My name is Andrea, and I was born in Rome in 1963 (...I leave the age count to you).

Having always lived in this city, my first encounter with Rome's most important monuments and museums took place when I was still very young. This early experience probably left an imprint, as later on I developed a great interest in the city's many cultural aspects, which I started to actively cultivate after high school, despite having taken up scientific studies.
I realized that the famous sites visited by crowds of tourists from all over the world are only the tip of a huge iceberg. So I turned my attention particularly towards the thousands of 'minor' yet not less interesting features; most of them are barely mentioned in guide-books, or completely ignored, so that they are unknown to a large majority of visitors, but also to many Roman natives! The whole city started appearing to me as a huge attic, full of all sorts of old curious things, long since forgotten, yet still there, within the reach of anybody curious enough to rediscover them.
All these minor features, which often blend several different fields, such as history, art, literature, local traditions, legends, became my real 'piece of cake'.

What had started as a pastime, gradually turned into an in-depth knowledge of the city, achieved in a non-academic way, but with that extra kick that only 'serious' amateurs put into their lifetime hobby, maybe even better than professionals.
For over a quarter of a century I have been scouring every corner of the city, investigating whatever I visited, sometimes making interesting finds, even by chance. And I still keep doing this, because to know Rome well, one whole lifetime would probably not be enough.
I do not only visit places, but I also do research, in order to collect as much information as possible from every source available, in order to achieve a well-rounded knowledge. Fortunately, this is the city in the world that can boast the most extensive bibliography about its features: for any topic concerning Rome that one may be interested in, one or more books about it have already been written. There are monographic publications about extremely specific subjects, such as the city's courtyards, bridges, arches, church domes, cloisters, not to mention more traditional ones such as fountains, city walls, obelisks, historical buildings, and so on.
I have a good collection of these books in my own library; they provide me with the guidelines I use for writing my pages, although I always try to deal with topics in a non-pedantic way, highlighting their most curious, unusual, least known aspects. For this reason, everybody can easily approach them.

In order to make the website more interesting, I also rely on my own photographic archive: about 8.000 pictures of Rome, from general views to the closest details of whatever can be found in this city, including the strangest things. The pages of Virtual Roma are, in fact, illustrated mainly with my own photographs. A few of the best ones I took have also taken part to photographic contests and exhibitions.

In recent years I also started working as a tourist guide: since I kept receiving requests from visitors seeking for somebody who could take them to visit what is featured in Virtual Roma, I thought of doing this myself.
In order to achieve more professional skills, I attended a course for tourist guides at the European Institute of Tourism in Rome, although I always try to make my walking tours a somewhat unconventional experience by including not only major landmarks, but also a number of curious and obscure sites.
For instance, in this page you see me standing by some typical 'minor features' that most tourists would walk past, without even noticing them. Instead each of them has an interesting story to tell. There are thousands of sites like these ones in Rome; the reason why I created this website is to share some of their secrets with the internet community.

To reach the main index of Virtual Roma and browse its many sections, simply click on the street plate below: