Private Tours - Florence

We are on the October 1 tour and flying into Florence a couple of days early. Does anyone have a recommendation for some private or small group tours of Florence. Thanks

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  • CindyD wrote:
    We are on the October 1 tour and flying into Florence a couple of days early. Does anyone have a recommendation for some private or small group tours of Florence. Thanks

    First determine what you will see with Tauck (online itinerary, forums, call Tauck- don't wait until you get the Green Book), then decide what else you want to see and how much free time you will have. There will be posts either in this forum or Classic Italy that have suggestions.

    There are a number of things you can do without a guide- get tickets ahead of time to see the Duomo Complex- Duomo Museum (don't miss this one), Brunelleschi's Dome on the Duomo (climb it), Climb Giotto's bell tower, and visit the Baptistry. To see more in less time, take a Segway tour (led by a guide), or contact a tour company- a number of them can be found in Rick Steves' book or TripAdvisor. We used a company called DriverInItaly for tours in Naples and on Capri, arranged for car and driver to take us to Pisa, but did not hire private guides in Florence, but we used our free time wisely and filled it up.

    Inside the dome from walkway that is part of the climb:

    633r.jpg

    Climbing the dome:

    646r.jpg

    Giotto's Tower from the top of the dome:

    643r.jpg



  • If I were going to Florence, I would do an "Inferno" (Dan Brown's book) tour. I read it a few years ago and really enjoyed the book. OTOH, the movie was one of the worst movies I'd ever seen and completely changed the book's ending.

    If you haven't read it, it will give you some insight into Florence and may get you to want to do the tour.
  • We were on the Classic Italy tour two years ago and enjoyed our Tauck tour guides in Florence. We just returned from five days in Florence on our own after a Tauck river cruise.

    We employed a licensed local guide for three or four hours a day while there. She was recommended by our local travel agent, but you can usually arrange a guide through your Florence hotel as well. They appear to run about 70 to 80 euros an hour.

    Due to time constraints the Tauck guides were only able to hit a few popular spots and did an excellent job. This leaves MANY other sites and exhibits with interesting histories. Our guide was licensed and had a degree in art history. She was able to provide historical context on the art or sites we visited and was also able to facilitate our entry. Needless to say, with her local knowledge, the guide was able to maximize the number and variety of sights we were able to visit.

    To us there was no question that using a local guide enhanced our visit to Florence. We left with a better understanding of the events and history Florence and the world as they related to the sites we visited.
  • Although we did not take a private tour while with Tauck in Florence, some of our traveling companions did so. They used Viator and were very pleased with the company.
  • edited June 2018
    Buzz48 wrote:
    We were on the Classic Italy tour two years ago and enjoyed our Tauck tour guides in Florence. We just returned from five days in Florence on our own after a Tauck river cruise.

    We employed a licensed local guide for three or four hours a day while there. She was recommended by our local travel agent, but you can usually arrange a guide through your Florence hotel as well. They appear to run about 70 to 80 euros an hour.

    Due to time constraints the Tauck guides were only able to hit a few popular spots and did an excellent job. This leaves MANY other sites and exhibits with interesting histories. Our guide was licensed and had a degree in art history. She was able to provide historical context on the art or sites we visited and was also able to facilitate our entry. Needless to say, with her local knowledge, the guide was able to maximize the number and variety of sights we were able to visit.

    To us there was no question that using a local guide enhanced our visit to Florence. We left with a better understanding of the events and history Florence and the world as they related to the sites we visited.

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything Buzz said! Early in our touring we thought private guides were an unnecessary luxury so we didn't use them. But now hire them (usually months in advance though it is not always necessary to do it so early) whenever possible. But, make sure they are licensed. In Italy and throughout the EU the license process almost guarantees you will get a really good one. In many places non-licensed guides can be arrested! FYI, that is why Tauck TD's do not lead on-the-street tours- our Italy TD told us he even had to be careful talking to us from the front of the bus! Again, to repeat Buzz, "there was no question that using a local guide enhanced our visit . . . We left with a better understanding of the events and history of . . . . . and the world as they related to the sites we visited."

  • I agree with the suggestion about reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. It is a great book and takes place in and around Florence in lots of famous sites and buildings. Even if you do not take a special tour, just reading the novel will famiarize you with places that you will see.
    Nancy
  • Also, read "Brunelleschi's Dome" and "Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling" both by Ross King.
  • Thanks to all and will look into a licensed private guide. We have gone this route before and found it extremely valuable. I'd love to hear specifics on companies to contact beyond Viator (which i will also look into).

    I have read all Dan Brown's books and love the idea of the Inferno Tour. Will definitely download and read the other books suggested. Again. Thanks so much.
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