About Us


"Seeing the city through the eyes of the locals”

How many are the ways to look at a place? Endless!

It’s a matter of perspectives, and travelling reminds us how important such perspectives are. To discover a place, be it a city, a river, or a mountain, our eyes might not be enough, because we need to listen. But what listen to? The tales of the locals are the essence of  such places and listening was the beginning of our journey. Locals have given us the key to access their towns, feeling and seeing them with different eyes. Free Walking Tour was born from this vision: an innovative way to relate with the cities, thanks to the unique stories, expressions, faces and contraddictions of those who live in them.

And this journey has turned out to be an incredible experience itself.


How It all Begun

We don’t know much about the origins of the Free Walking Tour. Rumors say it first appeared somewhere in Germany, the year was 2004. Put together a square, a boy with a sign reading “Free Walking Tour” and a bunch of young tourists looking for something different and there’s your story. Today Free Walking Tour is spread around 75 countries and more than 206 cities, including Italy (And problably as you are reading this… a new Free Walking Tour is seeing the light somewhere in the world).

What we know pretty well is our story. It all began during the summer of 2014... Picture Central Vietnam, the dusty roads, an old motorbike to cover thousands of miles, few answers and lots of questions. We remember one in particular: is there anything at the end of the road? And Free Walking Tour was the answer!

Here we are, the three founders: Giovanni, Alessandro ed Emmanuele (the picture was shot exactly in 2014 and we haven’t changed a lot since then. If you met us back then, you would sure recognize those faces now). Now you might be wondering: why do they carry that “Same Same But Different” sign? (thereafter, it was going to become the name of our first NGO) Remember the aforementioned matter of perspectives? See, it all depends on the point of view. What we might see as static just get closer and you will see it moving: because we are the ones to set the direction. It’s not what you look at but how you do it.

Free Walking Tour is our personal view and we indeed are the stories we tell!

. 2014

The telephone rings...

<<We need to talk>>

Few hours later we’re sitting around the table in Alessandro’s veranda, where the Same Same Travels NGO was born. At the time, we had so many ideas written down, among which was Free Walking Tour.

. 2015

The first Free Walking Tour was presented in Modena. We didn’t know how the hell the project was going to work, so in the beginning we performed as tour guides – yes, we did. We still remember the first tour ever, with a school class from the Marche region. You never forget your first love. It was fun but we also understood our limts: we needed to find a real tour guide to help us to keep the tours consistent. We would have taken over the management, and he or she would have performed the tours.  

. 2016

The time we met Loredana. Together that year we launched the first Free Walking Tour Modena’s show. Over summer, we started one of our first social projects: Free Walking Tour – Different Outlooks, a tour that was totally planned and performed by refugees.

At the eve of that year, the first prototype of our network's website www.freewalkingtouritalia.com launched. If you Boom, make it big!

. 2017

Giuseppe, from Free Walking Tour Bari guide since 2014, won’t easily forget that call:


<<Am I speaking with Free Walking Tour Bari?!>>

<<Yes please>>

<<I’m Giovanni, calling from Modena. We are thinking about creating a Free Walking Tour Italian network, are you in?!>>

Few months after, we talked again about the call. Giuseppe funnily remembers: "I hang up and suddenly said: Who the hell are those people? Are they mental? Do they really want to found a Free Walking Tour network in Italy?!". He was in. And many others after him, from every corner of Italy accepted the challenge. It was the beginning of a dream: Free Walking Tour Italia.

In October we held the first national meeting in Modena.

. 2018

We founded the italian start-up Same Same, owner of the Free Walking Tour Italia’s brand. The project grew bigger, and opened new partnership and projects toward a more experiencial tourism. Enlarging the horizons helps small ideas to get bigger.

The website turns into a marketplace.

. 2019    

We hired the first full-employed person as the project takes on: Reggio Emilia, Bergamo, Verona. The new guides are persuaded by the format. The initial uncertainty leaves room for curiosity. Free Walking Tour Italia is ambassador to urban upgrading projects with large benefits for the local communities: we work with institutions and local realities to breath life into history and personal memories. After so much long and hard work, we are awarded as a company for tourist innovation in our hometown.

. 2020

Our start-up is selected among others for the call “Collisione”, an accelerating program for innovative companies. It's the 21st February: the first Covid19 ourbreak is registered in Italy. The following months will be marked by the new pandemic. Italy, followed by the rest of the world, will close down: travel restrictions, social distancing, closure of all businesses. The toursim sector will be one of the most hit by the crisis. Along with other tour businesses, we redirect our strategy toward Online Tour Experiences: people are invited in virtual rooms where the city experience is redisgned through role plays, small groups games, riddles and dilemmas. It lasts few months. We desperate want to go back to the streets we belong to. When all seems lost, we have to get back working and start from the beginning. 

. 2021

Like in a dystopian society, people are forbidden to meet and obliged to wear masks. Gatherings are not allowed. Italy is divided by colors: yellow, orange, red, according to the infenction rate. Nevertheless, Free Walking Tour keeps growing, lesser than before but better than expected. No organize travels means self-organization, and when it comes to it, people like easy and smart stuff. They choose Free Walking Tour. The brand strengthens and the crisis shows all the opportunity of such fluid business. We create new partnerships with local TO as WeRoad and Meeters. Yet, the uncertainty over the future makes planning almost impossible.  

Looking back, long is the road we have paved. We have overcome endless obstacles: trusted in ourselves when few would have bet on us, always with a big smile and the will to be the change we believe in. Today we are stronger than ever, aware of the potential and challenges coming at us. Yet the goal remains the same: to make the culture more accessible to all. We wish to redefine our tours through the knowledge and experience of those who really live the places. Finally, we want you to see the city through the eyes of a local.



Bottari Giovanni - CEO & Founder

Ferrari Alessandro - Founder & Marketing Strategist

Boschetti Emmanuele - Founder & Social Media Manager

Sacchetti Nicole - Graphic Designer

Martinelli Federica - Graphic Consultant

Media Review

Same Same Travels prod. "Free Walking Tour: cos'è"

I Viaggi dei Mesupi "I Free Walking Tour"

Volopiuhotel Blog "Tour gratuiti nelle città: Free Walking Tour"

LifeGate "Free walking tour, per visitare le città d’Italia guidati dai loro abitanti"

Modena Today "Free Walking Tour Modena. Il fenomeno turistico di successo in città"

I.TA.Cà "Free Walking Tour Italia: progettazione culturale comune e indipendente"

Legging It Travel "Modena - A Walking Tour With a Difference"

Guida di Bologna "Le passeggiate in libertà con Free Walking Tour"

La Repubblica "Riscoprire il territorio con il Free Walking Tour"

Student Ville "Free Walking Tour: cos'è e come funziona"

SìViaggia "Free Walking Tour: alla scoperta delle città camminando"

Il Nuovo Sud "Free Walking Tour: quando la visita diventa un'esperienza"

Modena Primo Piano "Turismo a Offerta Libera. Divisioni e Polemiche"

Radio Enjoy "Non sai che regalo fare? Regala un Free Walking Tour!"

Persian Walk "Free Walking Tour in Italy"

Blog, My Take It "Free Walking Tour Italia, la Local Experience""Palermo: città di cultura a 360°"

CCT-SeeCity "Free Walking Tour Italia: seeing the city through the eyes of a local"

Repubblica Bologna "Guide 'anarchiche' per il turista informale"

Gazzetta di Modena "Dal manubrio salvavita ai sito per i viaggi"

Blog, My Take It "Free Walking Tour a Bergamo"

Brody Bamford "Walking the centro storico: How historical walking tours influence 'sense of place' in Modena's Historic Centre"

Free Walking Tour - Sguardi Diversi

On My (rail)Way "Free Walking Tour: cosa sono e come funzionano"

Vita su Marte "Come scoprire le città con le guide locali e i free walking tour"

Repubblica Bologna "La Bologna di Dalla, Modena ai tempi della guerra: le guide turistiche reinventano i tour online"

Gazzetta di Modena "Con Basquiat a Modena debutta il turismo di itinerari virtuali con Free Walking Tour"

Gazzetta di Reggio Emilia "Un tour virtuale a Reggio Emilia: «Così viaggiamo stando a casa»"

BonCulture "Free Walking Tour Bari, gli itinerari urbani si spostano sul web con The Firts. Attraverso indovinelli, rebus ed enigmi"

TeleSveva "Castel del Monte diventa una visita “virtuale”: il progetto del Free Walking Tour"

TravelEmiliaRomagna "Il Turismo Industriale a Bologna"

Starter Story "How Three Friends Started A $10K/Month Free Walking Tours Business In Italy"

TravelEmiliaRomagna "Itinerari diffusi nei borghi delle Terre di Castelli"

Viaggio AnimaMente "Itinerari per tutte le tasche: vi presento i Free Walking Tour" 

Inspirock, Welcoming Bologna, Corriere di Bologna, L'Arno