The city of Rome is not like any other city. It is a bit of an abstract vision, an idea, a historical capital out of reach, an impossible goal and a dream of every tour guide. When I visited the Eternal City in 1985 as a tourist, I may have thrown more than the proverbial three coins into the Trevi Fountain in my desire to return forever!
I grew up in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With its famous medieval fortifications on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, it has always been a must port of call for all the Mediterranean cruise ships that respect themselves. That is where I passed my first exam for tour guides at the age of 18. During the 80’s, I also added the town of Mostar and that of the catholic shrine of Medjugorje, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina (then ex-Yugoslavia), to my list of professional licenses. After graduating in Literature and Philosophy at the University of Sarajevo, I completed a one-year post-graduate course for professional translators and passed the exam for court-interpreters at the Justice Court in Dubrovnik.
After many years of experience in guiding all over the country, I started an agency for interpreting and tourism with two colleagues of mine, which closed in 1991 due to the war.
In 1992, I moved to Rome where I worked as multilingual secretary and interpreter at an international law firm. In 1998/1999 I was lucky enough to live in Seattle, Washington for ten months. I attended Media Writing and Public Relations courses at Seattle University and I also finally understood why what seems very big to me (a room, a car, a cup of coffee), looks small in the eyes of an average American!
When I returned to Rome, I got back to my first love: tourism. Thanks to my old references I became a member of IATM (International Association of Tour Managers) and started doing tours in Italy and Central Europe. I collaborated with several tour operators in the USA (mainly Grand Circle), but Rome still remained out of reach. Same as in my country of origin, professional local guides in Italy must be licensed, and the exams are organized by the local authorities, but back then they were limited to EU citizens.
In 2002 that law changed and the foreign residents in Italy in possession of a professional license in the country of origin were given a chance. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity! Churches, Popes, monuments, geography, legislation… I studied for couple of years and in 2004 I finally became a proud licensed guide of Rome and the Vatican City State. Those coins in 1985 sure paid off!
I have since organized private tours for my own clients and worked as event / tour coordinator and local guide for Tauck, the USA based tour operator specialized in luxury land tours and cruises all over the globe. Tauck was founded close to 100 years ago and has been proclaimed #1 Tour Operator in the world several times by Travel and Leisure Magazine. I am proud to be one of their travel partners in Italy.
With a desire to expand my knowledge and get more insight into different aspects of the art world, I applied for the Arts Management Master’s Degree at the American University of Rome, completed in 2019. This year I have used the abundance of lockdown-free-time to complete my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate with a motto “it all makes a soup”, which is a literal translation of the Italian proverb “tutto fa brodo”! In these strange times when we have been forced to stop and reinvent ourselves, I continued believing that every bit of knowledge is an important piece of the puzzle and we never know which one will lead us towards an accomplishment. Sometimes it may just prove to be an inspiration for the next step, and I am curious to see where these new opportunities will take me!