These professionals know their cities inside and out, which makes exploring with them a must.
Venice: Eric Bagan
Educated (degrees from Harvard and Williams College) and an expat (he moved here from San Francisco a decade ago), Eric Bagan offers an unusual riff on much-trafficked La Serenissima. Having raised two children in Venice and immersed in local culture, Bagan doesn’t limit tours to historic rundowns of the churches and monuments that quilt the city. Rather, he is eager to show how his adopted home town is still a living, working metropolis: Taking tourists into the 800-year-old building that houses the municipal hospital as a way to start explaining Italy’s education and health systems, for example, or telling stories of how residents behave during the periodic flooding known as acqua alta or how trash is removed by canal. Rates start at $320 (four-hour tour for up to five people); 39-041/713-793; 39-348/269-9901; venice-art-tours.com.