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Bologna, Florence and Milan guide & tour recommendations - November 2023

We just returned from Italy and scheduled a few guides and a tour. They were all great and I highly recommend them all.

In Bologna, I scheduled a "Highlights and Secrets" tour through ToursByLocals with Sara Flammini. You can find her and this tour on the TBL website, but I also have her direct contact information. If you're interested, please DM me.

In Florence, we booked directly with Eleonora Catelani. My family toured with her in the Spring, but I fell sick and missed Florence entirely, so this was my revenge trip. :) I booked previously through TBL, but contacted her directly this time (cheaper!), so DM me for her details.

We spent our last two nights in Milan. Because our time was short, we scheduled six hours with one of Rick's recommended guides, Sara Cerri, who was fantastic. http://walkingtourmilan.it/ We started with the Last Supper (she acquired tickets for us), went to Sforza Castle, La Scala, and Ambriosiana.

From Bologna, we did the Italian Days tour: https://www.italiandays.it/tour-item/italian-days-food-experience-bologna-day-tour/
The visits to the parmesan, balsamic and prosciutto "factories" were awesome, but really, the highlight of this tour is the breakfast and the multi-course lunch that they feed you at the end. I assumed we'd be doing tastings at each of the places we visited, but no - it's much, much more than that! I don't want to provide any spoilers but suffice it to say it's worth it.

Posted by
3247 posts

Celeste, very helpful information as we are going to these areas next fall. I always like a guide when we first arrive at a location.
Right now, I am torn on our 3rd destination. We are doing 4 nights in Venice and 4 nights in Florence. I am torn between staying in Bologna, Verona or Padua or a combination of 5 nights between those. Do you have a suggestion?

Posted by
1097 posts

We loved Bologna, but I have not been to either of your other two options so I can't compare. I don't know why Rick doesn't give it any love. Maybe because he's not much of a foodie. We spent most of a day on our first trip doing a food tour in Bologna proper, then did the full day Italian Days tour on this trip. If you're not food obsessed, you could probably see the major sites there in a couple of days. :D
Your options are all great choices, though, so I don't think you could go wrong if you picked any two of them!

I know that's not much help. I have yet to go anywhere in Italy that I didn't find more to see and do (and eat!) than I could possibly fit in!

Posted by
414 posts

Thanks Celeste for this. Eventually will make it to Milan and bologna and will bookmark until then. I loved your comments: I have yet to go anywhere in Italy that I didn’t find more to see and eat than I could possibly fit in! Priceless.

I read a very ho hum book by John Grisham set in Bologna and have never forgotten how the food descriptions made me ravenous.😁