FANTASTIC FLORENCE GUIDES: THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOUR PRIVATE TOURS OF FLORENCE
Fantastic Florence Guides: this is our team of collaborators. Book your private tours of Florence with one of us! You will be glad about your choice! I’ve been working with them for years. We are all good friends besides being associates. They are knowledgeable, friendly, they all have a special flair for children. And, above all, we all share the same passion for Florence.
GIACOMO, WINE EXPERT AND CHIANTI LOVER
My name is Giacomo, I grew up in Tuscany and spent much of my life surrounded by its beautiful hills. My roots are in the Tuscan countryside. I was born in the little but magnificent Certaldo, a medieval hill town fortified by walls. We are famous for the annual street theatre festival in July. You must come and visit me in that period, it’s simply awesome! After studying Communications and Event Management at Florence University, I worked at our family transportation company with my father and uncle. My grandfather was the first one in town to have a cart to transport people. It was in the 40’s. That cart became a taxi through the years and this is still what my family does today. But, I realized that something was missing. Given how much I enjoyed talking and telling stories about my land, friends suggested I become a tour guide of Tuscany. So I decided to get my guiding qualification in Florence. It was 10 years ago. This is how I got to meet Francesca. We attended the same school (together with Letizia) and we became good friends. We are actually our mutual Cupids! I first introduced to her Lorenzo, her husband, and later she introduced me to my wife Ana! I started giving traditional private tours of Florence, but soon decided to focus on organic food and wine tours in Tuscany, my real passion. Through the eyes of a local, you’ll find out more about Tuscan specialties, sample local wine and learn more about agriculture in the region. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge of nature, organic food and wine, as well as biodynamic agriculture. I pride myself in giving each of my tours a touch of local essence. I love to make my clients feel like real Tuscan people for a day, away from the beaten track tours. With me forget about big fancy names in the wine industry! I’m always looking for little, family- run, genuine farms. My life is completed by my beautiful Croatian wife Ana, and my two little children Manu and Mirta. We live in the Tuscan countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love to get back from work at night and sit down on the patio with my kitties (Nina and Simone) purring near my feet letting my sight loose on the gentle hills of Tuscany. I don’t think there’s any other place on earth to live.
ISABELLA, IN LOVE WITH HISTORY OF FASHION
Hi everybody! I am Isabella and I have been giving tours in Florence since 2010. I was born and raised in Firenze. It’s Florence in Italian, number one question on every tour! I graduated in Art History with first-class honors. I also got several scholarships in Italian Medieval and Renaissance painting. After my academic career (still in progress), I decided to get my tour guide certification. Florence really offers everything I like best and what I like to experience along with people: art, food and fashion. There’s no other place to live if you want to be a full-time licensed tour guide! I do like to go discover and study all the details of an ancient and ornate church (XIII and XIV century is my field of specialization). I also adore walking down the fanciest streets of fashion designers and have a look at their shop windows. I always dream about the stylists who made Florence as great as Michelangelo did. Actually not many know that Florence was the first city in the 50’s (so way before Milan) to be the venue for the haute couture fashion show. We competed with the most glamorous Paris. Gucci and Ferragamo are actually our Florentine prides! I’ve studied the History of Fashion and I love to give tours of the fashion museums in Florence. I particularly love the style of the roaring 20’s.Giving daily private tours of Florence has helped enhance my natural way with people, making me able to get in line with them since the very first moment we share. Also, becoming a mum, less than a couple of years ago, has made me even more likeable to children, more than I already used to be…! I really think that kids are a “plus” to a tour. My trainee is my beautiful son Ruben. One day I was studying a series of Renaissance tapestries displayed in Palazzo Vecchio (Florence city hall). My attention was caught by one of the characters, Ruben. He is one of the brothers of Joseph, the Jewish patriarch. It’s a cycle of frescoes commissioned by the Medici family in the XV century. I decided that name had to be my son’s name! And that is what happened!I learnt my English at school, with private mother-tongue teachers and traveling all over English-speaking countries. I’m passionate about many tv series, but my favorite one is Games of Thrones. I can quote every single line by heart!
JESSICA, CRAZY FOR MICHELANGELO AND GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA
Nice to meet you! My name is Jessica and I got my certificate as an official tour guide of Florence in 2012. I got degree in Art History at Florence University. Later I decided that becoming a guide to give private tours of Florence was a great way to transmit my passion for Florence and its art. I’m a passionate traveler, I love getting to know other cultures and places, but there’s nothing better than coming back home! Each time I fall in love again with my beautiful Firenze. Art is my passion, that’s why my cat’s name is Michelangelo! Michelangelo and the Renaissance are my specialties. Actually, my favorite place in Florence is the Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy) in the Medici chapel. It’s a small but amazing chapel where we can really understand Michelangelo, the genius. He was commissioned to create the monuments in memory of the Medici family, his patrons. It’s a magical place, where you feel yourself surrounded by the spirit of Michelangelo. I spend my days off with my friends in the local trattorie (another word to say restaurants in Italian) in the Oltrarno district, the left bank of the Arno River. Strange but true, when I’m not working I like to go to museums. I can enjoy artwork just for myself! I also love the views from the Lungarni, the boulevards along the river. I like to have long walks alone, with my camera as my only company. I love good wine and I am a real foodie, even if I suffer from celiac disease. I have been eating gluten-free food for several years now. I’m very lucky because we have plenty of gluten-free restaurants in Florence. My favorite restaurant is actually a pizzeria called Ciro and Sons. There you can have an entire gluten-free meal, from bread to beer. I love their Portofino pizza, with burrata cheese, pesto, and cherry tomatoes… heavenly!! This restaurant is right in front of the Medici Chapel. I look forward to taking you to both my favorite spots, a museum and a pizzeria! In other words, I’m a real Florentine girl and I can’t wait to introduce you to my home city!! Take your private tours of Florence with me!!
DANIELA, TEACHER OF ITALIAN AND VEGAN
Hi, I am Daniela. Let me introduce myself! I am a tour guide in Florence and a teacher. I was born in Pistoia, a delightful little medieval city in northwestern Tuscany. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from the University of Florence and a Master’s degree in Language Teaching from the University of Siena. I finally made Florence my home, after many years spent studying Foreign Languages and Cultures in Germany and Ireland. Once back in Italy, I decided to embark on the great world of art since I always had a passion for it. So I became an official tour guide of Florence. I feel I have combined my love for foreign languages and art in my full-time job. I teach Italian as a second language to American students who choose Florence for their “study abroad” year. Part of my teaching position is also to show the students around, so I can mix my two passions, teaching and guiding. It’s an incredibly fun experience to be surrounded by these young students who decided to learn Italian language and culture. I’m a true animal and nature lover, I have an adorable cat named Otto and I’m a member of an association that protect animals. I’m a devoted vegan and the Florence vegan food tour is actually one of my favorites! I love sweets and cakes, even though I’m not a big “baker”. Since I’m a teacher, I think I’m the perfect guide for the “Speak like you eat: A tour of Florence to learn Italian”, a special experience to learn the language while touring the monument of Florence. I teach how to ask for a cappuccino in a café – just like an Italian! I’m also a proud member of a nonprofit association in charge of making museums more and more accessible to disabled people. There’s still so much to do and I like to give my little contribution. I have special training in giving tours to the visually impaired and I love explaining with my voice what they “see” through their touch. It is a big emotion every time and I feel so grateful. One of the things I like most is going trekking on new paths in the woods to check if they’re accessible to wheelchairs or to visit a museum in order to pick out the touchable pieces for my next tour. I look forward to meeting you in Florence!
LETIZIA, SOCCER FAN AND PASSIONATE ABOUT MIDDLE AGES
Hello, my name is Letizia. I was born and raised in Florence. Since I was a child, I have loved to travel with my family all around the world. Growing up, I had several experiences abroad learning English, French, Spanish, Greek, and German. I got a degree in Tourism Management and Cultural Studies at Florence University. I decided to become a licensed tour guide of Florence to experience, with my clients, the art, history, and secrets of my beautiful city. It was in 2008 and right away I got to know Francesca and Giacomo because we were in the same class. As you probably know, the official tour guide qualification is issued by the Italian government after completing a one-year course at a specialized school. I still remember our long walks through the alleys of Florence, always looking up at the smallest details of ancient buildings. The pizzas we had followed by long, late-night study sessions. The trivia we had about the most remote dates in history. Oh, beautiful times!! We were so young and we wanted to know it all. And it’s still like that! I always have the feeling that I’m not able to take in everything I would like to know. But I guess this is the sparkle that moves my curiosity. It pushes me to study more and more to broaden my knowledge and to grow as a person. The birth of my daughters Caterina and Viola fulfilled my life. Since then I consider myself the luckiest and happiest person in the world. In my free time (not much in reality!) I love to listen to live music, electronic, jazz, and rock. Besides music, another big passion in my life is Fiorentina, the soccer team of my heart. I started going to see matches when I was a little child with my dad. Since then I have been in love with “la Fiore” or “la Viola” (this is why I named my youngest daughter Viola!). Viola means purple and it’s the color of our jerseys. My mom always said I was a tomboy. I preferred playing soccer to playing with dolls! Another passion that my dad passed along to me is nature and wildlife. I love hiking in the mountains, especially in the Alpi Apuane in Tuscany. These mountains are really fascinating, because of the quarries where Michelangelo got his marble! My favorite museum in Florence is Davanzati Palace. It’s a real medieval house that belonged to a mercantile family in the XIV century. It’s the perfect museum to go with children. It’s so much fun to astonish them by explaining that at that time people didn’t have tv, phones, not even toilets in their homes! Curious about how they “flushed”? Come and visit Davanzati Palace with me!
VALENTINA, ANTHROPOLOGIST AND MEDICI SPECIALIST
My name’s Valentina and I’m a tour guide in Florence. I was born and raised in the hills between Settignano and Fiesole.
I’m hungry for knowledge: I love studying about things I don’t know, I’m insatiably curious! I have a deep love for nature, I learn from it, and I’m a committed environmentalist. I love making organic, natural, homemade hand and body lotions and household products. Even if I’m an easygoing person, I love martial arts and I teach them to children. I adore reading artist’s
biographies, especially about my favorite — Leonardo Da Vinci! I see myself in his curiosity for nature and its wonders. It couldn’t have been any other way. I was born in the hills of Fiesole where he made his flying experiments for creating the first flying machine in history! I’m a tireless walker: the hills of Fiesole, Settignano, and Maiano offer many beautiful walks to discover the pietra serena caves. It is the grey stone that you see in all the churches and squares in Florence. Even Michelangelo lived in Settignano as a child and was put in the care of a nanny who was the wife of a stone cutter. He once said that he had fed on stone dust as a child — this is why he became a great sculptor! Do you remember the beautiful sandstone palace between Via Tornabuoni and Piazza della Repubblica? It’s called Palazzo Strozzi, built in the late 1400s by Benedetto da Maiano, an architect born right in the Florentine hills in a small village called Maiano. So I grew up in the footsteps of the greatest artists of the Renaissance!
I’m very interested in politics and anthropology. I’m about to get a Bachelor’s in the history of law. I’m passionate about history, especially about Rome and the Medici Family. My studies have given me the chance to learn more about the Medici’s rise to power from a political and social point of view. In fact, the tour about the Medici family is undoubtedly my favorite! But if you want to leave the commotion of the city, an afternoon in Fiesole is a must! I will be happy to introduce you to my beautiful hills, with the Romanesque cathedral and the archeological digs that guide us in reconstructing this little city’s Roman and Etruscan past!
CRISTIANO, CALIFORNIAN-FLORENTINE, IN LOVE WITH BEATO ANGELICO
Hi, my name is Cristiano. I was born in Florence a few decades ago to an American mother and Italian father. After my first few years of life in California, I have been spent most of my youth and adult life in beautiful Florence, where I live with my companion Daniela (also a tour guide) and our cat Otto. I have studied History and Information Technology and I’m a theater teacher in my free time. After years of running my own business, I decided to hone my love for history, more specifically the Medieval period, and combine it with a passion for art, so that I could pass along the knowledge I have acquired of my hometown — Florence. Other interests of mine are football – with the Fiorentina being a self-inflicted curse!- and spending time in the kitchen playing around with pots and pans, which I find to be relaxing and a way into the flavo r of life by mixing together different ingredients. Regarding my work as a tour guide in Florence, I am often asked what I love about my job. The easiest answer is: almost everything. I could start with the simple fact of being surrounded by beautiful artworks that have changed and shaped Western world in so many ways. I like having the luxury of introducing visitors to the local culture and I have the possibility of “seeing” what I consider my home through the eyes of the people I guide along the streets, the markets, and the museums that Florence has to offer. It is the true measure of how much traveling and experiencing places like Tuscany and Italy is fulfilling and worth it!!! Through the years as a certified tour guide in Florence I have discovered my fascination for the less known corners of the city, like the Galileo Museum, with its collection of scientific tools, or the convent of San Marco. Through the architecture and the artworks of great masters like Beato Angelico I feel I’ve been immersed in the early 15th century. Everyone knows that Italy is a treasure trove for art and history, and I was fortunate to be born in Florence, the jewel in her crown.