Italy is full of beauties to discover and what better way than to rely on a professional guide who can do it with passion and skills?
We talked about it with Vera Okun, a professional guide tour who works at the Scuola Leonardo Turin.
Why is it important to contact a licensed tour guide?
We are a showcase on the city. Thanks to in-depth knowledge and the great love we feel for our territory, we help tourists to discover and appreciate the beauties of the place. It is erroneously thought that anyone can conduct a guided tour, but this is not the case. To practice our profession it takes years of study: you qualify yourself with a very demanding training course and you have to pass a rigorous exam and, afterward, continue to update yourself in order to tell not only the history and the monuments but also the traditions and all aspects of the intangible culture of our territory.
What is the aspect that makes you happiest about your job?
When someone exclaims "Now I understand why!". Because a historical event happened, because a monument was built, because one architectural style prevails over another … Teaching people to read places through history and art makes me happy.
What is special about being a tourist guide for international students of a language school?
The fact is that one must strive to simplify the language in which to address them. The groups are always international and the students have different levels of Italian. Excursions are not only a cultural activity, but also a moment of aggregation and socializing. We must therefore find a way to always involve everyone.
What is the place in Turin that you love the most?
I don't know how to choose, I like everything. Come and let's discover together how beautiful our city is!
What are the places that most excite the people who take part in your guided tours?
Surely those related to the Shroud. It doesn't matter if the visitors are believers or lay people, I always notice a huge interest in this issue from the public. And then there are the Savoy Residences, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which with their splendor and elegance always leave everyone speechless.
Since 1990, the International Day of the Tourist Guide has been celebrated on 21 February. This day is aimed at introducing the professional figure of the licensed tourist guide to the general public and enhancing their role as "ambassador" of the area in which they operate, as well as making tourists aware of being wary of those who conduct illegal guided tours.
The event, established by the World Federation Tourist Guide Associations and promoted in Italy by ANGT (National Tourist Guide Association) with the involvement of trade associations from all Italian regions.
The day is usually celebrated by organizing free guided tours, from 2020 also virtual, on the weekends preceding and following the day. The list of available guided tours can be found on the dedicated website www.giornatadellaguidaturistica.it
These days, Italian tourist guides will make their professionalism available to the public to show citizens and tourists precious but less known places, in many cases with the opening of sites not normally open to the public, thus contributing to the rediscovery and conservation of numerous monuments.
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