Florence 101 Orientation Tour

Book our Florence 101 Orientation Tour to discover Florence. Whether you are a student, on a sabbatical or looking to buy or rent, we show you what you need to know.

Florence 101 Orientation Tour

Book our Florence 101 Orientation Tour to discover Florence. Whether you are a student, on a sabbatical or looking to buy or rent, we show you what you need to know.

Whether you are coming to Florence as a student, or as a potential longer term stay for a sabbatical, or coming to live in Florence -This is the Florence orientation tour for you.

Florence Student Safety

We tailor the tour to suit your needs. Just tell us where you will be staying and we will have a great guide take you to your local Post Office, the best local places to have breakfast, remote working cafes, how to catch the bus, where to buy tickets-whatever your needs are. 

Florence Sabbaticals

If you are planning a longer term stay in Florence, or already have organized a place to stay, we orientate  you in your chosen area of Florence, or we can do an overall orientation and show you the best pòaces to rent or buy in Florence. 


Coming to Florence for Longer Stays

Not sure where to live in Florence? Making the big decision to stay longer term or buy? If you are planning a longer term stay in Florence, we can give you a 101 Florence orientation tour to show you the best areas and streets to buy or rent. 


Already Have a Place in Florence to stay?

We can organize a Florence 101 Orientation tour of your area, adjusted to your needs. Show you how to go to the local Post Office, best local bars, supermarket, groceries, markets, etc.  

Florentine Art History and History

Would you like to discover your local Florentine neighborhood hidden jewels and highlights? Florence has so many wonderful hidden local treasures. Just request you have one of our great art history guides do the Florence 101 Orientation for you. 

Buying or Renting in Florence? 

We can suggest the best real estate agencies, the best lawyers, the best tax consultants, the best renovation consultants and builders, the best decorators, as well as the best places to get materials. 

We can also conduct consultation and search services for you, using our great local contacts to save you time and money. 


What else to do in Florence? Try out these similar tours:

  • Early Morning Florence Walk – an early morning version of our Florence Walking Tour – beat the heat, and the crowds and enjoy the city to yourselves!
  • The Original David Tour – Visit the must-see David sculpture by Michelangelo at the Accademia Museum with our fantastic guides, skip-the-line and discover its beauty!
  • Masterpieces of the Uffizi – The best tour of the Uffizi galleries out there! Everyone is astounded at how fun our tour of the Uffizi is, where you meet all the big names of art history and understand what made these artworks so important
  • (Currently only running private versions)




Meeting Point

Corner of Piazza Della Repubblica and Via Roma outside the entrance to the Bar/Restaurant called Gilli.

At Via Roma 1r

Florence, 50123


We accept most major credit cards and payment forms. Please see the bottom of our website for the payment types accepted.

Most of our customers enjoy having the benefits of a private tour. You have your own guide. You can have rest stops when you like. We can tailor the tour to suit your needs and preferences. We always choose the best guide for your needs, whether you are a family, an art school, or a company doing an incentive event.

All our tours except our Sex, Drugs and Renaissance tour are kid friendly. When doing a private tour with us, you have your own guide, so tell us in the notes of the booking the ages of your kids and we will tailor the tour and choose a guide that’s great for kids for you. We also have 4 special kids’ tours in Florence.

All tours are conducted in English only unless otherwise noted or requested. Other languages available for all private tours on request.

We are offering mainly Private and some Semi-private tours at the moment. We do not offer many semi private small group tours anymore due to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The difference between Private and Semi-private is that the private tours are fully private tours with your own guide and the Semi-private are small shared group tours where individuals can join others.

The shared group tour runs in English only, but we can arrange private tours in other languages.

Snacks are allowed (better not to snack inside the churches) you will have a break at a café around 11.30am

This tour runs rain or shine!

Yes, the original Florence Walk is kid and family friendly. We also have a private Florence for Kids tour.

This is a 3 hour walking tour that includes church entry but there are no steps.

We allow a maximum of 15 adults per group. We do our best to keep the groups small, on rare occasions we may need to be slightly over.  


66 reviews for Florence 101 Orientation Tour

  1. Jonathan Walish

    My wife and I had a fabulous time and we thank you very much for the walking tour. We had our “eyes opened” by the guide which helped us tremendously when continuing our sightseeing on our own. You service was professional and friendly. As you were recommended to us by friends, so we continue to recommend your company to others visiting Firenze!

  2. Miguel Solar

    This is the only way to visit the wonderful city. In one tour, I learned and saw more of Florence than I did the entire previous week I was here!

  3. Martine and Peter Osborne

    We found the Original Florence Walk EXCELLENT. This was due to our very informative tour guide whose knowledge was amazing and explanation clear and concise. His passion for his job was very commendable which made the tour more interesting. Keep up the good work.

  4. Rene Farrow

    We had a great time. Your tour added real value to our visit to Florence. We managed in 3 short hours to see the highlights! We spent the remainder of the day checking out the galleries and exploring. The tour gave us real context. We will surely recommend

  5. Ms. Nahajski

    The Original Florence Walk as a really enjoyable tour for the whole family. All of us were kept entertained for the whole time – even my 8 year old daughter!

  6. Carmen Beddows

    Catherine was very knowledgeable, friendly and she answered all of our questions. We had no difficulties booking the tour and we would recommend this tour to our friends

  7. Maya Tohme

    Absolutely loved our 3 (ended up being a generous 3.5 hours) with our wonderful guide Hilde. She was incredibly knowledgeable and informative and was able to communicate all of Florence’s art and history to us in an entertaining and fascinating manner that clearly showed her passion for the city and its rich heritage. She was incredibly sweet too and very accommodating to all our needs. ArtViva were very professional in their dealings and approach. It is the second time we book tours with them and we hope to to it again soon!

  8. Sabine

    We enjoyed a fantastic tour with Brenda. She is so charming, very competent and explained expertly and entertaining. Highly Recommended.

  9. Anne MacDonald

    Elizabetta was a wonderful guide – knowledgeable, good communicator, fun and seemed to know what we would be interested in and catered the tour to us. It was simple to meet up, and we started and ended on time. We would highly recommend this to anyone visiting Firenze.

  10. Matt Thompson

    Riccardo was a fantastic guide. We learned a lot and had fun. Highly recommended.

  11. Karin Fischer

    It was great to walk around Florence with someone who could point out details and describe history that one might otherwise miss. The tour highlights the layers of history in Florence, from Roman times to the present, and provides a visceral understanding of the Renaissance. Our 14 year old son enjoyed the tour as much as the adults. Our guide, Angelo, was friendly, genuinely interested in history and culture and very good at describing the significance of our surroundings as we moved through the city. The office staff is friendly and competent.

  12. Nissa Van Riper

    We visited the ArtViva office and everyone was really kind and cool. We were VERY lucky that our guide could make it on literally no notice to give us a private tour. Kudos for flexibility there! It was a private tour for me and my ten-year-old daughter. We asked for a bit of a hybrid tour to allow for my daughter’s interests (and attention span) as well as my own but I’m 99% sure we got the original walking tour as it’s always presented. It was great for me–I approach most tours, castles, museums, etc as a scholar. I’m into that kind of stuff and it was super interesting with even a little “modern history” thrown in. But I know my girl was hard pressed to be patient and not distracting for the three hours or whatever it was. It was just too much for her. I mean, she likes history but so much of it was beyond her because she doesn’t yet have enough scaffolding in her head to hang the information on. We resorted to asking for mysterious death, ghost or bloody murder stories, etc, to juice it up for her, and he did pull out a few showstoppers. But overall I thought it was curious that he wasn’t able to switch it up and do something tailored for us because our guide has a daughter exactly the same age as mine. We could have both enjoyed it instead of just me.

  13. Maria Dempsey

    This was such a great tour of Florence. The guide, Manolis, was full of information and great stories about Florence. A must do tour!

  14. Debbie Burson

    This was a great walking tour of Florence! Our guide Brenda was terrific. We learned about some history and she gave us lots of do’s and dont’s tips.

  15. Marcia Higginson

    I highly recommend this tour as a way to get acquainted with the layout of Florence. Lots of walking (a good thing!) and nonstop information from our guide (also a good thing!) kept things lively. There was time for questions, and our guide customized some of the activities to suit our group’s interests. It was a lovely way to spend the morning. Registering online was easy, and my question about scheduling was answered promptly through email. I certainly would repeat this tour or find another offering from ArtViva on a repeat visit.

  16. Mary Painter

    Thoroughly enjoyable experience which added to our enjoyment and understanding of the beautiful city of Florence. Martine was an enthusiastic tour guide who communicated her evident love of her birth place with great passion and commitment. Thank-you!

  17. Joyce B

    I’ve been to Florence before but did not fully appreciate the history and art until I took this tour. Ricardo is an expert and adds so much to your trip by filling in the details in an easy to understand as well as his entertaining way. I plan to return to Florence and want to continue exploring with ArtViva tours – they are excellent.

  18. Susan Green

    Amazing tour! Ricardo was excellent guide; responded to questions; extremely knowledgeable; told detailed interesting and entertaining stories. Three of us went and my friend commented that it was the best walking tour she has ever taken and wanted to bring her whole family next time.

  19. Sara Craig

    This was a wonderful walking tour of Florence filled with historical facts. Hilda, our guide, was extremely knowledgeable and loves this city.

  20. Karin Franchino

    Eleonora was a wonderful guide. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Would highly recommend this tour to others.

  21. Anne Harrigan

    I loved this tour. Catherine was an excellent guide. She had an expansive knowledge of the history and architecture of Florence and was passionate about sharing it with the group. I recommend her highly. I had no difficulty while booking or during the tour.

  22. Sara F

    Great introduction to the city.
    Very informative. The perfect tour to learn your way around and have fun.

  23. Janet Edmunson

    The guide gave us a great overview of Florence. We loved the way she not only showed us the important sites, but also pointed out little things that we would have overlooked, had we seen those sites on our own. We learned and we laughed.

  24. James S

    Brenda did an excellent job of connecting with our small group and provided many fun insights into Florence’s history. Booking on line was easy.

  25. Barbara Butler

    Although this was our last morning of several days in Florence, I wanted a tour just like this that focused on history, art, and architecture. We had a superb guide, well versed in all 3 areas. The group was the right size (maybe 15) and having the mike/earphones/amplification was fantastic. Florence is a big and very busy place, but the guide expertly guided us thru narrow, crowded streets.

  26. Dario Andrade

    A lovely tour around Firenze historic centre! I recommend it to everyone interested to know about the city, its history and art.

  27. Lew Lobosco

    I would recommend

  28. Sarah Cross

    My husband and I had a great time our guide on the Original Florence Walk. She was funny, informative, and just a delight to be with. As her mom is from Colorado, her English is excellent. We learned so much that we would never have known otherwise.

  29. Jennifer West

    Very knowledgeable guide and great overview of key sites in Florence. We loved it!

  30. Marcia

    Our tour guide really helped bring Florence to life for us. He was very eager to learn our interests and took the time to speak with everyone on the tour. He shared his knowlege about history, art, architecture and politics with wit and insight. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour. We also enjoyed 2 books he recommended. Booking and confirming our tour was very easy. I was more than satisfied, strongly recommend

  31. Gary Blyth Academy

    Loved every aspect. Nothing we didn’t like. No difficulties whatsoever. Yes, have recommended ArtViva to everyone!

  32. Maciej Bielen

    This tour was awesome! Our guide (who’s name escapes me but was a tall bearded Man) was awesome. He explained all the history of the city with extreme passion, and used current history to make it easier to understand. We got to see all the amazing parts of Florence and learned the history behind them. Booking this was super easy and I would highly recommend this tour to everyone. Everyone at the ArtViva office wAs extremely nice and helpful as well!

  33. Mark Fennah

    Brilliant walking tour. Well worth the money.

  34. Dale Bauer

    This was a great way to learn a bit about the history of Florence and walk around the city. Guide was very knowledgeable and personable. She made every effort to accommodate everyone. Her sense of humor was also an asset. Overall a very positive experience.

  35. Jeremy Zimmermann

    Our walking tour of Florence was fantastic in large part due to our wonderful Guide. He was knowledgeable, funny, and enthusiastic. His explanations of history, religion, art and architecture were very informative. Assuming Art Viva’s other guides are as almost as good, i definitely recommend this tour.

  36. diane c

    Our walking guide Irene was so amazingly knowledgable, professional, local and funny . Highly recommended!

  37. Anne

    Guide has a comprehensive knowledge of the history of Florence and provided an historical perspective to the famous landmarks that I intend to visit during my stay. The tour group was relatively small so it made it easy to navigate the busy streets. A great way to begin my stay in Florence.

  38. David Power

    It was great to get a tour of the town… a great introduction to the history of this beautiful city. We arrived the day before the tour and it really gave us an insight to history. We knew what to look out for when we ventured further. We could understand the nuances of the city, including food, buildings, features of different architectural periods, pick pockets, where to get the best gelati , traffic, locals, the local cuisine, etc. It was a wonderful tour and was the cornerstone of our stay in Florence. Riccardo was a wonderful tour guide. He was articulate, knowledgeable about local history and custom and very empathetic to individual countries and interest. Thanks Riccardo for a great tour.

  39. Carla Revare

    We had such a great walking tour! So informative and interesting.

  40. Debra

    MANOLIS’ tour was very informative & fun! I’m still not sure if he left us in peratory, limbo or heaven! He was easy to understand. You can tell he enjoys his job! It was great to have a smaller group. We will use his tour group again when we return to Florence! I have already recommended the tour company.

  41. Cynthia & David, John & Wendy

    Tatjana’s knowledge was limitless and the enthusiasm with which she shared it was contagious. We were able to extend what we learned from her to our self-guided adventures in Florence.

  42. Julie Radlin

    It was the right length of time. Learned facts not found in tour books. Guide was fast paced and interesting. She spoke excellent English and appreciated the attention to the group. I would highly recommend!!

  43. Marialuz Sevilla-Herrera

    Deborah did a wonderful job. She is passionate of her hometown. I enjoyed the historical perspective of the tour. Florence is a beautiful city. I booked this tour prior to leaving the states. It was an easy process, well organized and a good value. Excellent way to get oriented to the city being first time visitor. I hope to visit again.

  44. Shivraj Mundy

    This was a wonderful experience, Ricardo our guide was so well informed and knowledgeable about Florence and kept it so interesting for us all. It was a small group, and easily manageable. Highly recommend!

  45. Zachary Hudson

    Had a fantastic morning walking around beautiful Florence with Barbara our guide. Being a local she was super knowledgeable of her home city. She was bubbly, funny and we had a great time learning about the history of this beautiful city. She also gave us some great food and restaurant recommendations away from the dreaded tourist traps. An easy, fun, few hours which I would highly recommended to anyone visiting Florence.

  46. Susan Saul

    It was a great tour. Brenda was our guide and did a great job. There was only 4 of us. Very pleasurable.

  47. Rick Laman

    What a great way to get the history and feel of the original Florence. The tour guide was exceptional. Her ability to share the uniqueness and beauty of early Florence added insight to our experience. Thanks

  48. Barbara Beamiss

    I consider myself a person who’s not into guided tours. But I’m so glad we signed up for this small group walk through Florence with our guide Angelo. Ancient buildings, hidden streets and the many cultural icons I wouldn’t have noticed before came to life through his words. Thank you Angelo and ArtViva for bringing context to your beautiful city.

  49. lancast6000

    Barbara was our guide, she was engaging and knowledgeable. Loved her! Highly recommend, learned a lot and would do it again.

  50. Clifford Chaiet

    The best of the five Art Viva tours we took in the two weeks we were wandering around Italy, and that was all the fault of our wonderful guide, Claus, although he did have some incredible subject matter wot work with. An art historian with a law degree and a musician was a wonderful combination. Combine that with a great sense of humor and one heck of a delivery and you have the tour you dream about.

  51. Jane Lippert

    It was easy to book online and I definitely will recommend the 3 hour walking tour of Florence to friends. I have a whole new appreciation for Florence and the intricacies of it’s history. Big Grazie to Hilde!


    It was a privilege to take “The Original Florence Walk” on September 2nd 2019, with our guide Riccardo whose Florentine origin goes back many generations–in other words, Florence was “in his bones”. Riccardo described the background and esthetics of every piece of architecture and sculpture that were carefully selected for the tour. The highlight was his narrative description of the sculptures in Piazza della Signoria, an illuminating experience about Florence before and during Renaissance.

  53. Jude Robb and Pete Gladwin

    We will absolutely recommend Alex and ArtViva, so easy to book and staff very helpful efficient and professional. We loved the anecdotes and stories of everyday life that Alex shared with us in addition to his historical knowledge.

  54. Sabrina Swaim

    Our guide, Ricardo, was well informed and very entertaining. We found the tour fascinating and could almost picture Florence in ancient times as we learned of the history of architecture and culture.

  55. WS

    this was the highlight of our time in Florence! We have visited a number of times, know the city an still, having this very knowledgeable and attentive guide was a delight and a perfect way to start our trip, we would highly recommend the experience…. it set the tine for the rest of the time that we spent in Florence!!!

  56. Penny Adams

    Loved this tour! Magnolia was such fun and very well informed. The best way to start a vacation in a new city.

  57. Erin Hoffer

    Eleanora gave an exceptional walking tour of the historic area of Florence. The 3 hour walk was highly informative and Eleanora’s sense of humor made it all the more interesting!

  58. Audrey Hays

    Loved the guide. Learned a lot about the history and was educated about facts that could’ve been easily overlooked. Wish we could’ve had just a little more information on the Duomo

  59. Mary Dresser

    Thoroughly enjoyed the tour: great guide, knowledgeable/fun-highly recommend!

  60. Daniel Santaniello

    Our walking tour of Florence with Hilde was phenomenal! Her knowledge of the city was incredible! We were able to really appreciate the city and get some great recommendations for local cuisine! I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone visiting Florence for the first time. The only tricky part was finding the office where the tour starts, so give yourself some extra time beforehand to find it.

  61. Sandy Hynes

    No problems. Klaus was excited to show us Firenze. His enthusiasm was catching, and everyone was included according to their interests. Bravo. I’ll tell my friends.

  62. Roslyn Muller

    Very knowledgeable guide. Recommend this tour.

  63. C. Clark

    We first discovered this insightful and interesting walking tour when we visited Florence in 2003. It was then known as Florencewalks.com. So when visiting again this fall we looked no further than this tour company. Eleanora was our guide. Quite simply, she was fabulous! She filled our three hour tour with such interesting stories and brought history to life by pointing out the relevance of the buildings, streets, monuments and major sights of Florence. I was travelling with my 29 year old son and this tour was the only request I made for our time together in Florence. He enjoyed it so much that he agreed to take their tour of the Uffizi Gallery as well. There weren’t the crowds of tourists in 2003 that there are now so this is the only way to discover the Uffizi. Suggest you may want to take this tour first thing in the morning when there may be fewer visitors to the Uffizi. Our guide was delayed meeting our group for the Uffizi tour due to road construction but she more than made up for this by giving us an extra long tour. So my son discovered the best walking tour of Florence and the Uffizi Gallery and I had the fun of finding the best Apparel Spritz in Florence! A magical motherh-son trip.

  64. Traci Sumner

    Our Tour of Florence with Ricardo was a wonderful intro to the city and to Italy. He did a great job of relating the history and personalities of Florence as well as keeping our group organized and safe. He was very knowledgeable, informative, and personable to his group, while being very aware of the goings on of the surroundings. I loved the breadth of information- historical, architectural, artistic, cultural and personal. Ricardo gave us a broad spectrum insight into the city, along with plenty of juicy little details that made it come alive.

  65. Deborah Wunderli

    The best thing about this tour was that you didn’t feel like you were on a tour. It felt like your friend from the city was showing you around. I know that ArtViva always keeps their groups small and the little personal headsets that each of us got made it so you were never straining to hear what was being said. Good information. Not super long. My husband and I really enjoyed this tour.

  66. susan tunnell

    Very informative and engaging walking tour which grounded our family in the history of Florence from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. Useful backdrop to more specific tour of Galleria D’accademia a few days later in the trip. Guide was prompt, lively, invested in our tour and appropriately open to questions and minor detours.

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We inform you that for the establishment and execution of the contract with you, when you book one of our services our organization comes into possession of some of your data, also acquired verbally, qualified as personal by the European Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR).According to the law, this treatment will be based on principles of correctness, lawfulness, transparency and protection of your privacy. According to article 13 of the GDPR 2016/679, therefore, we provide you with the following information: Nature of the data processed:We process your data:• Anagraphic, fiscal and of an economic nature necessary for the performance of contractual relationships with you, whether current or future;• Spontaneously supplied by you for the personalized execution of the current or future contract, bearing in mind that there is no obligation on your part to supply them. The data are processed with your express consent (Article 24 letter a, b, c Privacy Code and Article 6 letter b, and GDPR) accepting - with a click in the box at the end of the completion of the form - the terms and conditions of the service we perform.All data will be used solely and exclusively to fulfill:• Pre-contractual, contractual, post-contractual and tax obligations arising from relationships with you;• To the obligations established by law, regulations, community legislation or an order of the Authority.We are not in possession of your data that can be classified as sensitive, particular or of a judicial nature (articles 9 and 10 of the GDPR). Purpose of the processing and duration:Your data are processed for the entire duration of the relationship contract and also subsequently, for contractual requirements and related fulfillment of legal obligations and taxation, and for effective management of financial and commercial relationships. The Data Controller will process personal data for the time necessary to fulfill the aforementioned purposes and in any case for no more than 10 years from the termination of the relationship for the purposes of service. Methods of processing: The processing will be carried out with both manual and / or computerized tools telematics with organizational and elaboration logistics closely related to the purposes themselves and however in order to guarantee the security, integrity and confidentiality of the data in compliance with the organizational, physical and logical measures provided for by the provisions in force. Obligation or right to provide data:As regards the data that we are obliged to know, in order to fulfill the obligations established by law, their non-conferment by you involves the impossibility of establishing or continuing the relationship, to the extent that such data are necessary for execution of the same. Scope of knowledge of your data: The following categories of subjects may become aware of your data, as managers or processors, appointed by the undersigned company:• Data controller;• Accounting and billing staff;• Those involved in the marketing and execution of services. Communication and dissemination:Your data will not be disseminated to third parties by us for their provision or consultation.Your data may be communicated by us to entities, as far as their respective and specific competence is concerned and in general to any public or private entity with respect to which there is obligation for us (or faculty) recognized by law or secondary or community legislation) or need for communication, as well as to our consultants, within the limits necessary to carry out their duties at our office organization, after our letter of appointment imposing the duty of confidentiality and security. Rights of the interested party: In accordance with Art. 7 of Legislative Decree 196/03 of the Articles of the GDPR 679/16: 15 / Right of access, 16 / Right of rectification, 17 / Right to cancellation, 18 / Right to limitation of treatment, 20 / Right to portability, 21 / Opposition right, 22 / Right to oppose the automated decision-making process of GDPR679 / 16. You can exercise your rights by writing to the Data Controller with an email to: [email protected] Withdrawal of consent: With reference to Art. 23 of Legislative Decree 196/03 and Article 6 of GDPR 679/16, you can revoke the consent given at any time. Owner and manager of the treatment: The data controller is PIER CARLO TESTA, Director of the company "The Original & Best Walking Tours" with registered office in Via Sassetti 1 in Florence (Italy). The Data Processor, who can be contacted to exercise  rights and / or for any clarificationsregarding the protection of personal data, can be reached at: [email protected]
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