ROME, Italy - Dan Brown's pop culture phenomenon has conquered Rome through the official "Angels and Demons" tour.
The tour office behind it invited me to experience this popular Rome attraction. I was happy to meet them and know more about what the tourists are raving about.
"Angels and Demons" is the sequel to Brown's popular and controversial "Da Vinci Code" series.
This bestselling series created a pop culture interest in secret societies such as the Illuminati that was known to be started in Rome during the 1600s.
|The success of the Da Vinci Code series gave birth to two blockbuster films directed by Ron Howard starring award-winning actor Tom Hanks. A third film is to be released next year.
The official "Angels and Demons" tour was organized in 2004 by a tour group who also happened to be fans of the bestselling book.
"Our founders have noticed that lots of tourists and Dan Brown fans started coming to Rome just to see the sites written in 'Angels and Demons'. This is because of the success and popularity of the book," said Massimo De Filippis, our tour guide.
"The official tour was created by the founders to meet the demands of researchers and tourists interested to know more about the controversial places mentioned in the popular series," he added.
|JP Tanchanco with tour guides Lorenzo and Massimo De Filippis
A few years after the official tour was established, Sony Entertainment gave the "Angels and Demons" film version a green light. The blockbuster success of the film version of "Da Vinci Code" enticed Sony to invest larger amounts of money to shoot on location in Rome to create the sequel.
The production team found out about the official tour hosted by www.angelsanddemons.it and collaborated with its founders.
Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, the other film cast and over 500 employees of Sony took the "Angels and Demons" tour.
"They were very happy because the tour helped them to internalize the screenplay and scout locations for the filming," De Filippis said.
"The film was already shooting here in Rome. The Sony team had an internal agreement with the city and the Vatican, but in the middle of the production, the shooting was disallowed. Certain heads in the Vatican thought that the film didn't coincide with some views so they stopped the filming," claimed De Filippis.
This event was verified by statements of Ron Howard that were reported by international media, saying that he was very frustrated with certain Church officials when he was barred from shooting the film in the middle of his ongoing production in Rome despite an initial agreement to allow the filming.
According to reports, Sony decided to finish the filming in studio sets in LA recreated from scouting and research through the official tours.
Joining the Angels and Demons craze
It's amazing to see that eight years after the official tour was established and three years after the blockbuster film, many more tourists have been flocking to Rome to experience the "Angels and Demons" tour.
|Jonina Tanchanco, Sonny Tanchanco, John Gaddi, Massimo De Filippis and Lee Anne Yabut
The tour brings you around the Altars of Science created by Illuminati masters Bernini and Galileo that are located at popular landmarks around the city. Air-conditioned bus transfers are also provided, plus entrance to the magnificent Castile de San Angelo. The tour also comes with a coffee treat in one of Rome's most historical cafes.
I brought my family to experience it firsthand through our awesome tour guide, and we all had a blast!
So next time you're in Rome, try the one and only "Angels and Demons" official tour.
For more information and bookings, visit http://www.angelsanddemons.it/contact.aspx or contact them through the telephone number (+39)200683360561.
John Paul C.Tanchanco is a travel, food, party, film and music aficionado. He is also an economist, businessman, MYX/Awit award-winning media producer and Kala guitarist.
"Tha Good Life" is a special feature for ABS-CBNnews.com about pop culture, travel, music, entertainment, business, food, clubbing, shopping and events.
For questions, features and comments, e-mail him at [email protected] or [email protected].