Guiding tours in Milan
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What is a tour guide?
Tour guiding is a licensed profession in Italy. The relevant regional legislation applicable in Milan regulates the following:
Tour Guides are professionals who guide individuals or groups through museums, monuments, art galleries and archeological sites. They illustrate technical, artistic, historical, productive or culinary attractions of the venues. For example, tour guides can provide you with information about a listed building: who is the architect, when it was built and completed, what style or art movement it relates to.
Tour managers are professionals whose job is to take care of the practical aspects of an organised trip and ensure that it runs smoothly (e.g. taking care of documents and formalities and assisting members of the tour). They can also provide relevant touristic information on the areas the travellers come across over their trip.
Environmental guides are professionals who provided guided tours of natural attractions such as parks, natural reserves or natural museums. They know and explain the scientific and ecological aspects of the territory, plants, animals and their habits and behavior. They explain the connection between the environment and local history and they also work with schools to educate students to sustainability. They are normally not allowed to guide tours that require use of special tools e.g. ski or climbing equipment.
When am I likely to be considered a tour guide?
Here are some examples of when you are likely to be considered to be acting as a tour guide:
- I take someone to a historic quarter explaining the art movement it was inspired by, and then we follow up with a guided visit to a museum or art gallery.
- I take someone on a guided foraging hike through through a protected natural reserve (for example, the Stelvio National Park), during which I provide detailed ecological explanations about the plants and a scientific description of animals species we encounter and their habits.
Here are some examples of when you are not likely to be considered to be acting as a tour guide:
- I walk a guest through the neighbourhood where I was born and raised, we meet my local friends and then we have a meal together in my favourite local restaurant. I focus on showing people what it’s like to live in my area and introducing them to great locals. (Note: The position is less clear if you also intend to explain the history of local tourist attractions or buildings of architectural or historical merit.)
- I take someone to yoga and fitness classes, and then we run together by the river or around an interesting part of the city centre. (Note: the position is less clear if you also provide detailed explanations about the historical or artistic buildings you come across during your run.)
- I love music and football, so from time to time, I take guests to a local music gig, then to the stadium to watch the game and meet some players I know.
What if I am considered to be a tour guide: do I need to get a license?
Yes. If the activities you want to offer are those reserved to tour guides or managers, you will need a specific license. You will also need to comply with the general requirements that apply to businesses.
How do I get a license? What are the requirements?
This depends on whether you want to operate as a tour guide or as a tour manager, or whether you are a qualified guide in another EU Country. In Lombardy and Milan, the following rules apply:
In order to operate as a tour guide or manager, you need to meet the following requirements:
- A decision is currently awaited from the Regional Assembly about the educational criteria and requirements for tour guides (as provided by the 2015 Lombardy Tourism Law)
- You need to pass a vocational exam to become a tour guide. In Lombardy, exams are managed by the District Administration (“Provincia”) and, specifically in Milan, by the Metropolitan City (“Città Metropolitana”), which is the public authority that takes care of organizing the exams and publishing the relevant tenders and announcements. You can refer to the Office of Economics and Social Development at the Metropolitan City to obtain further information.
2. Sharing your personal details with the Municipality of Milan
- Provided you meet the educational criteria and pass the vocational exam, it will be sufficient for you to communicate your personal and contact details via fax to the dedicated desk of the Metropolitan City in order to start your activity as Tour Guide.
3. EU citizens
- EU Citizens who carry out tour guiding activities in Italy on a temporary basis can be authorized to do so to the extent they are qualified in their home Country. If you are an EU Citizen and you hold a license in your home Country, you will have to file a specific notice before the Competent Ministry. There is a dedicated FAQ about this on the Italian business portal.
How long does it take to get a license?
It can take 8 months to a year to obtain the relevant qualifications required to be a tour guide. This currently can cost around 2000 €.
Once you have passed the relevant exam, you can start your as soon as you submit a SCIA to your local SUAP office. At the time of writing, this step costs 30 €.
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