Helpful information


For groups of up to 7-8 persons we can provide English-speaking drivers who will give you general notions about the places you visit (drivers are not tourist guides). We can provide drivers who are also tourist guides in the Cinque Terre area and in Rome, but only if requested in advance. For groups of over 8 persons we strongly recommend the presence of tourist assistants. With your consent, we shall organise booking the tourist assistant.

Below is an explanation of the 3 different professional figures to whom we refer:
  • English-speaking driver (Driver Guide)
    A driver who speaks English and will explain generic notions about the area you are travelling in and will tell you the points of historical-artistic interest worth seeing. The driver cannot leave the vehicle to accompany customers for walks in old town centres and is not even authorised to give explanations about monuments or churches inside them. He can only give you this information while you are on-board the vehicle.
    BY ITALIAN LAW, ONLY AUTHORISED TOURIST GUIDES OF FLORENCE, SIENA, PISA, LUCCA, ETC. CAN GIVE HISTORICAL AND ARTISTIC EXPLANATIONS ABOUT THE CITIES ON THE SPOT, ESPECIALLY IN MUSEUMS AND CHURCHES.
    In many places the driver can enter the old town centre, drop off the passengers and go and park outside the centre, outside the walls, as in Siena. In cities like Florence, the driver can park almost anywhere, except in absolutely prohibited cases, but must stay with the vehicle for the whole time he is waiting for the customers. In towns like San Gimignano, Lucca, Pienza… where car parks are not enough, very often the driver can only leave the passengers at the entrance to the town and come back for them at the pre-established time.
  • Tourist guide
    The tourist guide is a person who, by profession, accompanies single persons or groups of persons with the purpose of showing them the historical, artistic, monumental and landscape attractions and the productive resources of the area (law 42/2000).
  • Tourist assistant
    It is advisable to book an assistant, especially for groups of over 9 persons. In this case the participants are obliged to travel in a minibus, a vehicle with which it is not possible to reach old town centres and can only reach dropping-off and pick-up points. From there, the passengers have to continue on foot. The assistant welcomes the group as they get off board or c/o their accommodation and remains with them for the number of hours agreed upon. The assistant takes care of carrying out the travel programmes and offers the necessary assistance throughout the duration of it, providing significant tourist information on the areas crossed, outside the sphere of competence of tourist guides (they cannot therefore, give explanations in monuments or churches nor in old town centres).
BUS NCC AND ZTL REGULATION
All the cars and minivans have NCC permits (Hire with Driver) which allow them to circulate anywhere in every old town centre of Italy (street sizes and pedestrian zones permitting). Also the minibuses and buses are licensed for hire with driver but they do not enjoy the same rights as cars and minivans; in fact they are not authorised to circulate and tour in old town centres, but only to reach particular passenger pick-up or drop-off points and they are obliged to leave the centre as soon as possible to wait for the end of the tour. In some cities there are various pick-up and drop-off points, so the passengers can be dropped off in one part of town and picked up on the opposite side, so there is no need to walk around pointlessly to get back to the start of the tour. Minibuses and buses often have to follow the regulations of the checkpoints in the more important Italian cities: Rome, Florence, Venice, Mantua, Montecatini, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano. This is an access tax to the major Italian towns of historical and artistic interest. It refers to every bus with 9 passengers + driver or more. It varies depending on the municipal regulation of each town and is part of a control system for transit/parking and stops of the minibuses or buses that enter the above-mentioned towns. In many of these towns the checkpoint can be booked and paid on line. The control takes place through the rule that each bus, despite payment of the checkpoint, cannot reach the old town centre but can reach pick-up and drop-off points from where the passengers begin their tour of the town on foot. Very often the bus driver cannot park in the point in which the group is dropped off and picked up but has to get out of the centre and park in special areas. The payment of the checkpoints and adherence to the rules that make it possible to pass only in precise streets is a prerogative of the vehicle company, through the performance of these duties by the driver (indirectly responsible). All this is strictly controlled by the competent authorities such as the municipal police.

PERMITTED DRIVING HOURS FOR THE DRIVERS OF MINIBUSES AND BUSES
HARMONISATION OF THE PROVISION CONCERNING DRIVING AND REST TIMES concerning bus drivers carrying more than 8 passengers driver included:
  • Daily use: maximum 13 hours with only one driver, 21 hours maximum with 2 drivers;
  • Allowed daily driving: maximum 9 hours - with 45 minutes rest every 4 hours and 30 minutes per driver;
  • Daily rest: 11 consecutive hours in 24 hours with a reduction to 9 consecutive hours 3 days a week to be recuperated before the following weekend for each driver;
  • Weekly rest: 45 hours every 6 days of service with the possibility of reducing the rest to at least 24 uninterrupted hours with compulsory recuperation of the reduced rest connected with the daily rest before the end of the following third week. The failure to adhere to this rule causes 2 points off the driver’s licence, in addition to stopping the bus where it is. Due to the above, for multi-day journeys, it is wise to pay particular attention to the start and end of service times.

By law all the buses and minibuses have an engine speed limiting device that prevents exceeding 90/100 kph, also on motorways, therefore account must be taken of this to calculate the times for covering a certain stretch of road.

CANCELLATION POLICY
Cancellations must be requested in writing and sent to info@privatetuscanytours.com
The date of cancellation is calculated on the basis of the date and Italian time. If you cancel your booking, we apply the following penalties:
  • Over 7 days: no penalty
  • From 7 to 3 days: 50%
  • Less than 2 days and no show: 100%
On this page we should like to give you information to help you to better organise your time. We advise you to rely on a local tourist guide who will introduce you to Tuscany’s culture. You can do this directly or we will be happy to organise everything, recruiting the professional figure you consider most suitable for your requirements. Our trustworthy guides are:
  • Francesca Meoni , authorised guide for Florence city and the area francescameoni@hotmail.com
  • Luca Misuri , authorised guide for Florence city and area + Tour assistant luca_misuri@vodafone.it

Testimonials

  • Dra. Maristela Azevedo

    Hello, Silvia, how are you?
    I’d like to thank you for the great time you gave us!!!We loved everything!
    I told my husband that, the next time, we will rent an  apartment in San Gimignano…and you will take us to the wineries…He loved it!
    Thank you very much for everything. It was everything wonderful!!!... Read more
  • Jaime Otero y Jose Carlos Gonzalez Bonilla

    Silvia: mille grazie per un giorno magnifico! Ha stato benissimo. We really enjoyed your company and the enthusiasm you brought to the tour. When we get back to Puerto Rico, I will look for you on Facebook.
    Saludos,
    Jaime Otero y Jose Carlos Gonzalez Bonilla Read more
  • Shane Quintard

    Ciao Silvia!

    Grazie ancora per il grande tour di Siena e San Gimignano - io e mia moglie e amici aveva un grande momento e che era esattamente quello che speravamo! La cantina è stata una scelta eccellente, come pure! Abbiamo lasciato ieri (1 febbraio) e ha fatto arrivare a casa in modo sicuro, nonostante ... Read more
  • Carole Gaddis

    Hi Silvia,  It's so good to hear from you.  We're fine.  We had six days at home after Tuscany and then flew to South Korea for two weeks!  We've just returned, exhausted!
    We had such a great time with you, Silvia.  The tip could never be enough to show our appreciation for your kindness and help.  ... Read more
  • The British Institute of Florence

    Gentile Silvia,  La volevo ringraziare per la sua disponibilità riguardo la gita di sabato.  Le signore le hanno fatto tutte molti complimenti per la sua guida!
    Grazie e a presto,
    Cordiali saluti,
    Liz Read more
  • Mrs Elizabeth ( wedding Planner ) Original Tuscan Wedding

    Ciao Silvia,
    Ecco i complimenti dalle Sposi del 16 Ottobre!!
    Our driver Johnny was so awesome!  He drove us all over the Chianti region.  He took us to a few wineries and we had a private tour of one of the wineries including a wine tasting and oil tasting.  He even took us into a store with a cellar ... Read more
  • Mrs Sharon Bellsouth

    Yes of course I will for Sure.      You were great, Fantastic.    I told the Agency !!    Sharon Yukawa Leeds Read more
  • Daniel & Joelle Roberts

    Hello Silvia,  Joelle and I wanted to thank you for a great day last Friday.  We had such a relaxing and fun day.  Thank you for being
    our guide.  Our trip to Siena was very enjoyable. We took the 'rapida' bus from Firenze, and the 'diretta' for the return journey.
    It was good to see the countryside.  ... Read more
  • Mr Greg Cavallo

    Hope all is well with you.  The whole group misses you and talks fondly of you all the time.
    I just completed a survey about our experiences on our trip for Tuscany Now.  I mentioned your name and company website and what a great job you did for us.  I hope it gets you some new business from them. Read more