Vatican tour guides. Quality control in a service industry dealing specifically with educating people about the finest paintings and sculptures in the world, would, one might reasonably assume, be a given. People who have for the most part travelled great distances to experience the history of Rome and the Vatican City, people who expect a tour guide who really knows their stuff; formally qualified, licensed, professional, polite, personable and punctual, a fully paid up tourism services provider in one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
It is not an overly difficult task to pick out licensed Vatican tour guides when in the vicinity of St Peter’s Square. Most of them are Italian and have studied for many, many years to earn their right to lead tours behind the Vatican walls. As for the best of the rest, a first time visitor to Rome could well end up being guided through the marvels of the Sistine Chapel by a student, also visiting Rome, trained up on how to tour the Vatican the previous evening over a pizza by any number of fly by night tour agencies which spring up seemingly overnight on the cusp of every high season.
Advice? Ask your guide to display his or her official tour guide badge. If he or she cannot produce it, walk away and head for an official Vatican tours agency which employs official licensed tour guides. Tour guide examinations in Italy are notoriously tough, and those who get through are those with whom you must see Rome, the Vatican, and indeed anywhere else on the peninsula.
When In Rome Tours use official, licensed tour guides and it is recommended that visitors to Rome and the Vatican do the same. Of course, some students and graduates who flock to Rome for summer work do know their history, but without the required ID it matters not, as strict regulations are already in place for the coming high season which will make a legal distinction between those who can work, and those who cannot.