Unqualified guiding is not permitted by the Italian Law.
Therefore, when booking a local guide in any Italian city, it is your right to ask for proof that the guide holds the authorized license for that territory. Under present regulations in Italy, as in most European countries, there is no such thing as a “docent”, lecturer”, “art historian” or “cultural association” to deal with when hiring the services of a local guide, either directly or through travel agents. Before showing any personal title or degree, guides must show that they are Licensed Tourist Guides first.
Licensed Tourist Guides are the only professionals permitted to conduct tours in all sites and museums within a city.
To become a Licensed Tourist Guide in Italy – like in most EU countries – candidates must pass an examination given by the local public tourist authorities to assess and test their knowledge of the city in terms of its history and geography, art and architecture, museums and art galleries, churches, environs and cultural features. As part of the requirements, candidates must also prove their knowledge of each of the foreign languages they applied for with oral and written exams.
Licensed Tourist Guides provide a professional service to visitors: they act fairly in all dealings with all those who engage their services together with their colleagues, tourist services purveyors, local tourist boards and cultural institutions. They protect the reputation of tourism in their own area of operation by taking all steps to ensure that their clients treat the environment, wildlife, sites and monuments and the local customs with respect. Local Tourist Guides are ready to share with visitors reliable up-to-date information on all aspects of the local life that may be of any importance to them such us temporary exhibits, food drink tips, markets, public transport, major events, and local venues.