Activites and tours in Florence
From walking tours to cooking classes, bus tours to private guides, sidetrips to Pisa and tours of the Uffizi, here are the best guided microtours in Florence
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A Segway tour of Florence.Even if you're a die-hard solo traveler and scoff at the folks being herded from one sight to another in the big tourist clots of a tour group, you can get a lot of mileage out of sightseeing guides once you're in Florence.
Bus tours of the city; escorted day trips to outlying sights and nearby towns like Pisa or the Chianti; walking tours around town; docent tours through museums or cathedrals; culinary tours, wine tastings, and cooking classes (which get their own pages); guided art and architecture walks and museum visits with an art historian; bike tours of Florence and the Chianti countryside, and private guides—these are all what I call microtours (as opposed to the macrotours of fully escorted bus trips).
Then there are fun experiences like:
- A half-day cooking class and market visit
- A cheese and wine tasting at one of my favorite little cheese and wine shops (if owner Giancarlo Avuri is there, tell him Reid Bramblett sent you)
- A fresco workshop
- A shopping tour to the outlets
- Tours of the vineyards of Chianti and elsewhere in Tuscany
A pasta-making cooking class in Florence.Local guides who concentrate only on one city or sight are usually experts, not tour bus escorts who’ve merely memorized a canned spiel for each town, stop, and sight along the way.
By combining do-it-yourself planning and travel with microtours, you can get the best of both worlds. The best microtours are packed with more information (history, background, anecdotes, details, and explanations) than any guidebook has room to print.
A tip: On any tour, be a head-of-the-class nerd and stick next to the guide. Walking from stop to stop on the tour, you’ll be able to chat on your own with her and ask questions, and you’ll also get to hear her answers and explanations to everyone else’s questions.
There are essentially six kinds of microtours, each covered on its own section:
- Bus tours
- Walking tours
- Sight & museum tours
- Fun & offbeat experiences
- Sidetrips from Florence
- Private guides
- Florence cooking classes, culinary tours, and wine tastings
- Florence art and architecture walks and museum visits
- Florence bike tours
- How to hire a private guide
- Guided tours to Italy (if you want the whole trip to be guided)
- Guidebooks to Florence (if you want to be your own guide)
- Planning your days in Florence
- The top sights in Florence
- Getting around in Florence (for when you go it alone)
This material was last updated January 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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