If you have been researching tour guides so far, you can stop now and just book Paul. Seriously just cross one thing off your list and email him to get on the books for his tours. I am not a tour guide kind of person but I wanted to maximize our experience in Florence and not just blindly run and look at all the major artifacts and snap pictures. However I was still hesitant to get a guide and possibly stuck on a boring walking tour. So I did a lot of review reading and ended up selecting Paul.
Actually as a testament to Paul’s interesting approach, I actually put down my SLR and didn’t snap pictures during the tour, I just listened to him and took in the moment. Who puts down their SLR in Florence?? Me.
You will read other reviews that Paul will make the 3-5 hour tour seem short. You will be skeptical like me. I think we did 4.5 hours and I could have gone longer. I’m not a history buff but he has a way of being engaging but not condescending. Interesting yet not fact spewing. In fact in such a short amount of time he will put what you will be looking at in a timeline of history that will finally make sense to you. And the more he talks, the more you will feel bad at the other tourists roaming around the same things as you and getting nothing memorable from it other than a checklist moment. You will feel truly blessed that you made the decision to spend some of your hard earned money on someone who is well worth it.
Even better, what you will take away is a new appreciation for looking at buildings, paintings and sculptures and dissecting them yourself. You may not have the final answer but you will at least be able to appreciate details you would have overlooked previously.
We spent 3 days in Florence, 6 days in Lucca (seeing Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre, 3 tuscan cooking classes), went back to Florence for a final day and then 2 days in Munich.
Paul needs to clone Paul. If I had unlimited funds, I would hire Paul to go with me all thru Italy. Not only would I get background on a lot of sites but he has a way of storytelling, framing, engaging you such that you want MORE information. When we return to Italy, I’m going to book another tour. Happily. You need to book him too! You won’t regret it. I’m jealous already!
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