Tuesday - April 02, 2013 Filed in: Day Trips | Travel Tips
Our tour guides are not only wonderful local contacts and sources of information for our travelers but they are also our eyes and ears. We can't be everywhere at once, and they keep us in tune with the newest and greatest developments in our favorite cities.
From newly unveiled archeological sites in Rome to a once-in-a-lifetime blanket of snow covering central Florence, they are out there every day discovering the new and re-discovering the ancient.Image © Concierge in Umbria
Italy's Stringent Tour Guide Requirements
In Italy, being a tour guide is not a seasonal occupation or something one does for a few years before moving on to a "career."
It is a licensed specialty, a lifelong occupation that requires years of study and training. Many guides have advanced degrees in art history, ancient history, and languages – often more than one. And if they are guiding our clients we work with and know them personally.
Guides must be licensed by the city or region they guide in, which not only means that they live in and frequently come from the areas they guide in, but they know their area so well that they've passed rigorous exams on the history of their geographic specialty.
Similar to our own belief that an itinerary should be developed around the traveler's needs and interests, first rate, professional tour guides adapt their knowledge to create tailored tours for each traveler they guide.
If there are children in your group for example, a good guide will include things of special interest to their age group that they wouldn't normally include for adults.Image © Concierge in Umbria
The Guided Tour Experience
When you visit a church or a ruin or a battlefield, that's what you see – carvings, stones, or grass – unless you know what to look for.
Having a person who not only knows what there is to see, but what of those things you are interested in, how and when best to see them, and the logical order to present them in is what turns sight-seeing into a transformational experience, a confrontation with history and culture that brings you into the experience instead of leaving you outside looking in.
The first time we took a guided tour, we were stunned at the hidden stories, anecdotes, and local legends that our guide showed us. And this was a small town. That we had visited several times. And thought we knew well.
Brian Dore and Maria Gabriella Landers | Contact Us
Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist: Italy