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I used to be firmly in the "use a guidebook; why spend the money for a private guide?" camp. But too much time spent with my nose in an often dry guidebook, and a couple of excellent experiences with private guides in other countries, have led me to understand how much a great guide can enhance a traveler's experience and appreciation of a foreign city.

So I would like to begin this thread so that we can have a "master list" of guides in Italy. Perhaps we can compile similar threads for other countries, if we have success here.

Please share your experiences with private guides in Italy. Give approximate dates, prices and any other details that you recall. Perhaps we should also mention guides that we would NOT recommend, as well as those who are in our files for the future.

Here is one to get the thread rolling, with more to follow:

ROME--Francesca Caruso.

Together with another Fodor couple, my partner and I hired Francesca for a private tour in January, 2007. To use a hackneyed phrase, Francesca made the Forum come alive for me. She is fluent in English. Her price was moderate and I give her an enthusiastic recommendation.

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