The Top 5 Ways to Reject a Free Tour:

If you’re accosted on your way to St. Peter’s Basilica by someone offering you a free guided tour be forewarned: the tour they are offering is free and guided and in English. If that scares you, you savvy traveller you, you can reject it in a manner of your own choosing or use 1 of these tried-and-true methods.

5. Pretend something really important is happening with your shoes. Walk faster like that’ll help you figure out what it is.
4. Stop. Tilt your head to the side. Then point and say helpfully in your maddeningly cute accent “Oh? Zaint Peetair is down dat way, I zink.”
3. Stop. Listen politely. Then say with enthusiasm, “thanks! That sounds great.” Now, walk away…
2. Angrily snarl: “Nothing in Rome is free!!!!”
1. Say: “No speak-y English” (snigger snigger) Then, as you walk away, loudly brag to your friends about the ability of your wit to get you out of “sketchy” situations.

Frequently after using one of these tactics you will feel like you have to hide in the back of my tour group when I do come inside to give a free tour. That’s OK. Before I started giving (really) free tours of the basilica I probably would have used tactic number one. And then I too would’ve joined the tour. I know a bargain when I see one.