For the following tours I booked them through two different companies: Get Your Guide and Prestige Rent.
Both were amazing but overall I preferred Get your Guide for actual tours because you could have all of your information organized within one app on your phone. It made it easy to keep track of times, meeting points, and all other relevant information. All of the Get Your Guide tour meeting spots were centrally located and within a quick walking distance from our Airbnb. Prestige Rent was who we used for our transfers (aka scheduled taxi) to and from the airport and train station. We had used them the last time we were in Florence and they were a wonderful company. Shout out to Luca who schedules everything and Francesco who was our amazing driver for multiple rides. The Wine Tour was booked under Prestige Rent but we had to taxi to the meeting spot since it was near the train and bus station which was not walkable for us!
Get Your Guide:
Private Tour with Anna:
Before we arrived my mom knew it was very important for her two daughters to be safe and know what they were doing while staying in a foreign country. Much of her research was done through reading the books and website of Rick Steves. On this website, she found a section on guides who did tours in different cities abroad. Because of the Pandemic, many of the regularly scheduled tours had been canceled so these guides, who have been vetted through Rick Steves company, are available for non-traditional things. She found and hired Anna who was in Florence to help show us around and teach us about the city and culture. The main goal of staying for three weeks was to experience and learn as much about the Italian culture as possible! We knew we needed help and guidance on the day-to-day things including grocery shopping, restaurant basics, and overall cultural differences. We also wanted to learn how to be as safe as possible considering I am 22 and Ellie is 19…. Living a short time in a new city is very different than visiting for a couple of days. Anna saved us that first day. She walked us around the city for three hours and taught us so much of the basics of living in Italy. As dumb as it sounds, we didn’t even know how to check out with produce at the grocery store…. different than the United States as you have to weigh it yourself and attach a sticker before checking out! She even pointed out how to not buy sparkling water at the grocery store because still and sparkling can look so similar. This all may seem very basic but when you are jet-lagged, overwhelmed, and in a completely new environment all your common sense leaves your body until you can adjust. She also showed us locations with authentic restaurants and where people similar to our age hung out! I attached her information below if you ever need a private tour or an over all summary of the city. The nicest person ever!!!
Here’s her website:
2.5 Walking Tour with Access to Uffizi Gallery:
After Anna showed us places nearby we had scheduled a walking tour for our first official day in Florence! We had been to Florence once before but wanted a refresher on all of the cultural and historical significance behind everything we saw. Obviously, the streets and alleyways are very different from the United States let alone Arizona where you need a car to go anywhere. I highly recommend doing a walking tour right as you get there to get used to where everything is. Luckily everything in Florence is close and easy to find once you know the layout of the city. The tour started off by taking us to an amazing gelato shop right near the Duomo. We then went around to the main attractions and ended at the Uffizi Gallery. The Gallery was breathtaking but overwhelming with over 40 rooms full of special artwork pertaining to the birth of the renaissance. In order to appreciate the Uffizi Gallery to its fullest, I would highly recommend having a tour! This helps break everything down for you especially in the crowds where it can get hectic.
Booked Through Get Your Guide:
Vegan Cooking Class:
This was one of my favorite activities we did during the entire trip. This vegan cooking experience was hosted by a mother and a daughter who live in a beautiful house overlooking all of Florence. The daughter picked us up and drove us to the gorgeous location. Both the mom and daughter were so nice and welcoming in their home. In this private cooking class, we learned how to make vegan pesto, pasta, mayonnaise, and a dessert. We rolled and cut the pasta by hand which was such an amazing experience. To enjoy our meal we sat outside at a gorgeous table and had romantic wine to complement the amazing meal we had made. After this tour, we wanted to book it again but ran out of time by the end of our trip. This was seriously such an amazing experience and I would recommend taking the time to do this while in Florence.
Phone Number: 39-333-835-9787
This was also such a fun day visiting the Boboli Gardens! We chose only to tour the gardens rather than the “CASTLE??”. There were many tour options on the app Get your Guide. The Gardens’s layout was stunning but beware it is all uphill. We also went during a heatwave so in our picture it is sweat, not a natural glow! We made sure to bring hand fans which actually saved us on our walk around the garden. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes to take in the Italian Garden. This garden was originally designed for the Medici family and represents one of the first and most important examples of an Italian Garden. This was also used as a reference and inspiration for future European courts.
If I were to do this tour again I would schedule an actual tour to learn more and go when it is winter time so the weather is more suitable.
Tip: When buying a ticket through Get Your Guide ahead of time remember you must go to the ticket counter to exchange for an actual voucher for entrance. I would recommend buying your ticket ahead of time on this app so you can for sure go at the time you prefer! I also learned that you need to be on time for these tickets because they can be strict on entry time and refuse your entry especially with COVID in order to make sure everything is socially distanced.
Booked through Get Your Guide:
2.5 Guided Bike Tour:
So I am not normally the type to not enjoy something let alone complain about it, but I feel like I need to make a point at how not fun this experience was. When looking into the bike tours of Florence this was the one we shouldn’t have picked. This is also coming from two young girls who need guidance during these tours. We met at the meeting spot and were brushed off to the side. We were thrown bikes that barely fit us then were split into groups based of language. The tour guide sped off leaving both me and my sister in the dust. We tried to keep up with the tour but were literally dodging other bikers, cars, Vespas, and pedestrians. I am a decent biker but on the bumpy cobblestone roads, it was hard to keep up and was extremely dangerous. It was unseasonably warm and with all of the chaos around it was challenging to hear the tour guide and his explanations. After an hour and a half, we decided to leave the tour early because we were having such a terrible time. The tour guide made a joke about how we were too hungover to continue and laughed at us in front of the whole tour group then said we were good to bring the bikes back. We dropped the bikes where there was not a single soul working? Then went across the street immediately got water, a spritz, and food. I called my mom to tell her how unenjoyable the entire experience was and she felt so bad because we were so excited. This was not the first time we were treated rudely during a tour. I think with being young woman you can become the bad joke of the group or be dismissed with questions. It was eye-opening to see how others could be so rude or disinterested but since we were young we were picked on in a non-joking way. I want to list the bike tour below not to bash on it but to say maybe look at other options, especially if you are a young woman or maybe you have trouble keeping up in literal mass chaos.
Booked Through Get Your Guide:
Wine Tour- “Wine Experience in Tuscany”
So this was one of my favorite tours by far because —wine! I have only done one wine tour since being 21 so I didn’t expect much. This tour was absolutely amazing and made me want to do it all over again. We stopped at two different wineries where we were shown how the wine is made and how each winery differentiates from each other. At the first winery we were able to sample their different red wines that were crafted in clay crates. They brought out bread and their homemade olive oil. They even had gluten free bread which was amazing. After sampling we were able to walk around the vineyards and take in the beautiful views.
The second winery was my favorite because I prefer white wine over red. We were able to sample an assortment of red, white and rosè from a gorgeous spot. The lookout from where we were sitting was beautiful. They also brought out food for us which consisted of bread with pesto and bruschetta covered which their homemade truffle oil. I was also very happy because this winery offered gluten free and vegetarian options. The tour was amazing and the ride back was even better. On this ride someone snapped their air bnb keys trying to unscrew a cork and busted a shoe trying to open a communal bottle of wine. We made friends with the people on the tour and grabbed dinner afterwards!
The only negative thing I have to say about the tour is the meeting spot. For this particular tour it is at a bus station. Ellie and I taxied over to the bus station and we were one of the first people there. A guy greeted us was his shuttle and told us we were on his tour. We decided to follow our gut and wait for more people until getting on the shuttle. Finally people from our tour began to show up and then our real tour guide did… turns out this man did not run any tours but definitely knew how to trick tourists. This just shows in any situations you have to always be aware and trust your intuition.
Booked with Prestige Rent: