Open my heart and you will see
graved inside of it, Italy
A girl of San Frediano
People I meet in my profession come from all over the world but somehow are always curious to know if they are talking to a true Florentine. For all that matters, I was born in Florence and I have lived here all my life. In particular my home is the San Frediano neighbourhood, that Lonely Planet has identified as one of the world's coolest neighbourhoods. Maybe it is because I am one of the Girls of San Frediano from the novel by the Florentine writer Vasco Pratolini, turn into a film in 1955, but I always believed it was a very lively place to grow up.
The craddle of the Renaissance
When I discovered art history I was still in highschool, precisely a "lyceum", one of the classical schools that teaches and values that subject. As a result I determined to study art history at the University of Florence because it seemed like a natural choice. I studied for five years to obtain a Master’s Degree in History of Art from the University of Florence. During the academic period I developed a special interest towards Renaissance art. Feeling lucky to be able to examine so close the works of the old masters here in Florence I also believed that to travel was important for my studies. Especially a course on the subject of the British "Grand Tour" in Florence grabbed my attention and I decided to direct the topic of my dissertation to that field of studies.
London and my studies
My thesis brought me to London where I took the opportunity to work as a curatorial intern in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The months I spend reaserching and studing the drawings collections of the British cultural heritage was full of discoveries. I had always been captivated by the British culture and I found that the passion which the Grand Tourists of the past had granted Italy had not decreased over the centuries. Although I became attached to the city of London, I missed Florence very much. It was time to finished my dissertation and to graduate.
Valentina's Florence Tours
After graduation I worked as art history teacher for a summer course in highschool and at the same time I enrolled in the study programme to obtain the tour guide license. To be able to take and pass the exam as Tourist Guide of the Province of Florence I undergone a one year standard course and I have finally got the qualification to guide in the main sites in Florence and outside of Florence in 2014. I consider my profession as a guide a passion and a priviledge. Unfortunately since four years ago the profession of tour guide has been shaken by many troubles: changing in laws, multinational tour operators competition and the take over of low-quality free tours. With my work and as a member of ConfGuide, the association of Tour Guides of Confcommercio Firenze, I am doing my best to promote a high standard service.
Tour as Experience
I make sure that I provide tourists with the most entertaining, informative, amusing and memorable experience. Florence is the fourth Italian city visited by foreigners, its beauties are renowned all over the world. Visitors arrive with their own Florence in their mind; the one that has evolved from what you’ve read about in books, seen in the movies, heard from the tales of those who have been here. I understand that for someone the trip to Florence is a very special, once in a life time experience. Your tour is special. Let me know what you wish for and together we will construct an itinerary based on your interests and preferences.