WELCOME TO FLORENCE, TRAVELERS!
Hello there! I’ll introduce myself, my name is Francesca Papi, I was born 33 years ago in this beautiful city, Florence, and I have been a qualified tourist guide of Florence since 2008. After getting my degree in Modern Cultures and Languages at the University of Florence and completing my studies in Spain at the Universidad de Valladolid (in the region of Castilla y Leon), I had several experiences abroad in the fields of diplomatic institutions and international trade. Eventually, I approached the tourism business, working on cruise ships. Once I decided that the time of restless traveling was over, I thought that becoming a tour guide in Florence was the best opportunity for expressing my love for Florence to those who want to get to know my home town through the eyes of a local.
HOW EVERYTHING STARTED….
I remember I was in Scotland many years ago on vacation. Our tour guide, a funny guy wearing his traditional kilt and always singing to himself romantic Scottish folk ballads, relentlessly kept on saying that everything in Scotland was so fantastic (and it was by the way!): fantastic highlands, fantastic castles, fantastic whiskey, fantastic music, fantastic wool… I loved his enthusiasm for his country so much and I had a lot of fun on tour with him as our guide! So, the idea of this web site was born: I thought that there was no better name than Fantastic Florence for my new entrepreneurial project. Is Florence perhaps not a fantastic place?
MY DREAM JOB: BEING A TOUR GUIDE OF FLORENCE!
Guiding is my full time job, my certification was issued by the Italian Government after attending tourism School for one year and passing a very hard examination. Every winter during the off-season, I take the time to study and update my knowledge, attending refresher courses to upgrade the quality of my services. The last ones were on scientific museums, Florentine baroque painters, XX century art, medieval architecture in Tuscany, and the XIX century and the period when Florence was Italy’s capital city. There’s so much to know! This year I’m attending History of Florence courses at the University of Florence to get my second degree in History. Have I already mentioned that I like foreign languages? I speak English, Spanish, German and Italian (of course!). And I like challenges too! I’ve just started a Hebrew language course at the Synagogue of Florence, it’s tough but I love it ! שָׁלוֹם
THIS IS ME…
I love being with people and getting to know other cultures and different customs. I am a passionate traveller and I think that traveling is always a mind-opening and enriching experience. I have a true passion for history, especially the history of my city, and I believe that it is always possible to learn from the past. I am crazy for historic novels, I am addicted to the Medici family saga, I love good wine, “croccantino” gelato (a crunchy cream…yummy!), and I am a real foodie… How could it be different living in Italy?What do I like doing in my free time? I take a book and I go to the Caffetteria delle Oblate (Oblate Public Library’s Cafe), where there’s a spectacular terrace with a view of the Duomo, and I read while savouring a good cappuccino. Or I go to see one of the many exhibits in town so I’m always up-to-date about what’s going on. Or I take my bicycle and I enjoy the trip from my house to downtown along the Arno River and a much-deserved gelato in my favourite gelateria near Santa Croce square. I also like to do yoga and meditate (we all would have to do it!). I live in the south side of Florence with my boyfriend Lorenzo, who is a passionate beekeeper, and he says I’m his queen bee! This is me, a pure Florentine girl with a passion for my hometown and the desire to share it with my travellers, because with me you are not a simple tourist who passively sees what he has to, I want to help you live an unforgettable experience in Florence, so you will go back home knowing that you will always have a friend in Florence.