Wednesday, February 2nd at 6 pm Israel time (11 am EST; 8 am PST)LEONARDO DA VINCI, TIRELESS GENIUS WITH A CHILD’S EYE, Simona Conti


Born in the middle of nowhere as an illegitimate child and deprived of any formal education, Leonardo da Vinci represents the challenge of ultimate curiosity in the body of a handsome and gentle man. He had charming oratory, free from any form of prejudice and preconceived ideas with a rare gem of brilliant intuition supported by empiric research. Leonardo da Vinci was a true Renaissance spirit, whose contribution to the improvement of science has crossed the time to strike us until today.


Simona Conti was born in Florence, Italy, in 1960 and received a degree in Foreign Languages (English and German) from the Superior School for Interpreters and Translators in 1982. She has been active in tourism since 1983. Simona’s first employment was as a tour director for an American travel agency, escorting groups throughout Italy. She became an official guide in 1996, after having received a Masters. Up to the present time, Simona has guided thousands of visitors around her city, Florence which has included famous people like Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui, film directors like Steven Spielberg, writers like Ken Follett, movie stars like Michael J. Fox and Sarah Jessica Parker, musicians like Dire Straits’ founder Mark Knopfler. and actors like Jane Fonda. Currently Simona lives in the country with her husband, three dogs and five cats, on a farm property which they have painstakingly restored, surrounded by 35 olive trees. Her part-time job is taking care of the vegetable garden and helping her husband with pruning and harvesting . In the Fall they pick their olives and have our own extra virgin olive oil made. They have a daughter, Priscilla who became a medical doctor in Barcelona, Spain and lives currently in Florence, Italy, where she’s training as Psychiatrist. Simona enjoys her chosen profession because it allows her to meet many different people and share with them the love for her beautiful city, Florence! 


Tuesday, February 8th at 6 pm Israel time (11 am EST; 8 am PST)SHAKESPEARE’S LONDON: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – BORN IN STRATFORD AND MADE IN LONDON, Ian Fagelson


430 years ago, the young William Shakespeare left his wife and children in Stratford to start a new life in London. Rising from obscurity to superstar, he cut a swath through London society, attracting admirers, lawsuits and the odd begging letter. As a young actor, he lived in rented accommodation and got into trouble for not paying his taxes. By the end of his life, he owned property in fashionable Blackfriars. Starting near St Paul’s Cathedral, we will visit the places he lived and worked, taking in some of the most beautiful sites in London. Along the way we will encounter the unfortunate Jewish doctor who inspired Shakespeare to create Shylock, find the site of London's first theatre, visit Stationers' Hall where the earliest printed copies of Shakespeare's works were registered and view the site where kidnapped boys were forced to perform by unscrupulous playhouse managers.


Ian Fagelson studied law at the universities of Southampton and Oxford, going on to work as a lawyer in the City of London. After serving more than 35 years as a lawyer (including a stint as the senior UK partner of a major US law firm) he got time off for good behaviour and decided to do something interesting instead.  He took a master’s degree in history at University College London and qualified as a tour guide in the Cities of London and Westminster.  His tours are designed to provide a mix of fun and facts (with some of the facts being funny and some of fun being factual).  Ian donates all his guiding income to charities and was recently recognized for this by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.  Ian is rated as one of the top ten London tour guides on Tripadvisor.