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Guided Art tour of Rome, Venice & Florence

Guided Art tour of Rome, Venice & Florence

Old Apr 27th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Guided Art tour of Rome, Venice & Florence

My husband & I have never been to Italy and are looking for a guided "Art & Architecture" tour of Rome, Venice, & Florence. We've looked at the Smithsonian Journey Tours (10 days), but it is very expensive, (approx $11k for two) we are wondering if anyone may have experience with comparable, less expensive tours available. Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Given that most people that post on this board tend not to use guided tours for an entire trip, you may want to consider planning the trip on your own and hiring private tour guides, and/or using recommended group tours at each destination. This will probably be better and cheaper than an organized tour for the entire trip.

Such a trip would be fairly straightforward. If you can provide the number of days, time of year and budget, I think you can get all kinds of good advice here on everything from hotels to transportation between cities to recommended tours and guides.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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I agree with the above. Don't think of this as a 1 tour deal, but instead look at it as 3 tours. You can save yourself a ton of money and anxiety.

And yes, as stated above, budget, number of days, time of year and interests will help us help you.

dave
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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Look at the tours (mostly 3-4 hours) offered in those cities by Context Travel. In Rome alone there are a dozen or so "walking seminars" that might interest you, or they could put together a day or two specific to your interest and provide an art scholar as your private guide.
http://contexttravel.com/rome/
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 02:05 PM
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When do you want to go and how many hotel nights? As mentioned above, most of us book our own trips and your itinerary is very easy. Book flights into Venice and out of Rome. If you have 10 nights - 3 nights Venice, 3 nights Florence and 4 nights Rome. You can train easily between the cities. There are excellent tours you can book in each city to cover your own interests or you can hire an individual guide. It will be much cheaper than booking with Smithsonian.

You can book tours of each city through the tourist boards or ask for recs here. Here's a list of some tours from the Florence board.
http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/info...and-tours.html

I'm hoping to take the Graffiti of Florence tour on my next trip (from the 1400's and 1500's).
http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/in-f...-graffita.html
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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If you do decide to try booking on your own, I can highly recommend Context Tours (mentioned above by kayd). I took the Caravaggio Seminar in 2006 which was led by a professor at the Temple University campus in Rome. The four hour tour was fantastic and there were only two participants - basically a private tour for EUR65 (at that time).
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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This is the Rick Steves' tour:

http://tours.ricksteves.com/tours10/...code/VFR10/215

Much cheaper, for many reasons, but similar.

In his books, Steves has some guide recommendations. Fodors and Frommers might have some on their websites if you want to go it on your own. There are also some great audioguides through iTunes if that works for you. I usually start my itineraries from tour companies - usually the really expensive ones like the one you cited - find one or two that I like the best, then tweak them (sometimes a lot) and then get tips here and other sites. Planning is part of the fun!!
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 05:08 AM
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This is all excellent advice! We're thinking of going next Spring (about May) and stay at least 10 days. As you can probably tell, we're not seasoned travelers, but you may have given me the courage to "strike out on my own" and plan separate tours in each city. Once I've looked at things, I'm sure I'll have more questions. Thanks so much for your patience and kindness - you've given me a place to start!
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 06:02 PM
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I used Context Travel in Rome in 2004 and overall thought they were great. Especially the tour of the vactican-- wow!!!
In any event, we are going to venice and florence, and have never been, so I'm trying to narrow down maybe 2 tours that would give us a great overview/flavor. Probably the one touring the Uffizi would be on the list. Any other suggestions? we're interested in history especially, and art too but are not art scholars and like to have someone knowledeable enhance the experience.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:35 AM
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For Rome, you might want to hire the guide Rick Steves uses, Francesca Caruso.

Most sites also have audio guides you can rent for about 4-6€ if you don't want to hire a guide or join a tour every time.
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