Going out on a limb with this fearless recommendation, let me introduce you to …..


First, I have to admit that I usually shy away from giving outright recommendations, mainly because a lot of things are pretty subjective. What’s fabulous for one might be darn awful for another. In all areas of travel – from hotels to restaurants to sights to guides.

Sometimes people just have bad days. Or the quality of service can deteriorate over time. The weather, too, has a lot to do with how you experience a city. Other times it’s as simple as a matter of difference in taste.

But there are things that just can’t be beat.

Now we’ve had our fair share of guides, not just in Italy. There’s nothing like a local guide to give you an overview of a city before you do your own exploring, or guides who are experts in your specific areas of interest.

But one hot, crowded summer day in Italy (so hot, in fact, that by the time we got to Rome, we could hear ambulances working overtime to bring people to hospital), traveling with our family of 16 (most of them kids) to learn about Florence and Renaissance art……we met Freya Middleton.

I had read great reviews about Freya, just as I have with all the guides we’ve ever hired. Have dealt easily with most of them, and most are generally good at what they do. It’s quite rare, specially in this age of the internet and social media, that you come across someone who’s really, really bad.

Then you’ve got the likes of Freya, who’s originally from Australia, married to an Italian from La Verna. A detail that, I must admit, I was a little concerned about at first. The fact that she wasn’t a homegrown “local”.

But boy, did Freya make up for it – with her infectious passion for history and art, her expertise on the subject matter, and her spot-on delivery! And did I mention she was due to give birth a mere couple of weeks after that?

She had us all engaged and hanging on to her every word. Tired grandparents, parents, and children alike. All 16 of us! On a hot, humid, crowded summer day! I really just had to mention all that again because it could easily have gone the other way. And that would not have been good, believe me.

Freya has since been joined by other guides on her team, local and international, all handpicked by her, who share her passion and style. I know because I have recommended her to friends (perhaps more discriminate than I) and they, too, have raved about her guides.

For classic or customised private tours in Florence or the Tuscan countryside, about food and wine, history or Renaissance art, for grownups, families or children, please check out Freya’s Florence.

And may I end by saying, I was quite hesitant to write this post at first because I really just wanted to keep Freya and her guides all to myself and for my family and friends.

But I figured, something this good deserves to be shared.

Photo Credit: All photos from Freya’s Florence