This tour was disappointing mainly because we booked it to skip the line into St Mark's Basilica. The Basilica was very crowded and we only got to spend a short time in it, looked at a couple of key things and were shepherded straight out - we really didn't get an opportunity to take a good look around the Basilica at all. Maybe we just booked the wrong tour for our interest. The rest of the walking tour was fairly interesting and our tour guide was very good. Take this tour if you are happy to just have a quick look at the Basilica and are more interested in a walking tour of Venice.
This was a very disappointing day. We worked out we had chosen the wrong day tour to do when we were informed by our guide that although Cinque Terre used to be primarily fishing villages the main industry now was tourism. The area is very picturesque and we took some nice photos. However, one of the main attractions of the tour for us was the boat trip - which was cancelled due to rough seas. Fair enough. However this meant that the boat trip was replaced by train - which we had to wait nearly an hour for - then we had to literally cram into the train, packed in so tightly that we could hardly move. It was worse than peak hour in a capital city. Because the boat trip was cancelled we weren't able to see the villages from vantage point used for the photo to promote the tour - the main thing that attracted us to the tour. Also the mini bus did seat 8 passengers, but only if two people were crammed into the front seat next to the driver - which was most uncomfortable. The driver was also the tour guide and, although pleasant enough, I doubt he was a professional tour guide. I really didn't need the tomato plants in people's gardens pointing out to me.
We enjoyed the company of the other people on the tour with us but wished that we had either stayed in Florence for the day or chosen a different day tour. We regarded this as a wasted day and would not recommend the tour unless you are happy to visit an area that although picturesque is now purely a tourist attraction and share the small area with hundreds of other tourists who arrive by the large coach load.
This tour was one of the highlights of our trip. We are novice photographers and Simone was great, spending some time at the beginning of the tour making sure we had a good understanding of the basics of photography. He then took us to some great locations around his home town incorporating the walking tour. He also shared his passion for both photography and Florence, his knowledge of both was extensive and he is a patient and gifted teacher. At the end of the tour we had seen and photographed some lovely parts of Florence; learned more about the history of the city; and had taken some photos that we're really happy with. Thank you Simone.
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