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“Could do a little more..” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Artviva: The Original & Best Tours Italy

Artviva: The Original & Best Tours Italy
Via Sassetti 1 | Second Floor, 50123 Florence, Italy
+39 055 2645033
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Acclaimed since 1996 for our great guides and tours, we offer the original, small-group Best of Tuscany tour, as well as wonderful guided tours of Florence, Venice, Rome and the Cinque Terre. Our tours are high-quality, entertaining, informative and fun! We love sharing Italy on a more personal level and with our small group sizes, we refuse to make you feel like a tourist. Our highly-qualified guides are passionate, have a sense of humour and enjoy bringing history to life. They include historians, aristocrats, wine makers, art sleuths, well-known journalists, guide writers, as well as talented artists and authors. What’s more, we are an ASTA approved, fully-licensed tour operator. We promise we are anything but ordinary, and we guarantee we are the Original & Best.
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
125 helpful votes 125 helpful votes
“Could do a little more..”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2010

We took the Original Evening Walk, after a not sure which to take! The tour really depended on the originality and talkability of Andrea. Her job was to walk around with us, pointing out different things on the oltrarno. Her ability to chat helped, so I wonder about the tours that didn't have such outgoing personalities. She pointed out little things about the area that we'd never had known, of course, and kept up the talking throughout.

We ended our tour at Obsequium, where we were taken to the back of this boutique store to taste the following: a white wine, a red wine, balsamic, olive oil, and chocolates with the dessert wine. Andrea is an expat having long lived in Tuscany, and was very open with her observations and discussions on the cultural and food differences one may find in Tuscany. We did very much enjoy her conversation and again, it made the tour due to the fact she was able to separate any stereotypes with reality of her life in Tuscany.

The wines were great, as was the discussion on how balsamic is aged, and the differences between olive oils. We learned alot. The folks at Obsequium were then available for assisting any purchases (no pressure at all.) We went back later in the week to buy gifts so perfect from Florence.

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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Best of Tuscany--expensive rip off”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2010

We used Artviva for walking tours of Venice and Florence and enjoyed them. However, the $125e per person Best of Tuscany was a huge disappointment. While the brochure promised tours of 3 Tuscan towns, we were taken to only 2, dropped off at each and told to return to the bus in an hour. There was no "tour" of the towns, and merely a very brief (less than 5 minutes) introduction on the bus (which was very hard to hear from the back of the bus). Instead of the 3rd town we were taken (without warning in advance) to a leather factory. The "tour" of the factory was nothing but a high pressure sales pitch. We were held hostage there for at least an hour.

The guide was nice but told us almost nothing about the places we were seeing. It was odd because we had the same guide for one of the Florence Walks, and she was good during the walks. However, on the Tuscan tour we heard a lot about her boyfriend, his restaurant, and her life in general and little about the places we were taken to. The lunch was nice, and the winery beautiful, but there was no tour of the wine cellars, and no wine tasting as the brouchure had advertised. All in all way too expensive for what we got and definitely not as promised.

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Artviva, Director at Artviva: The Original & Best Tours Italy, responded to this review, April 23, 2010
We thank you very much for your feedback. We are constantly trying to improve and we are in the process of redesigning tours in line with the many comments and generous feed back we receive. We are currently launching a number of new unique experiences. It is always difficult to be in the avant garde, we pride ourselves in being on the cutting edge of tourism, because what we do is often new, which is why we believe it is essential to always listen carefully to what our clients are saying. Our Best of Tuscany tour has now run for over a decade and we do exclusively small groups, we do not do what we call “Industrial Tourism”.
As all our clients in Florence meet in our salon we always ask for feed back directly, so we are surprised you did not speak to us or your guide about your experience. We note there are some discrepancies in your description; one of which includes the price you state we charge. We look forward to meeting all travellers in our central office in Florence, Italy.
Customer Care Artviva The Original and Best Tours
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Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“An excellent way to experience Florence!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2010

We had one day in Florence during our Italian trip – far too short – so we booked the walking tour for our family (parents and teenagers age 14 and 15). It was perfect and we all enjoyed it! Sarah was very good and we appreciated her commentary immensely. Bear in mind this was the second last day of 2 week trip, our kids were tired and a bit overwhelmed by history, ruins, train rides and they both had colds. We started the tour with mixed feelings so when our son said 5 minutes into the walk, ‘This is great” we knew we’d lucked out! We learned so much more than if we had tackled the city with guide book in hand! Sarah’s knowledge of art, history and interesting tidbits was very much appreciated.

The Halford Family, Calgary, Canada

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Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Great wine destination”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2010

The Chianti Castle (Castello del Trebbio) wine tour was a great tour - very enjoyable to see life outside the normal haunts of Siena/Pisa/Florence. Our guide, Hillary was very entertaining and knowledgeable and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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1 review
“The tour was one of the highlights of our week in Italy.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2010

The private Original Florence and David Tour was FABULOUS! Sara did a fantastic job and walked us all over and shared tons of wonderful information without putting the non-history majors to sleep. She was very enthusiastic, extremely knowledgeable, and it was a treat to have her share her passion for Florence with us.

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