Culture / Travel

Personal Globetrotting 2.0 — These New Virtual Guided Tours of Rome Break From the Tired Couch Mode

Bringing Real Insights, History and Fun to You

BY // 10.13.20

With personal globetrotting seriously curtailed due to COVID-19, our wanderlust must now be sated by armchair travel experiences. Of course, there are books and videos and travel channels on television. But what if we are yearning for something more, something that places us even more closely and more intellectually connected to our desired destinations?

If so, Rome-based architect and guide Andrew Kranis could be the answer as he is taking virtual travel to the next level.

More than a decade before the pandemic shut down most of Italy and international travel, Kranis had added tour guide to his CV, which also includes being a professor of architecture in the Italian capital.

“The pandemic has made it impossible for my students and clients to experience Rome on-site,” he emails PaperCity. “This is my way to remind them that life goes on in Rome, and to whet their appetites for their next visit . . . I developed my techniques and many of the itineraries last spring after the lockdown in Italy, during the shift to remote learning for the architectural courses I taught for Temple University, Penn State University and University of Arkansas.”

In September, Kranis launched his  Rome (from home) Tours  program of real-time visits through Rome’s diverse neighborhoods via Zoom while employing live navigation through 3-D and Street View tools in Google Maps. The 50-minute tours are something of a colorful, fact-filled seminar on a specific district of the Eternal City, highlighting history, architecture and design, as well as the hidden gems and neighborhood character that Kranis’ longtime residency brings.

Just like his in-person tours, Kranis says that he is able to make complex ideas “accessible, visual and above all, fun.” In addition to the educational component, his tours include insider tips on everything from local markets to who makes the best gelato.

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Kranis explains that each tour begins with a three- to five-minute narrated clip of his journey by bicycle through the featured neighborhood. Then, intertwined with the virtual walk, Kranis provides his insights. At the end of the 50 minutes, he conducts a live Q&A with participants.

The tours air at 11 am Central Time each Tuesday and are $20 per tour or three for $50. Private tours can be booked as well. Details for joining one of these unique tours and a video introduction to Kranis are available here.

Kranis earned his Masters of Architecture from Columbia University and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

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