"If you want to know a city book a local with Prontopia"*

Venice   Rome   Florence

If you are visiting for the first time,  an independent traveler or returning often, Prontopia can simplify your travel 

 Use Prontopia to book a local to help eliminate some of the stress of travel

Arriving in a new city where you do not speak the language and signs may not always include a translation, can be exhilarating as well as a challenge.   Navigating transportation from the airport or the train station can add to travel-stress at the start of your trip.

Daily life in Italy always makes me smile

  • Now, thanks to Prontopiamuch of the worry can be eliminated by booking a local via a simple mobile app.  Find help on demand when arriving in Venice, Florence or Rome
  •  to become oriented to the city
  • reach your hotel
  • understand the public transportation systems  
  • meet a scheduled tour or 
  • find the best route to a must-see sight, Prontopiacan help.

Read more about Prontopia at http://www.facebook.com/prontopia

Prontopia is similar to the ‘uber’ concept but designed for walkers and those using public transportation, particularly in areas with pedestrian only zones.  

If you have a busy schedule and limited time to see as much as possible in each city, Prontopia can save you time and offer great tips of where to find the best restaurants, places not to miss as well as assisting guests with special interest that may not be covered in a tour book:  gardens, ‘secret’ museums or even vintage shopping.

Until I read about the benefits of booking a localwith Prontopia, I thought I could easily manage on my own and had no need for a guide.   After all I had lived in Italy short term and now return 2 or 3 times a year, I feel like a local in a few cities.    

Prontopia is far more than a meet and greetprogram.   The concept of locals interested in meeting travelers from other countries and sharing their knowledge and love of their city, would offer an opportunity  to ask questions and have an experience that I could not replicate on my own.   At the end of my meeting, I had made 2 new friends, found a tea shop and a great restaurant!

Venice is a city I get lost in every time I visit.    Finding a map of Venice with ‘street’ names, identifies the location of churches, points of interest, museums etc is not always easy. 

Even with the best map, navigating Venice’s more than 100 islands, 400 bridges and 170 canals 1 that often do not have signs, is a challenge.     A veteran of many trips to Venice, my paper map continues to help me with the never-ending turns and twists that are the charm of Venice.   Sometimes a route may literally end at a stone wall.   You back track and try a different turn and can be rewarded with a vignette of daily life in the city: a soccer game, laundry day, the daily sweeping and washing of the front step or an animated chat with a neighbor.    All this is what makes me love Italia!

Venice, Italy is an amazing city to experience and one of the ‘big three’ stops for most tourists.     From your first view of the Grand Canal on the steps of the Santa Lucia train station to the tranquil garden setting in the Castello sestieri (neighborhood),  Venice is an immersions of sites, sounds, smells and tastes that calls me back every trip Home to Italy.

Early visitors to St Mark’s square are only a fraction of the huge groups that will fill the square later in the day.

Testing the limits of my skill with an app, I booked a local in Venice to meet me at the train station and go with me to my hotel.         Meeting at the busy train station was a small challenge since there were hundreds of people milling around or waiting for a vaporetto.  Describing myself as short and wearing all black did not distinguish me from half of the large crowd.    We quickly located each other as two people  talking with each other only a few feet apart!   You immediately like Eloisa.  Her bright smile and energy are genuine.  And we did not have to rely on my limited Italian, since you can book a local who speaks English.   


Quickly we decided that walking to my hotel would be quicker and more comfortable than the boat.   Crossing fewer bridges and taking back passageways we arrived at the Fondamenta Zattere where the wide, level esplanade offers cafes facing over the water to the Guidecca.    This quiet area, away from the crowds that can make Venice seem like a theme park, is often filled with only locals going to the post office or the supermarket that are located here.   You may be tempted to just sit in one of the cafés and not see another museum or stand in line at another tourist spot for an hour.   

During our walk I peppered Eloisa with questions on where to find solo-friendly cafes, the boats to some remote islands in the lagoon and the shop selling fashions created by inmates at the local prison.         She quickly gave me suggestions and answers.    One of her suggestions was an interesting restaurant frequented by students, that would be near my hotel.  The restaurant was closed that day, so we continued to nearby Campo San Barnabapassing a Tea shop that I would visit later in the day.   In the Campo we found many outdoor cafes, other restaurants and the book store where an event was planned that evening.  
Stopping in one of the cafes, with a map of the entire lagoon spread between us, Eloisa helped me identify the islands I might reach by public boats.  Some of the more remote islands required private transportation and would have to be put off until the next visit. 
Eloisa identified neighborhoods that were not well known to tourists and suggested walking routes to visit the Jewish Ghetto and the area beyond the Public Gardens.   So much to see in only a few days.    However, the few hours with Eloise saved me from wasting time visiting the constantly busy tourist office to request the information she shared.   Without her help I am not sure I would have accomplished half of my goals for this trip.   During the transportation strike later during my visit I should have booked a local to find alternative transportation to the Lido. 
The time spent with Prontoipia was so enjoyable it is hard not to instantly consider the locals you meet as friends!   Far more than a guide service, I decided to book a Prontopia local when I stopped in Rome, later in the month!
If you want to know about a city you are told to ask a local!    Even better book a local with Prontopia.

I have to disclose that my app skills were greatly lacking to make my first appointment.   Thanks to Ilaria Nardone, Italy Marketing & Recruitment manager for Prontopia the app was linked to my credit card and I received a one on one tutorial on how to book a local. 

 Ilaria was available any time I ran into a problem (which was often) and assured my bookings were placed correctly.

I want to thank Shannon Kenny for inviting me to try the Prontopia app during my trip Home to Italy.  The opinions in the post are my own.

* a quote I am searching for the author 


CEO and founder Shannon Kenny, launched Prontopia in April of 2017 with the help of engineer Davis Brimer.   Shannon had divided her time between California and Italy throughout her professional career as a historian and social entrepreneur since 1997.  The business plan for Prontopia includes the mission:   Prontopia is a public Benefit Corporation committed to cultivating human rights awareness through global connectedness and human understanding.  We believe that together, we are better.  Through purposeful grassroots action, we help travelers, locals, and communities arrive to a better place without delay.
Next:  Prontopia local Bess helps me ride the green, metal tube  


Although I appreciate your comments, promotional links will not be posted.  For international visitors, please send comments translated to English and include your email address to receive a response to any questions.

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

8 thoughts on “"If you want to know a city book a local with Prontopia"*

  1. Asking questions are actually nice thing if you are not understanding something entirely, but this piece of writing gives pleasant understanding yet.


  2. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I may as well check things out.I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.


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