|Stefano Costantini, Rome Cabs|
As if peace of mind, immediate attention, and a comfortable ride—on your own schedule—are not enough, white-glove companies like Rome Cabs (romecabs.com) will spoil you with custom daytrips, ship-to-shore excursions, English-speaking drivers and knowledgeable tour guides for remarkably reasonable prices. Tell them where you want to go and they’ll quote you a price, no hidden fees or surprises. For these reasons, and for their flawless service, prompt pick-ups, and professional demeanor, they are my number one recommendation for private transport in Rome.
If you worry about taxi-gouging, losing precious touring time by waiting for public transportation, or simply getting lost, consider a private driver. The bigger the group, the more it makes sense. For instance, getting to the city from Fiumicino airport costs €11 per person on the non-stop Leonardo Express train to the main train station, Termini. Four people will pay a total of €44 for the train, and still have to get to their hotel from the station. A taxi from the airport to your hotel, in the city center, has a flat rate of €40 for four or less people, so it’s a good choice, but many, especially after many hours of travel, don’t want to wait in lines or worry about dishonest drivers. Our same foursome can have a car and driver waiting for them at the airport for €55. That’s not much more for a stress-free landing.
I recently interviewed Stefano Costantini, the high-energy, affable owner of Rome Cabs and the source of the company’s strive for perfection since its inception in 2003. Though not a typical Italian family business, it feels like one, because Stefano collaborates with friends, and this friendly feeling is evident, from booking to touring. There are other fine cab companies in Rome, but I feel that Rome Cabs goes above and beyond for their clients, starting with arriving early for your pickup. They’d rather wait for you than have you ever wait for them. And they won’t leave you stranded: If your plane is hours late or you miss a connection, they’re waiting for you. I once had a client arrive during a chaotic airport baggage handlers’ strike! Stefano’s driver stayed with the woman—who spoke no Italian—and actually scaled the mountain of luggage to find her bags. Incredible.
Stefano can fix just about anything, and he takes pride in his top-notch services, especially the personal care he provides for stranded tourists, like the time a cruise ship arrived five hours late, causing many of the passengers to miss connecting flights. Rome Cabs jumped into action, acquiring hotel rooms for everyone needing overnight accommodations.
Travel can be stressful, and working in the travel industry, with all its setbacks and problems, can lead to burn out, but Stefano says, “Every day I meet a variety of people for whom I have the pleasure of showing my city and surrounding areas.” He loves his work.
I wondered which are the most popular tours Rome Cabs offers. “Easy,” he says, “Rome in a Day. For those looking to explore beyond the Eternal City, Cerveteri and Bracciano are most requested.” But which tours does Stefano think are most beautiful? “Tarquinia and Tuscania are magical,” he says. “Since they are off the beaten path, they give the tourist an authentic view of Italy.”
And where does a tour guide go on his day off? As a former restorer, Stefano enjoys visiting little cities in Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, discovering antiquities and works of art, but, like any true Italian, he also loves good food! Finding restaurants that serve the most authentic Italian foods and recipes is always a worthy endeavor. Most telling is Stefano’s response when asked if he had anything he’d like me to include here. I was thinking of new tours or special sales, but his mind was elsewhere: “I hope that the people I meet remember me and have memories [of Rome] that accompany them all of their lives.”
RWK recommends hiring Rome Cabs for a daytrip to Tivoli, where you can take the kids to see two splendid villas: the ancient Hadrian’s villa, and the Renaissance Villa D’este.See www.Romecabs.com for more.