Florence, Siena, Rome by Tour or not?

My husband, 16-year old daughter and I will be visiting Italy the first week of July. We will be in Florence for 3 nights followed by 1 night in Siena then Rome for 3 nights. We have already booked a private Vatican Tour. Any suggestions for other tours that are a must do in these areas or can we wing it once we get there?

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

A guide will definitely enhance a visit to Florence. They aren't cheap. I had a group tour with a wonderful guide. I asked about private tours - she said the going rate is €150 for a 3-hour walking tour. If you'd like her contact info, send me a PM. On the other hand, I've never used a private guide in Italy and I've always had a great time. Rick has several audio guides for Florence and Rome that you can download for free - with maps.

Posted by Robert
Bordentown, NJ, USA
80 posts

The Rick Steves guide books for Florence and Rome should be sufficient. You can always pick up the site specific guides (they make great memories). If you pre-book the museums you pretty much walk in, avoiding very long lines. Florence is beautiful, hot and muggy in July. The medieval city isn't that large so it's very easy to just walk around - there's a site worth seeing with every step. Evenings can be magical, especially if musicians are playing in front of the Duomo. Pre-booking in Rome really will save you lots of standing in line. Have a great trip!

Posted by Marc
New York
10 posts

I really don't think a tour is needed. Florence is not a very large city. It's easy to get around. 4-5 of the must see sights are easily planned by yourself.

Posted by Marc
New York
10 posts

I really don't think a tour is needed. Florence is not a very large city. It's easy to get around. 4-5 of the must see sights are easily planned by yourself.

Posted by Becky
Seattle, WA, USA
99 posts

It's a hard gauge because it's a matter of what you're trying to get out of the experience. We just came back from Italy and we only did two tours that got us into areas that you can only access by a tour. I find tours a bit frustrating and limiting myself, but if you're really interested in getting the "behind the scenes" information, then I would do them. That just wasn't our thing. One of the tours we took was the night time tour of the Colosseum. I thought was really cool seeing it at night (we went in during the day too with the combo ticket), and you also get to go to the Underground area and upper level that the public can't get into.