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Optional sightseeing during tour question

We’re on an upcoming BOE21 day tour and have a question regarding booking additional sightseeing. Under the “Pre-Tour Planning – Sightseeing on Your Own” section it mentions suggestions for sightseeing in Florence that we will not do as a group. Then in the instructions it states, for instance, for Giotto’s Bell Tower … “We recommend booking tickets for Day 11 from opening until 1:00 p.m. or after 6:00 p.m.”

Does that mean we would need to be back to meet our group at 1:00 p.m.? And/or does that mean we are done as a group at 6:00 p.m.? So I could book it for exactly 6:00 p.m.? Or should we allow an hour (or more?) buffer from these times to allow for traveling to/from the attraction?

Thanks for any clarification and advice!

Posted by
1450 posts

That means you have the afternoon free starting at 1:00 pm and that tickets are available for the tower until 6:00 pm. RS does not have group optional activities. Additional sightseeing are things you can do on your own during the free time during the tour.

Posted by
9870 posts

Day 11: Wonders of Renaissance Florence

This morning is on your own. You can sleep in, get an early start and scramble to the top of Brunelleschi's dome, or browse through Florence's colorful food and craft markets. After lunch, we'll tour the wealth of Botticellis, Leonardos, and Raphaels in the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — the Uffizi Gallery. This evening is free to make your own discoveries.

I read that to mean that the group tour activity will fill the afternoon ( ~1-6PM)

Posted by
14763 posts

I read the same as Joe; that your free time is in the morning of Day 11, and the afternoon is a group activity so what you've been advised for "Pre-tour planning" is different than what we're seeing for the Day 11 itinerary linked below:

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/europe/europe-21-days-2022

The evening of that day is also designated as being free time on your own
If you want clarification from RS office, contact them:
https://www.ricksteves.com/about-us/contact-us

Posted by
5680 posts

I agree with Joe and Kathy, but you should probably check with the office. Guides do have quite a bit of leeway in the schedule, and sudden unexpected changes can crop up, as well