met at the airport upon arrival of aircraft as you specified. After
collecting your luggage and clearing customs, you'll be routed to
the public lounge where throngs of people wait for passengers to
come out. Many people will be holding signs and also your driver
will be there posting your name. That's how you identify your
driver. Make sure to have my cell phone number with you, you never
know what can happen in a crowded and chaotic airport! Normally it
takes about 40 minutes from the time when the plane lands until you
actually get to the public lounge. If you see that it will take
longer, for example if your luggage is lost or simply takes it a
long time to come out, please call me from on the phone or ask the
custom officer to let you come out for a second to tell your driver
you'll be late. We normally start getting restless after 45 minutes
and we don't wait any longer than one hour from planes landing time.
From any Italian public or cell phone you just dial 3358437636, but
if you carry a cell phone registered outside of Italy you also need
to dial the country code +39 so the whole sequence should be:
isn't a problem to meet my clients at their hotel, though it's
easier if they're staying in a small hotel rather than a big one.
The concierges of the small hotels know each and everyone of their
guests so when I go in and ask for my clients they have no problem
addressing me to them. That doesn't always work when my clients stay
in a big hotel. In this case it's a lot easier for the clients to
spot me than it is for me to spot them. The big hotel always have
some space outside the door where I can park my car (van) so when I
get to the hotel first I go to the concierge and ask for my clients
and he calls them in their room to announce me and I tell them that
I'll be waiting for them outside near the car, but if their not in
their room and the concierge can't find them I just go back outside
and wait near the car.
the station, just as you come down from the train, you'll see a
person with a sign with your name right on the platform where the
train pulls in. You should simply come down from your car and walk
towards the head of the train until they see this person.
English Speaking Drivers (ESD) are all very experienced and used to
hosting foreign tourists. They are all extremely familiar with the
sights you will undoubtedly want to visit. If you have made a list
of "must-sees" for any city you'll want to visit, ESD’s will gladly
take you wherever you may want to go. If by chance, however, you did
not have the time or inclination to "do your homework" before
traveling, the driver will design an itinerary that will include all
the highlights. ESD’s will offer only very basic information about
the sights you will see. ESD’s speak English, but rarely at the
level of a Driver Guide (see next).
Driver Guides (DG) are fully qualified tour guides and are licensed
to drive limousine service vehicles as well. While ESD's are fairly
common in most ports of call, DG's are extremely rare. The
difference between an ESD and a DG is the depth of intellect and
knowledge. DG’s are professionally trained to ensure that get out of
your excursion whatever you are looking for in the way of local
color, culture, fun, historical sights and museums, landscapes and
views, restaurants, etc. The amount of information provided by a DG
will be more thorough and personalized to your particular interests
than that offered by an ESD. However, in many European cities, a DG
may not be allowed to guide tours through major churches and museum
where such explanations are restricted to City Guides (see next).
are those who are specialized and licensed to guide in one specific
city or limited area. Local culture, history and traditions are so
different from area to area—even from city to city—that no single
guide can possibly become highly knowledgeable about a whole country
or region. Therefore many local governments, especially in Europe,
have chosen to assure the integrity of the local culture by
licensing only those guides who have had a formal education and have
proved to be knowledgeable and qualified to represent their area or
city. Tours conducted by City Guides are often intense and detailed.
All I need to secure
is a Visa, Diners or MC credit Card Number, Exp Date, holder's name
(as it appears on the card) and birth date. You can send it via e-
mail or fax if you wish, my fax # is +390697040011. The card is only
kept as a guarantee and debited in case after the services are
completed you prefer not to pay cash or with Traveler Checks. Paying
cash or with Traveler Checks will let you keep the prices net as
discussed rather than charging them with Visa /
MC Commissions. If you need further clarifications on the payment,
please give me a call, you are more than welcome to call me on my
cell phone which is almost always on from the US please dial
011-39-335-8437636. Please see cancellation policy on my website:
Sometimes I keep people waiting a few days
do the tours and also the correspondence with the clients but
unfortunately some days just aren't long enough for both things. If
you don't get my reply within 3/4 days please send your e-mail a
again and please make sure your anti-spam program does not
automatically trash my reply. Thank you!
Tips in Italy are not
but it's customary to give them in proportion to the quality of the
service received. It's not a fix percentage as it is in the US, I
could say it's proportional to how much the service fulfills or
exceeds the expectations.
So it's not given in case of a mediocre service, it's minimal in
case of average and raises from there in a proportion the client
decides. It is actually embarrassing to be asked how how much tip is
owed. A tip is a gift and we like to leave it to the client's to
judge if we deserve it and in what measure. If asked a waiter,
porter, chamber maid, hotel concierge, driver guide or anybody else,
if polite, will shyly tell you tip included and you don't owe
them anything. Everyone is happy to receive some extra money, but to
ask for a tip or saying how much it should be is considered
equivalent to begging. In conclusion, everyone expect a tip but
no-one will tell you how much it should be. Italians are complicated
aren't they? But I'm not going to leave you without an answer, here
comes some help:
let's say at the
average restaurant they will be happy with 10/15 %. The higher is
the bill the smaller the tip. If the bill is 100 Euros 10/15 % 15
Euros are a good tip, but if the bill is 500 Euros would maybe be
too much. Maybe 5 Euros a day for the chamber maid at the hotel
would be the minimum. No, don't ask what you should tip me, you
would just embarrass me!
Sorry no discount,
Shore excursions are already discounted packages and I cannot give
you any further discounts on the prices of shore excursions.
Please consider the single prices for the transfers and the city
sightseeing, the cost for the typical full day excursion to Rome
from Civitavecchia. i.e. for 4 people in the minivan, would add up
to 680 €:
Transfer Civitavecchia/Rome for 4 people in the minivan is 140 €
Transfer Rome/Civitavecchia for 4 people in the minivan is 140 €
Full day of sightseeing for 4 people in the minivan is 400 €
Total 680 €.
instead it for 500 € as a package for cruisers.
In addition, if you book tours in more than one city or more than
one car and driver in the same city your aren't giving more
business/money to one company, you're always using indipendent
I would also
like to inform you that a lot of the money you pay me I have to
spend on gas which is sold for more than 1 Euro per liter in Italy
(converting liters to gallons and Euros to US Dollars you end up
finding out we’re paying more than 6 USD per gallon!).
Vatican dress code:
Please be aware that there are monitors outside St. Peter's, which
has a very strict dress code: no skirts above the knee, no shorts,
no bare shoulders (i.e., tanktops or sleeveless blouses), and you
must wear shoes. You will not be permitted inside the basilica
unless you are dressed appropriately. Slacks and jeans, however, are
permitted. Appropriate Dress is a MUST! If you are out sightseeing
in shorts, miniskirts, tanktops, sleeveless blouses, etc., and wish
to enter a church, you must be dressed appropriately. People who
monitor visitors in churches have the right to refuse entrance if in
their opinion the visitor is dressed inappropriate to enter. One way
to get around this is to carry long pants and a shirt/blouse with
sleeves in a bag or backpack so that when you wish to enter a
church, you can slip these garments on over your inappropriate
attire before you enter. Strict dress codes are especially adhered
to at St. Peter's, so I wouldn't even try to enter wearing short
skirts, shorts, or sleeveless tops. You will be refused entrance.
Again, no shorts, or sleeveless tops, but wearing jeans is okay.
- Driving guides are nor permitted to conduct guided tours of
Pompeii and I really recommend you hire a local guide. They charge
about 100 Euros for the tour, but they are worth it. The alternative
is to hire an audio guide, but the person guide is more interesting.
I drive you around
and show you places.
I'll be pointing out things While driving and explain what they are,
stop at the places that require a visit and help you visit them.
Many clients who come to Italy frequently, and have had other
experiences with licensed guides and driving guides, told me I was
the best guide they ever had. I will not only be pointing things out
from inside the car.
I will be walking with you inside churches and museums, around
gardens, squares, excavation sites etc., Of course when I work I
have to deal with our chaotic traffic and sometimes you'll have to
be a little patient while I look for a place for parking the car...
At most places it will be alright to leave the car just outside,
even if double parked, for a little while. But places that require a
little longer time to visit ( i.e. St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican
Museums or Tivoli Gardens) we may have to drive around the block
once or twice before finding a parking space, and it never takes a
really long time to find one anyway. Also I'll be around to help you
whenever you'll need me, like if you go to a shop to buy something
and the salesgirl there doesn't speak English, or you want to order
food at restaurant but the menu is only in Italian etc. etc...
In other words, I can maybe tell you about Rome more than you want
to hear about, but not necessarily will! Rome is not my only
playground though, I can take you to Florence, Siena, the Tuscan
countryside, Naples and its surroundings or anywhere else you'll
like to go. Often they hire me to go touring all-over Italy for one
or two weeks. What I really enjoy is doing tours off the beaten
path. Most people stay for only 2 or 3 days and that's barely long
enough to see the most famous places, the ones everybody knows and
talks about. Sometimes instead I have customers who stay a little
longer or have been in Italy before and do not need to go back to
the classical sites. They give me the opportunity to show them
places not even locals know about and they have a great time!
- I'm part of a network of driving guides operating in Rome,
Florence, Naples and Sicily. We are trying to extend our network
over the whole country of Italy and, in the future, Europe. I can
help you booking your shore excursions with qualified driving guides
in the most important Italian ports. I'm based in a little town
South of Rome, so I mostly do tours of Rome. Because of the location
of my home though, I can also serve Naples. It takes me roughly the
same time to reach Naples from my home than it takes me to go to
Civitavecchia. Livorno is instead way too far for me to go to but my
partners there are really good.
When I'm busy
you can still
tour with one of my friends. As it would be easy to imagine, even
though I try hard, I cannot possibly take care personally of all my
clients. It happens that some days I have requests from different
people (at the peak of the season even 3 or 4 calls for the same
day) and the next day nobody wants me at all. As it happens to me it
happens to the other guys in my business as well, so we help each
other out. I help filling in their empty days and they do the same
with me in return.
More about my
friends and colleagues.