man offering a tour of the Sistine Chapel that included a skip the line ticket for both the chapel and St. Peter’s. The cost was 25 Euro per person plus the normal 16 Euro entrance fee to the museum. (Note: There are discounts if you are a student, see below.)

It was our last day in Rome and one person in our group had to catch an early flight out the next day so our options were limited. Because we all really wanted to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s, we decided to jump on the opportunity and go for it! A few moments later we were ushered over to meet our tour guide Mike.

Mike is an American ex-pat (from Ohio originally) who came to Italy seven years ago to be with his Italian girlfriend. It didn’t work out according to plan and you’ll be sure to hear all about his failed relationship during your tour. At one point, I suggested the tour should be called Heartbreak Tours because he clearly is still heartbroken over the situation. He makes several references relating to this disastrous romance when describing different items on the tour. For instance part of his description of The Temptation and Expulsion fresco by Michelangelo (see below) involved a lengthy discussion of how Eve snatched the fruit from the tree and got both of them kicked out of the Garden of Eden even though Adam was entirely innocent. He gave special reference to the fact that Adam was clearly paying the price for Eve’s problems and how this all related back to his own life. It sounds kind of heavy now but it was actually a pretty hysterical interpretation of the painting.

Forbidden_fruit

Later on in the tour, Mike pointed out that his tours actually do have an official name: Hangover Tours.

He clarified that he named them this because he is in fact hungover for almost every single tour. Turns out his other job is a nightclub promoter and he usually stays up drinking all night. He had just woken up about 20 minutes before our tour and was indeed hungover.

I won’t lie, after we initially committed to this tour I was a little skeptical. Clearly Mike is not your typical tour guide. In his own words: “I don’t like go into dates too much like other guides because they are boring.” After he said that I wondered if what he really meant to say was “I don’t go into dates because I don’t know any.” but ultimately it didn’t matter. Turns out Mike is actually a pretty smart guy who is not only an informative tour guide but a passionate one too. He loves what he does and once we entered the museum all signs of his hangover had completely disappeared. He ran around, with plenty of energy, pointing out things and telling us about little known gems that we definitely would’ve missed on our own.

He’s also quite the jokester and he makes a habit of cracking jokes at the expense of his customers and it’s really quite funny. Although you may not get an insane amount of knowledge dropped on you with this tour I can say that it was indeed one of the funniest and most memorable tours I have been on in a long time. Everyone on the tour fully enjoyed themselves, saw a lot of fantastic art, heard plenty of entertaining stories (based both 500 years ago and from Mike’s life) and laughed the entire time. Plus we all got to see St. Peter’s and The Sistine Chapel at the last minute without waiting in any lines. That alone was worth the 25 Euro.

Mike told great stories about the life and times of Bernini and Michelangelo and the extensive tour lasts about three hours in total. It begins in St. Peter’s Square, then moves onto the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel. Finally it ends in St. Peter’s Basilica where he drops you off to explore on your own which is nice because you can spend as much time as you want in there. And even with his unconventional ways and disdain for boring dates in history, Mike does talk about plenty of important dates, including all the significant moments in history related to the Vatican, St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican photo

A scene from the beginning of the tour.

We had a great time on this tour and we certainly won’t forget it anytime soon. If you’re in Rome with limited time and you failed to book a tour in advance but you still want want to see St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel, definitely consider taking Mike’s unconventional tour. For an extra 25 Euro you’ll get into both spots without waiting in line and you’ll be entertained the entire time while learning some rough and tumble stories about the history of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s.

I should also point out that another great thing about this tour is that Mike will give you great suggestions for other spots to see in Rome, like a church made of monk’s bones and some great local restaurants. He will also will write the directions on your map so you can find the way. On our tour there were people of all ages from college age to retirement but because Mike is a young guy strongly tied into the local party scene you can also ask him for some more ‘underground’ suggestions if you want to find the best party spots in Rome. He will be more than happy to help and this could be an added benefit for young people traveling together that want to make the most of their nights in Rome as well!
How To Find Mike:

Wanna book your own tour with Mike? Visit his Facebook Page: Hangover Tours

The tour costs 25 Euro per person or 20 Euro if you are a student. It includes a tour of the Vatican square, the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel and ends in St. Peter’s.

Additionally you will need to buy a ticket into the museum which is 16 Euro (payable at the museum) or 8 Euro if you are a student. The tour lasts about 3 hours.

 

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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

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(7) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Jennifer -

    May 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Mike sounds like quite a character!

    • Bethany -

      May 15, 2013 at 7:35 am

      He was definitely a character – and someone we won’t forget for a while. 🙂

  • Jess -

    May 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    That’s an, um, unconventional way to work out issues after a failed relationship. But I think it would still be more interesting then most of the walking tours I’ve taken.

    • Bethany -

      May 15, 2013 at 7:34 am

      hahaha – yes, he definitely still is upset about his past relationship. 🙂

  • Kori -

    May 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

    This seem’s like it would be a very interesting tour. To be honest, I’d rather take this tour than the old boring walk and talk tours that I’ve seen around Rome.

  • Vi -

    May 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

    You were lucky to get such guide, as there are so many boring guides out there and a lot of groups skip so many things and run directly to the Sistine Chapel

  • Tours of Rome -

    July 1, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Mike sure looks interesting. And as long as he can guide you through keeping your interest in the place, I would consider this as one of the special tours of Rome.