Get to know Monia Bonaldo

Get to know Monia Bonaldo

As part of our series of short interviews with leading tour guides

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Monia Bonaldo - tour guide

Why did you become a tour guide?

I love New York and meeting people of different cultures and countries to whom I want to show all that our great city has to offer

What do you like the most about being a tour guide?

I love to meet people from all over the world, I love NYC, I’m an excellent storyteller, I’m very friendly and social. This job fits perfectly with my personality.

What is the hardest part about being a tour guide?

People are different, people are demanding, people are curious, people MUST be happy taking the tour with you and you MUST make the people happy using a bit of “psychology” recognizing immediately what kind of people are you dealing with.

Pick a city you love, and name your top five things tourists must do in the city

I choose New York City

  1. The historic part of downtown Manhattan. it’s important to discover and understand how the city was born.
  2. Midtown Manhattan will offer you an important section of the big apple exploring the “skyscrapers jungle”.
  3. The west side of Manhattan is the heart of the pop music, artists, and writers who changed the soul of the city
  4. Central Park is a must to see – just to embrace the beautiful atmosphere of this amazing green space in heart of this metropolis.
  5. Harlem – is taking you back in time exploring a different traditions, architectures and religion.

In that city, name one dish they must taste and in which restaurant?:

Steak house Del Frisco’s Grille.

What do you take with you on every tour?

I have an iPad with a collection of pictures of old and new New York – microphone and flag.

Why should tourists join a guided tour or hire a private tour guide?

join or hire a private tour guide in a big city like NYC is the best way to understand and see with different eyes the essentials of this incredible city. I always explain to my tourist to keep their eyes open and see “out of the box”.

Could you tell me an interesting or funny story that happen to you with tourists?

I was in Williamsburg in the Hassidic Jews area with a group of 5 explaining history, tradition, and rules about this community and I was just finished to explain that we would not visit any site like church or bookshops “inside” and we would not able to talk to anyone because this community is very strict and don’t talk with tourists, especially women. At a certain point, we walked by a residential area with kids and one of the parents (probably a grandpa) smiled and start talking to us. I was very surprised but I answered back of course saying just “good morning” however he keeps talking asking where we came from and he invited us to visit his old mother (Auschwitz survivor) inside his house! I was very surprised about this invitation but he insisted so much and I step inside with my group of 5 and we met his old sweet mother. I could not believe we had this amazing opportunity to talk to her and she was so nice and happy to have met all of us. I explained to my tourists that we were having an incredible opportunity and of course, we thank this gentleman and his mother when we left. I still remember this particular tour because I’m pretty sure that something like that will never happen again. I’m still in contact with this particular group of 5 tourists that of course will never forget this tour in Williamsburg…with me!

Which destinations are still on your bucket list that you still haven’t traveled to?

I’m focused on NYC only so far but I’m getting ready to tour people on est cost as well, Washington DC, Philly, Boston, and Niagara.

If you could recommend one place in the world everyone must see, what would it be?

ITALY, from north to south everywhere. Milano, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, Palermo, and much more. You can visit at the same time, beautiful mountains, Valley, beaches, historic cities, tasting AMAZING FOOD, drinking a perfect COFFEE, experience incredible adventures, visiting museums, any kind of art collections, having fun in a nice and friendly environment, making friends and why not maybe find the love of your life!

Anything else you wish to share with our travelers’ community?

I’m a very easy and flexible person but in a meanwhile very scrupulous, honest and fair. I care about my tourists. Their needs come first but I want to be respected as well. I’m very accomodate and happy to share my knowledge about the city where I work and I’m always update with the news organized in town. I love this job, I put a lot of effort into it and I want to improve my speech and my knowledge because, as I already said, you never stop learning and keeping your mind busy, your eyes open, and seeing the world by accepting different point of view dictated by cultures and traditions different from yours, help you to become a citizen of the world.

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