We had difiiculty locating the stop near the railway station where the bus tour starts. We checked with a tourist information centre in the vicinity of the station but they were unable or unwilling to assist us. During the day we spent in Florence we saw the Hop-on Hop-off bus once and it was full upstairs and downstairs. Unfortunately we never used the service for the reasons described so we are unable to comment. During the day we spoke to other people who had similar experiences. It would appear to be sensible to suggest that the bus stops are clearly marked and especially the one that starts the begining of the tour. As the popularity of this service increases it may become difficult to hop on a bus to suit individual plans unless more buses are added to the system. The provision of a map showing the location of bus stops would appear to be mandatory.
This tour was terrific. We met the guide at the meeting place opposite the Vatican Museum as arranged.The guide a local lady was really fantastic, taking her time to provide comprehensive details and history of the places we visited. The Vatican was busy but our guide chose a route that gave us maximum time to view the exhibits without being hassled by other visitors and officials. The guide included time for refreshments that was welcome on a hot day and allowed time for the group to purchse books etc. The tour that was sheduled for three hours was extended voluntarily to four hours such was the enthusiasm of our guide. Highly recommended to get the most out of a visit to the Vatican.
Because of heavy rain and high tides, the water taxi was unable to pass under the bridges enroute to our hotel and moored on the Grande Canal some distance from our hotel. A representative met us at the hotel and assisted us with our luggage and guided us through the narrow streets to the water taxi. There appears to be no alternative in very wet conditions and when high tides prevail. The water taxi dropped us off at a pier reasonably close to our cruise ship, where ships crew were responsible for taking the luggage from the jetty to the ship. The water taxis we encountered were substantial vessels capable of handling relatively rough water in complete safety and offered a degree of comfort for what were quite short journeys of about twenty minutes duration..
Met the guide on the Rialto Bridge which appeared to work well. The tour as the name suggests concentrates on lesser known places of interest away from the areas frequented by tourists and would be difficult to locate without the assistance of a guide. Our guide provided comprehensive commentary and history linking the places and the events of the many places we visited. This tour is a useful add-on to the places normally sought by tourists and lasts for approximately 2.5 hours, culminating with a visit to the inside of a church. The tour does not terminate at the start point so it is necessary to obtain directions from the guide or have fun as we did trying to find your way back to your hotel!
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