Vatican treasures in their artistic and historic context were wonderfully demonstrated and explained by Elena. Without her guidance, these acres of magnificent works would have retained their awe but lost their meaning for me. As a guide, my teenage children and I found Elena engaging, informative and very clear with all information and directions.
Our visit to the Vatican satellite churches in the afternoon was a different take on a similar theme and so very interesting as well. The churches of San Paolo, the San Giovannis and Santa Maria Majore each have a story to tell that is related to yet distinct from that of the Vatican itself. My children and I would not have discovered that story had we not been on this tour. Annie was an enthusiastic, willing and well informed guide in the truest sense of that word.
Both leaders had a sensitivity to the needs of the group for breaks, changes of pace, and to ask questions. Thanks Elena and Annie.
Viator, we'll meet again...
My teenage children and I misunderstood the instructions for the pick up of this tour and spent a frantic 50 minutes racing up the wrong side of the street asking endless people where we might find the bus. Finally a wonderful Napoli employee at the railway information desk made some phone calls, left her post and escorted us to the guide searching for us in the place we'd previously been searching for her. Thanks so much for waiting for us but please provide better instructions next time. The Pompeii tour was amazing. Andre, our guide, was a wealth of information presented as facts, stories and anecdotes. My teenage children, past and present students of Latin and Ancient History, were fascinated by Pompeii's boast of a different way of life, at once more difficult for some and more opulent for others than their's. Climbing Mt Vesuvius and peering into the crater, so apparently benign yet capable of venting such horror was very moving. The walk is a steady climb on a pebbly pumice surface, but the cool breeze made it seem less strenuous. To scan the flat land areas between the volcano and the sea and to understand that they all were spewed from this very volcano is awesome. This tour provided a fabulous day out for us. I have no reservations in recommending it for all.
What a day! An early start off to Siena, wandering through its streets, alleyways, the piazza and its amazing church. Gaze at Michaelangelo's sculpted angels and the floor, a mosaic of marble in colours never before seen by me. Get into the fever of the July and August horse race in the piazza.Then it's off to a Tuscan winery for lunch and of course wine tasting. The food was unremarkable, but then we can cook so our standards are fairly high. The Italian red wines are light and summery, not like the Australian 'blast my sinuses and bring me more beef' variety. Lovely. Order saffron, cinnamon or rose water gelato [OK, all three] at the world's best gelateria at San Gimingnano. And just when you think the day's over, off you go to the Field of Miracles in Pisa, where everything is falling over, not just the tower. Climb the tower: it's easy if you pace yourself and the view from the top is worth the effort. I would have loved to spend more time here to inspect the old burial ground, but never mind, next time will do. This tour was excellent value for money. It provided something for all, so that neither my teenage children not I were ever disengaged. Our tour leader was skilled at instructing and directing the group in a warm and funny way. Well done Walkabout, well done Viator. I recommend you both to all.
Everyone said the Uffizi would be good. In fact my teenage children and I found it utterly amazing. As the gallery is huge and hosts exhibits of various periods of artistic expression, our guide thoughtfully limited the tour to Renaissance works, because, after all, we were in Florence. She explained the historical significance of the 'offices', the walkway from the Pitti Palace of the Medicis across the Ponte Vecchio, and the influence of the Medicis that resulted in the legacy of architecture and the Renaissance art before our eyes. She selected particular pieces and explained the human story behind them, at times seriously, at other times humorously in anecdotes. We were interested and enthralled. And we were humbled. Some of these artists were also architects and sculptors or scientists. The Uffizi collection was properly portrayed by our guide as a demonstration of the genius of some people. I recommend this tour for all. It is a must for those who do not like to wait in queues and for those who love to understand art and the context in which it was created. My teenagers who are maths/science/history students but previously not at all captured by art, found this tour sensational. Thank you guide, thank you Viator.