top of page


Sandra Porter

The beauty of today’s program was seeing Florence with only a few people as we walked from downtown Florence to the Piazza della Signoria.  The sun shone golden on the buildings. Explaining her city in situ is what Elaine Ruffolo loves doing. At the end of the program Elaine stood at the corner of the Uffizi and I had a wonderful view I could not have experienced in person. Elaine’s is engaging and delivers so much art, architecture, civic, and historical information in the context of the present. The excellent slides of interiors and paintings of historic daily life enhanced my experience. The explanation of Michelangelo’s artistic decisions based on where the David was commissioned to be installed was so interesting.  

Charles - Atlanta High Museum

We are back in Atlanta but still thinking of our wonderful morning with you in Florence. 


It was truly a highlight of the trip, and we are so appreciative of the time you spent with us. 

Jean - Stanford Alumni

I thought your overview of the history of economics and art of Tuscany was the best presentation I have ever heard and many group-mates said the same. 


(Let me clarify, not the best presentation on art and history. The best instructional presentation of ANY kind).

Tom - LA Times

We have been singing you praises for your terrific orientation yesterday. It was so generous of you, especially to end it on David.

Wow. Thanks again for all your help. Your love for Florence has become our love for this beautiful city. The Bargello was so moving. What talent filled this city 500 years ago!

THANK YOU! I have physically left my home 4 times since March 8. You have no idea how much I look forward to your offerings on Sundays and a Tuesdays. Really, I don’t think I could have survived this without you! Thank you for all of your efforts!

Susie Pitlick

It was such a privilege to be with a tour guide of Elaine's academic caliber and vibrant personality. She engaged everyone in our group including our two daughters. I couldn't think of a better way to teach them about the history and art history of Florence. We will always remember her tours as a great highlight of our trip to Italy. 


I have watched two of your programs thus far, and have so enjoyed them. They are wonderful, beautiful and informative-- and a welcome respite from these gloomy times. You are engaging, lovely, interesting and funny, a real joy to watch. You made a great decision to move to Italy, spending your time immersed in beauty-- and letting us share a piece of it with you. 


I have been on many art tours world wide and consider Elaine to be in the top 1%. She educated us in a way that was accessible, understandable and informative. She has an easy going manner that makes her approachable and clearly knowledgeable about art history.


I want to add my voice to all the others, you are truly a fabulous guide. As an artist I look at art a bit differently than most museum-goers, looking at the way the compositions are composed, how the materials are used, etc. The manner in which you organized yesterday’s tour in the Uffizi - of the evolution of picture-making, of ideas and influences- was so insightful. I have been there many times but walked out of the place yesterday with a new understanding of the connection of these masters and the context within which they each painted. The pearl I walked away with from the Accademia was how Michelangelo worked on the prisoners all at the same time, a wonderful insight into his mind-set.


Elaine, this was such a fabulous trip to Venice. Thank you for everything. You have made my life in Florence so rich!


Thank you again Elaine! It was an unforgettable trip [to Venice]! I loved every minute of it. It would have never been possible without you. 


Elaine is a very talented art historian. She undertakes her tours with great professionalism and enthusiasm.


My highest praise and compliments go to Elaine Ruffolo. Her art knowledge and expertise added substantially to my enrichment and enjoyment. Excellent, excellent in every regard.


We particularly valued her enthusiasm and dedication to making the tour as meaningful and memorable as possible. We also valued her depth of knowledge and love of Florence.

Previous Smithsonians Journeys Traveler

Thank you very much for casting your beautiful pearls before us last Thursday in Florence. You gave us a masterful, fascinating, lyrical tour, made even more special by your kind attention to your audience (we were eager to learn but had little art or architecture background). It was truly a high point of almost two weeks in Italy. Grazie, grazie!


Please reload

bottom of page