Day started with bus being 45 minutes late, and being told ‘it’s Rome’s rush hour’, but surely, this should have been avoided by the bus leaving 45 minutes before it did, then maybe, we would have left on time at 09:30 instead of 10:15! Doesn’t Rome have rush hour every weekday?
We arrived at Hadrians Villa and were rushed and herded around like cattle, given 10 minutes to use the toilets and get photos. The Canopus, one of the famous areas, was closed off to visitors and the water was drained. We were not taken to the theatre or maritime theatre and were rushed around the baths. Then rushed back to the bus. The guide, Joseph, was blunt, rude and was angry that my husband wanted to stop to buy a fridge magnet, when leaving the site.
We sadly were there for a maximum of 45 minutes.
All the guide kept saying was how urgent it was to leave to return to Rome to avoid rush hour, this was stated over and over from the minute we set off for the trip.
The bus was old and dated with the advertised ‘air conditioning’ non existent. When this was raised to Joseph, he shrugged his shoulders, he couldn’t care less.
We arrived at Tivoli, praying the day would get better, no real information given by guide, quiet confusing instructions on what we were doing. We pre paid for a meal which lasted over 90min, which seemed to be the guides main part of the tour, this was not what I was paying for and would have valued more time in Hadrians Villa.
It began to rain as we queued to go into Villa D’ Este, Joseph announced the fountains were not going to be on! He showed no empathy or apology for this. Many on our tour were from the USA and travelled miles to see the fountains, we are from UK, bad enough we never saw, but closer to maybe see some day. It was heartbreaking. The fountains are the reason you go to Villa D’ Este! The staff at the Villa said the fountains had NOT been in operation for a few days, due to weather, so why were we NOT contacted by Viator giving us the option of a refund, based on the hi light of the day not taking place?
Myself and my family feel financially cheated, a completely wasted day of our holiday.
We were herded back onto the bus back to Rome, as approaching the drop of, Joseph came to all parties to reclaim the head sets, telling us to hurry up and throw them in his bag, my son had his in his bag and got angry saying’ if you lost it you’re paying €50!
On leaving the bus, he stood waiting for tips, we always tip well and have always had fantastic tour guides, friendlier, knowledgeable and attentive, sadly this guide needs to find a new vocation. A tip was not given by us as his service was so poor. We saw nothing of Tivoli either, which was also something stated would be seen on this very expensive tour.
To summarise, these ply are amazing but would be best seen independently and not in a rushed and unprofessional environment. Viator need to inform their customers 24hrs in advance if the main attraction is going to be unavailable on entry. This would allow customers to use the 24hr cancellation policy which Viator claim exists. In short my family feels ripped off and upset that over €300 could have been far better spent on other attractions in Rome. It is disgusting that a part refund has not even been offered. Just to add we visit Italy regularly and love it here, sadly this trip has been the worst we have ever experienced.