Dream of Italy recently published two special issues profiling more than 70 of the best tour guides and tour companies in Italy. This list of tour guides (only accessible to subscribers) is a must-read for anyone planning a trip to Italy. Here’s a profile of one of the best tour guides in Tuscany:
TUSCANY & CINQUE TERRE: Serena Giovannoni
(39) 327 5693100
Rates: 200€ half day, 280€ full day
Serena Giovannoni leads tours in both Tuscany and nearby Cinque Terre, with excursions to popular tourist spots and off-the-beaten-track locations. One of Serena’s specialties is food, and she has searched extensively for the best foodie experiences including wine tasting at local vineyards and local artisanal food producers.
Another of Serena’s specialties is festivals. As a foreigner, especially if you don’t speak Italian, it’s often difficult to understand what’s going on or to know what to do at a local celebration. Serena accompanies guests to the famous Palio of Siena horse race and Viareggio Carnevale parades as well as small, local food festivals held in Tuscan villages. Here you can taste unique flavors, like panigacci flat breads cooked in terracotta molds over an open fire.
Although Serena offers set tours, she also customizes to the customer’s wishes and can be hired for special interest trips such as shopping, sailing or cooking classes. Tours include Cinque Terre, Picnic and Wine Tasting in Chianti, Northern Tuscany Taste Tour, and a Puccini Tour.
Serena, who is also an excellent wedding planner, is based in the coastal town of Viareggio.
— Martha Bakerijian, About.com’s Italy Guide