Travel is one of the world’s greatest pleasures – but no matter how much of an experienced globetrotter you are, there’ll always be a few logistical challenges that pop up along the way.

If you’ve been to Italy before, I’m sure you’ll feel exactly the same way I do – you’ll never need an excuse to go! The breathtaking architecture, stunning landscapes and mouthwatering cuisine will win you over in a heartbeat. This country has quite rightly earned its place on many people’s bucket lists, and once you’ve made that first trip over it’s just a matter of time until you find yourself wanting to head back for more.

With that in mind, you’re in for an absolute treat if you’re planning a trip to Italy for the first time this year! You might find yourself with a few worries – maybe you don’t speak the lingo, or you’re dreading trying to navigate the confusing maze of streets that makes up Venice’s historic heart. Luckily there’s an app I’ve stumbled upon recently that is there to help you with just that: Prontopia (download app). Travel with complete peace of mind during your next Italian adventure and let the locals lend a hand if you’re in need of some help!

Photo: Prontopia

What is Prontopia?

Prontopia is a nifty app for people travelling to Italy which helps with any logistical challenges you might encounter during your trip, whether it’s carrying luggage or escorting you to your hotel. Going to any city for the first time can be a stressful experience even in the most laid-back of places, but a bit of local know-how can do absolute wonders. Prontopia gives you just that, by putting you in touch with English-speaking locals who’ll be there to show you where you need to go, what you need to know, and even provide some useful recommendations along the way. Even something as simple as having someone to meet you at the station can go a long way. Think of it as having your own personal ambassador to the city!

Who are the locals who help you?

As things stand at the moment, there are over 100 people who are ready to help and welcome travellers to Venice, Florence and Rome. All of them are locals, meaning they’ll know the cities inside and out. That also means that you’re getting expert advice on the best routes to get you to your destination, which transportation to take, or even recommendations for awesome cafés, bars or restaurants you might otherwise miss. This is particularly useful in places such as Venice for example, where there are dozens of forms of transportation ran by different companies and it can be quite difficult getting your head around everything when you visit for the first time.

The locals themselves are from all sorts of different backgrounds and professions. Prontopia run several partnerships with universities and organisations in Venice where applicants can sign up, and every candidate undergoes a thorough vetting process and background check to ensure they’re trustworthy and knowledgeable enough to qualify. Unfortunately the locals won’t be able to give you a private guided tour (you actually need to have a license for that in Italy!), but if you are interested in heading on a tour, they’ll be sure to have loads of top recommendations for official tour guides operating in the city!

How does it work?

There are a few ways you can arrange for a local to come and help out. Once you’ve set your location on the app, you’ll be able to see helpers available in the area and who accepted your request so you know who to expect. In a few simple steps your meeting will be booked and they’ll promptly be on their way to meet you! It’s also possible to arrange for help in advance as well, useful if you want someone to come and meet you at the station or airport once you’ve arrived or if you have to be somewhere by a certain time. Again you can either do this via the app with the schedule button or you can do so over at the Prontopia website, where you can put in your request up to 24 hours in advance. There’s a flat rate of €0.33 per minute with a minimum rate of €7, plus there are also options for nighttime and airport meetings for an additional €10.

Photo: Prontopia

Connect with the locals!

I remember trying to get to my hotel the first time in Venice. Chucking it down with rain, trying to lug the suitcases everywhere and hardly any signal on my phone – bit of a nightmare if I’m honest! Once I got using Prontopia and chatting with the locals, it more than made up for it and by the end I really felt like I was settling into the Venetian ways of life.

If you have your own trip to Italy coming up soon then this a brilliant way to ease yourself into Venice, Rome or Florence, see the city through the eyes of a local and get a helping hand along the way. Be sure to have a quick look at Prontopia’s website – or download the app below!

Download the app here

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