Guide Spotlight: Giada – Florence

This blog series features Walks’ guides from around the globe. It also highlights some of the incredible people who walk with us from Rome and New York. We hope that this blog series, along with our tours from home, will bring you some travel inspiration. This is a chance to hear from Walks guests from around the globe!

Giada Papini is our Florence guide and today she shares her top tips. She also mentions her favorite neighborhood in Florence. Giada will take care of it.


Hi! I’m Giada, tour guide in Florence. This beautiful city is where I was born and raised. I have always been fascinated by history and art. When I was young, my mom would take me to museums. I can still recall every moment. I received my degree from the University of Florence in Foreign Languages, with a particular focus on Spanish and English, and shortly thereafter, I was licensed as a tour guide.

Where is Florence’s most favorite neighborhood?

Walking around the city centre, especially the district of Otrarno is a great way to get out and about. You can find florentines working and living in this area, which is less crowded than the bustling areas. The garden of the Iris is a must-see, which was opened in May. Also, the PiazzaleMichelangelo, where you can see the whole city, is a must-see.


Would you recommend a hidden jewel in Florence to your guests?

The tower of Palazzo Vecchio, the city hall. Palazzo Vecchio, a fantastic museum, is the ideal place to enjoy the famous bird’s-eye view of the city.

Do You have a favorite piece or art?

Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th-century great paintress, was Artemisia Gentileschi. She was the first woman to join the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, in an era where women were not allowed to pursue artistic training or work professionally as artists. You can see the fierceness and strength of Judith as she beheads the enemy in “Judith slaying Holofernes”.


We would love to hear about your favorite story.

Stendhal, a famous writer, felt sick during his 1817 visit to Florence. This sickness led to the syndrome he called:

“I felt a kind of ecstasy from the thought of being in Florence, near the tombs of the great men I had seen. I was absorbed in contemplation and admiration of exquisite beauty… All that spoke to me vividly was the celestial sensations.


Where is your favorite place to visit outside of your hometown?

Japan is a country I love. I read comic books as a child and have also studied Japanese at university. I was a cherry blossom traveler and visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. I will never forget those feelings and the beauty of Japan.

Where would your next dream vacation be?

I would love to return to the US once more. Just before the lockdown I had been spending a week in NYC, but due to the Covid-19 outbreak I had to cancel my flight and fly home. Maine would be a great place to visit next time.

Which city or country in the world do think is most underrated?

People should definitely visit Sicily, one the main Italian islands. Clients from abroad often skip the south of Italy, but Sicily is a must-see! It is also one of the best places to eat , if you love eating.

Where and what city did you eat the best food?

First, I would say at home in Florence. I love the T-bone steak, but I also love the Swedish Kanelbulle (the famous cinnamon roll). It was huge! I had it in Gothenburg years ago.