Terms & Conditions

Payment

If you wish to pay by credit card, you may use the secure payment system of PayPal. Bank transfers are also accepted but please make sure that the full amount in euros is received regardless of exchange rates and bank charges. Contact me for Paypal or bank details.

You may also choose to pay in cash at the end of your tour. Please make sure you have the proper amount in Euros.

Cancellation & Rebooking Policies

Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via email more than 1 week before your tour date in order to receive a full refund minus bank or credit card fees.

Full payment is forfeited for cancellations done less than 72 hours before the tour start time.

Rebooking may be requested without fees at least 2 weeks in advance, if and when there are availabilities.

Tours run rain or shine, sleet or snow.

Liability

By confirming your booking, I shall offer services with the understanding that you have read the full terms and conditions and that you are fit and healthy to do the tour. No refunds are given for no shows, tardiness, or failure to finish a tour. Travel insurance is highly recommended for unforeseen circumstances such as sickness, loss of belongings, flight delays and/or cancellations, etc.

I will not be held liable for delays or failure to provide a tour or inclusion in a tour such as entry into a church or museum caused by any circumstances beyond my control such as strikes or sudden closures due to renovation, religious services, and the like. In the rare event that this happens, I will try my best to offer an alternative tour/inclusion or rebook you to another date if available.

If for whatever reason, I am unable to do a tour that has been confirmed, I will do my best to inform you beforehand and see if we can agree on a different date/time for the tour. If you have no other availabilities, I will offer the services of another excellent colleague. You may choose to accept my substitute or cancel and get a full refund.

 

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Your Feedback

Elisabetta is wonderful! Our four hours were spot on our interests, and we had a wonderful time, mostly away from the hordes of other tourists in Firenze.

A most knowledgeable, engaging, and entertaining hostess.

Peggy S, U.S.A.

We certainly enjoyed our recent tour of Florence that you provided for our family. You are so knowledgeable about the city and it is evident that you love Florence and its history. We appreciated the fact that you had an outline of what you wanted us to see on our walking tour – but that you were flexible and willing to make changes as we progressed and had questions. We also appreciated that you were responsive to the age range of our family group with three children ( 6,9, and 17) and eight adults.

I can truly say that the tour was enjoyed by all members of our family. You are very personable and well suited to your chosen profession. We loved your added humor and your willingness to answer our questions about Italy and its people as well as the city of Florence. I would highly recommend your tour to any group.

Carolyn B, U.S.A.

Larry and I feel so lucky to have had the long morning with you last week in Florence. You introduced us to places that we’d not have known about, or at least not gone to, and recommended others that we investigated afterward. We almost felt “native”.

If only there had been more time before our leaving for Rome! Larry absolutely loved your historical perspectives and adding to his own knowledge. The difference between him and me is that he will remember everything you said.
We can’t imagine any other way to be introduced to a city than by one of its proud citizens, and you are the best!

Thank you so much for your time and expertise. We truly hope that your next group that afternoon wasn’t created by your generosity to us!

Faith & Larry, U.S.A.

I wanted to thank you for making our tour of Florence wonderful. You are such a wealth of information. I learned so much about even the David and Michelangelo in just the short tour of the museum. afterward.

The city is so beautiful. I’m looking forward to returning in the next couple of years to see and learn more.Thank you very much!

Theresa, U.S.A.

Just a note to thank you for an excellent tour last Friday morning.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Florence and it was made more fascinating with your extensive knowledge of its history.

We climbed the 463 steps of the Duomo in the afternoon and then walked to the Piazzale Michelangelo on the Saturday for the opposite view!
Again many thanks for putting up with my husband!!

Sarah, U.S.A.

I know its been a while since we were in Florence but I wanted to thank you for the fantastic day we had back in Aug with you, it really was the highlight of our 1st holiday in Italy.You made us feel so welcome, it really felt like we were meeting an old friend for coffee

You are clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about what you do – its very engaging. Next time you are in the UK visiting your mother in Alton or Alresford is it? then please do not hesitate to give me a call and we can pop into Winchester for tea.

Tracy, U.K.

Peter and I wish to thank you for your erudite tour of the Uffizi Gallery and for the walking tour of other important landmarks in the area of the Piazza della Signoria. Your detailed knowledge of art history, artists individual training, style, techniques and materials used and the history of the Italian Byzantine and Renaissance eras helped us gain new levels of understanding and appreciation of the many icons and other works we viewed from the Italian masters.

Touring the churches, buildings and public spaces with you gave us a detailed view of the architectural styles, elements and functionality along with the personalization found within and on facades that denoted ownership, family crests and other symbolization important to the owners.

Lori C, U.S.A.

We managed to take almost all of your advice during our time in Florence, and it was very good. We found your sandwich place again and stood in a crowd of only Italian-speakers, waiting our turn.

The Medici chapel was closed because it was the first Monday of the month but the Borgello (?) was lovely and uncrowded and we could take as much time as we liked. The synagogue was a great place to visit and we are so glad we went. The gelato place was jammed with Japanese tourists on Monday but when we returned on Wednesday we had it to ourselves, as well as the Academie AND the Uffizi (which we had to go to because it was right there and there were no lines at all). Jon even ate a tripe sandwich from the place you showed us and said it was tasty. I held out for a bowl of warm couscous with squash and cheese — that was delicious.
The only bit we missed was the Florentine steak but we ate delicious meals that were not quite as far away, and we can save that for next time.
In Lucca we rented bicycles and went around the top of the wall a few times before descending into the town. My cousin showed us all the medieval towers (we went back and climbed the famous one with the trees on top later) and some churches and Roman spaces — Lucca felt very familiar to us after our various walks through other towns, but much more compact and intact.
Thank you so much for introducing us to Florence and for listening closely to what seemed to be our areas of interest/curiosity. Jon says that the next time we go, you will take us through the Uffizi. I am sure there is a story behind all of those ugly old man faces on that poor little Christ child, over and over.

Hana N, U.S.A.

Thank you again for a wonderful overview of Florence in such a short time span. Your wealth of information added so much interest to your beautiful city. You brought the Renaissance alive again through your wonderful narration and attention to details of the art and architecture of the area.

Your ability to get us into the Uffizi and Academia with a minimal wait and to show us the highlights in each museum within our short time there was wonderful. We appreciate all your coordinating and planning so that we were able to get to all the places we were interested in seeing.

Cathy B, U.S.A.

Myself and my family recently returned from our first holiday in Florence, which we thoroughly enjoyed. One of the highlights for us was meeting Elizabetta for our own personalized guided tour of some of the sights. We were all very impressed as Elizabetta was very knowledgeable but also very friendly and also had a lovely sense of humor.

It felt more like meeting up with a friend. She brought Florence and its history to life for us, which helped us make much more sense of this lovely place and all the wonderful art and buildings to which it is home. We learned so much more than we would have done leafing through a guide book and it was great to be able to ask whatever questions popped into our heads. We enjoyed it so much that we tried to book her again to take us around the Uffizi but it was short notice and unfortunately she was busy. We did use the audio guides but it was no match for that personal touch. Thank you Elizabetta for a very special experience.

David G, U.K.

Karen and I, Gayle and Julius want to thank you for the excellent tour of Florence you gave us last Thursday. With your assistance, we learned more about Florence and saw more of Florence than we could ever have accomplished on our own. Your insights into the history of the city, the culture, the architecture were far greater than anything we could have gotten from a book.

Thanks as well for miraculously appearing on the corner at the end of the day and helping us find the grocery store. Our goodies (olive oils, balsamic, pasta) arrived yesterday. Hopefully, we’ll return to Florence and spend time touring with you again. Thanks again and Take Care!

Joe K, St. Louis, MO,U.S.A

Elizabeth, was the best tour guide ever! Her insight and knowledge of Florence brought everything to life for me.

We strolled our way through the cobbled-stone streets of the city and she was so fun to be with and listen to. Our last stop was visiting the David by Michelangelo which was truly a highlight. We didn’t have to wait in line and Elisabetta brought me back in time to the Renaissance and explained all the interesting details of the sculpture that I wouldn’t have noticed without her. I was sorry I didn’t have another day to spend with Elisabetta but I will highly recommend her to all my family and friends.

Linda, CA, U.S.A.

lo pasè muy bièn con esta super guia Elisabetta, nos paseò por todas partes, nos mostrò las cosas màs bonitas en forma amena y ademàs nos llevò a comer una pizza……

maravillosa con jamon crudo y rucula! lo mejor fuè el postre: il tarufo nero. En fin,fuè un dia perfecto! Gracias Elisabetta.

Beatrice, Santiago, Chile

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Patrons and Saints

The Church and Portraits of Florentine Notables

Duration: 3 hrs

Sites visited: Santa Maria Novella*, Santa Trinità, Santo Spirito
Price for  1-4pax: €225
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30

*Entry & reservation fees: not included
NB.Churches require a dresscode. Please dress appropriately with covered shoulders and knees.

Patrons & Saints

Imagine a world before cameras… What makes this tour interesting is that you will be looking at portraits of rich and prominent figures of the past and their need of leaving tangible and colourful traces of their existence through their religious and cultural outlook. In Santa Maria Novella,  we find examples of the magnificent patronage of the Tornabuoni and Ruccellai families with the works of revolutionary artists: Masaccio, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi. In Santa Trinità, we find images of “contemporary” Florence then, members of their family and a portrait of the man they worked for, Lorenzo The Magnificent. As we cross the bridge to visit Santo Spirito on the Oltrarno, we find other chapels of prominent Florentine families. This is also where Michelangelo studies anatomy and where his gift of a wooden Crucifix hangs.

Santa Maria Novella established by the Dominican Order in the early 13th century will go through various transformations in function and dimension through time.

This gothic church allows for an interesting insight into the artistic, social and cultural conventions of the Florence of the 15th century. The elegant and proportioned facade designed by Leon Battista Alberti for Giovanni Rucellai invites the curious to explore inside and experience the patronage of the wealthy and influential families of Florence and the works of their innovative artists. In Masaccio’s revolutionary Trinity we find the use of geometrical perspective. In Giovanni Tornabuoni’s chapel decorated with an intriguing cycle of frescoes by Domenico del Ghirlandaio, the magnificent portraits of family members and notables of Florence give us insight on social and cultural ideals of those times. The chapel of Filippo Strozzi, another family rival and ally through marriage to the Medici, is decorated with vibrant colours and dynamic scenes by Filippino Lippi.

We then visit the Church of Santa Trinità to admire more frescoes by Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel. Here we find images of Florence in the late 15th century, Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Santa Trinità, and prominent Florentine figures, members of the Sassetti family and Lorenzo dei Medici and his sons. Santa Trinità also allows us to understand the difficulties of making frescoes and the challenge of their conservation.

Our last stop, the fascinating and elegant Santo Spirito on the Oltrarno, the other side of the river. The Augustinian complex sees its first development in the 1250s, however the church we enter today was consecrated in 1481 and is based on an initial project of Filippo Brunelleschi. Inside we find a unique collection of 15th and 17th century chapels with their ornate altarpieces and paliotti, ornamental coverings for the altar.


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The Palace with Many Names

The Political Heart of Florence​

Duration: 2 hrs
Site visited: Palazzo Vecchio*, Piazza della Signoria
Price for 1-4pax: €160
Additional price headsets from 5-10 pax: €30
*Entry fees: not included

The Palace with many names

Palazzo Vecchio, the aggressive castle-like structure, has been the political heart of the small but proud City State of Florence since the early 1300s, a testimony of sacks, of tyrants, of patronage, power and control.

Piazza Signoria, the square where Palazzo Vecchio stands, is where the population would congregate to witness and celebrate important political events such as the visit of popes, but also the backdrop for social upheavals and revolts, and in more gory moments of Florentine history, the site of executions.

It is also an outdoor museum of sculptures where the bronze statue of Cosimo I, the powerful Fountain of Neptune and the copy of David adorn the square. In the Loggia dei Lanzi, other masterful pieces, Perseus of Benvenuto Cellini and the Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna.

The palace changed names about 4 times, speaking volumes of evolving political situations through the centuries. In 1285, members of Florence’s economic elite stipulated an edict by which the city would build a palace in stone where the Priors of the Arts were to meet, govern and legislate. Palazzo dei Priori was to represent all “citizens” in the hope of settling conflicts among powerful families and divided factions. In the 15th century, it was then called Palazzo Della Signoria, an emblem of the Republic of Florence and its political fluctuations. From 1540 to 1565, it will be referred to as Palazzo Ducale, the residence of Cosimo I, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. It wasn’t until the Medici’s move to their new palace, Palazzo Pitti, did it become known what it is today, Palazzo Vecchio, Old Palace.

We see how according to different needs and changing ideals, the “old” palace and the square where it stands, Piazza Della Signoria, will be modified in the 16th century to become complementary to each other when renovations and artworks were commissioned in order to celebrate Medici rule and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. This piazza has been witness to some of the most important events in Florence’s history including the execution and burning at the stake of Girolamo Savonarola, the same site where important books and works of art were burned in the Bonfire of the Vanities which he inspired.

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The Young Michelangelo

A voyage of discovery into Michelangelo’s youth.

Duration: 3 hrs
Sites visited: Casa Buonarroti, Museo del Bargello*
Price for  1-4pax: €225
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30
*Entry fees: not included

The Young Michelangelo

The artist is known simply as Michelangelo did have the last name and it was Buonarroti. Casa Buonarroti is one of the many properties that he had acquired in Florence. It was lived in by generations of his family into the 1800s who conserved the works of Michelangelo and celebrated the life of the artist in the various chambers of the palace.

The Bargello was established in the 13th century to house the Podestà, the Chief Magistrate of Florence. In the 16th century, it also became the palace of the head of police and used as a prison into the 1700s. In 1865, it was transformed into a museum and is now where we find some of Michelangelo’s lesser-known but equally fascinating sculptures. 

An essential segment in the legacy of the “Divine” Michelangelo, is Casa Buonarroti, and its collection of surprising treasures, terracotta models, sketches and studies by Michelangelo. One of his earliest works, the extraordinary Centauromacchia, a dynamic and vibrant relief in marble expressing an aggressive and crowded battle of male nude figures, he created when he was just 17.

The Bargello, initially a prison and police headquarters allows us to step further back in time. We can trace the steps of Florentine precursors of Michelangelo, artists that like him pushed the boundaries of technique and convention such as Brunelleschi’s bronze relief created in 1401 for the competition for Baptistry doors and Donatello’s two sculptures of David and Saint George.

We also see more sculptures by Michelangelo which give us an insight into the artist’s quest for balance, as seen in the Bacchus, his mastery of texture and layers pervasive in the Pitti Tondo, and the rising artist’s depth reflected in the silent and enigmatic gaze of the Brutus.

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Usury and Bonfires

Cosimo the Elder and The Medici Patronage

Duration: 3 hrs
Site visited: Convent of San Marco, Chapel of the Magi in Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Basilica of San Lorenzo*
Price for a group of 1-4pax: €225
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30
*Entry fees: not included
NB. Churches require a dress code. Please dress appropriately with covered shoulders and knees.

Usury & Bonfires

The 3 main sites we will explore on this tour are connected in many ways but also by the fact that that they all received copious investments from Cosimo il Vecchio, the patriarch of the Medici family. This extraordinary politician and banker was also known as Cosimo Father of the Nation. These churches allow us to follow his patronage and understand the many interesting facets of the mind and society of Renaissance Florence.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, Florence was one of the most important banking centres of Europe, with the Medici family and bank, one of the richest and most powerful. But one of the main purposes of a bank, lend money with the payment of interest, was in those times considered usury, a cardinal sin. So, aside from benefiting the city-states and advancing the status of the Medici family, one of the main motivating factors of their religious patronage was the fear of the after-life.

From 1437, the Convent of San Marco will be subject to a period of architectural transformations commissioned by Cosimo and undertaken by one of his favorite architects, Michelozzo. The cloister and the library of the convent represent beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture. The convent also conserves Cosimo’s personal cell where he came to pray and meditate. The library also allows us to follow the contradictory thread that ties Humanist ideals to Religion leading to that extreme moment in history instigated by the fiery sermons of the great orator, Girolamo Savonarola, still known today as the Bonfire of the Vanities.

In the 15th century, San Marco was also home to the Dominican artist, Fra Angelico, who will be responsible for an incredible cycle of frescoes throughout the convent followed by Fra Bartolomeo in the 1600s. Today the museum, not only houses their paintings but it also conserves the works of Suor Plautilla Nelli (1524-1588), the first known woman artist of Florence.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, commissioned in the 1440s by Cosimo and also designed by Michelozzo, holds one of Florence’s less visited treasures: the chapel decorated by Benozzo Gozzoli representing a surprisingly rich and intriguing Procession of the Magi where we recognize members of the family and other notables of the time. The palace will not only be the home of Cosimo, but also that of his grandson, Lorenzo il Magnifico, and among others, Michelangelo.

Basilica Of San Lorenzo, one of Florence’s oldest churches consecrated in the 4th century, was rebuilt in the 15th century by Filippo Brunelleschi whose proportioned design we still read today. Cosimo il Vecchio is buried in a pillar of the Basilica in front of the main alter as to remind posterity of his position and prestige. The complex of San Lorenzo houses the work of other remarkable artists: Donatello, Andrea del Verrocchio, Filippo Lippi, and Michelangelo. This is, after all, the Pantheon of the Medici family.

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Customize

The tours on my website are suggested themes and itineraries. But if you are particularly interested in a certain topic, site, or artist, or wanting to explore something more specific to your background or interest, we can certainly work on a different itinerary to suit your needs.​

All my tours are in English but if you prefer me to do them in Spanish, I am also fluent in this language.


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Maturity

The mind of a genius

Duration: 3 hr
Site visited:
New Sacristy, the Gallery of the Accademia*
Price for 1-4pax:
€225
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30
*Entry & reservation fees: not included

Into Maturity

According to Michelangelo’s 16th-century biographer, Giorgio Vasari, “To be sure, anyone who has seen Michelangelo’s David has no need to see anything else by any other sculptor, living or dead.” (“Life of Michelangelo”,  in Lives of the Artists, I/339)

The David, Michelangelo’s first major commission for his hometown, Florence, will be immediately recognized by his contemporaries as ground-breaking. Conserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia, this museum also houses his powerful and engaging unfinished sculptures: the Slaves (or Prisoners).

The New Sacristy, in the museum of the Medici Chapels, is another of Florence’s unique treasures. Conceived by the Medici Popes to honor their dead: Lorenzo il Magnifico, his brother Giuliano, Lorenzo’s son Giuliano Duke of Nemours, and Lorenzo’s grandson, Lorenzo Duke of Urbino are all buried here. We will also see extraordinary examples of Michelangelo’s innovative style in sculpture and architecture, from the beautiful statues of allegories of time, Night & Day, Dawn & Dusk to the magnificent vaulted dome.

Michelangelo will work consistently for the Medici in the complex of San Lorenzo. He designed and created the New Sacristy commissioned by the Medici Popes not only due to his personal connection to the family but also because of his prestigious accomplishments. He devises unique and inventive sculptural and architectural designs wherein all elements enhance religious ideals of faith and mortality. Here, some of the most beautifully enigmatic sculptures remain almost hidden to the public eye.

In the Galleria dell’Accademia, we will then confront the David and discuss how and why, under many aspects, Michelangelo’s genius is manifested in this inventive masterpiece. We will also discuss his Unfinished Slaves, four statues intended to decorate the tomb of Pope Julius II, which bring insight into the technique and creative process of the artist. More technical and thematic innovations, more plays on texture on light and shadow, more of the artist, his mind, and personality.

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Uffizi

Through the many masterpieces of this unique museum, we explore the elements of a fascinating quest for invention, innovation and adventure, that will lead, among other things, to the discovery of geometrical perspective and the evolution of Western painting.

Duration: 3 hrs
Sites visited: Uffizi  Gallery*^
Price for 1-4pax: €225
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30
*
Entry & reservation fees: not included

Uffizi Gallery Collection

The Uffizi Gallery can be a very difficult museum to confront on your own. It is vast and has an extensive collection.

Some may find the works in the museum overwhelming and difficult to relate to. But depending on how you visit, it can also be an enjoyable and fascinating experience.
Masterpieces have an element of universality whereby anyone and everyone, when shown the right details and told captivating stories, can enjoy the Uffizi.

For those with keen interest, we can explore the evolution of themes, iconography and techniques while engaging in a dialogue on the art, the Masters, the patrons, and the collection.
Your background, what you want to know and are interested in will be what inspires your private tour with me.

Cosimo I commissioned Giorgio Vasari to design the offices (Uffizi in Italian) of the Magistrates of Florence in the 1560’s. In the 1570’s Cosimo’s son, the Grand Duke Francesco will create on the upper floor of the building a gallery with the purpose of showing the family collection to notable visitors. The Medici will expand their collection in the following centuries and in the 18th century it will be tied to the city of Florence through what is known as the ”Family Pact”. The Lorraine family will transform the building into a museum in the late 18th century. Today, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited museums of Europe.

The Galleria Degli Uffizi holds an impressive collection of Italian paintings that range from the late 12th century to the early 18th century, masterpieces that allow us to follow through time the evolution of themes, techniques, colours, and composition. In walking through the museum, we will be able to admire the grace of the lines in Filippo Lippi, the many layers of Botticelli, the colors, craftsmanship and bodies of Michelangelo, the depth of Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci’s vibrant and dazzling compositions. We see how artists influenced one other, allowing us a peek into the world of the workshop and that of the artist and their patrons. We also comprehend the social, religious and political function of art through the centuries.

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The Splendor of Palazzo Pitti

Wealth & Opulence

Duration:3 hrs
Site visited :
Royal Apartments, Palatine Gallery  & Silver Museum in the Pitti Palace*
Price for 1-4pax:
€225
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30

*Entry & reservation fees: not includedThe Splendor of Palazzo Pitti

We will visit the imposing and proud Palazzo Pitti, a magnificent symbol of power and wealth manifested by its various residents. From the late 16th century, home to the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, then of the Lorraine, and finally, the King of Italy.

In the Palatine Gallery, we will find masterpieces by Raphael, Titian, Perugino, Correggio and Rubens. Opulence is palpable as we view not only silver, but ivory, pearls and other precious stones in the Silver Museum with its walls and ceilings adorned with beautiful frescoes depicting architectural illusions.

Apart from being able to take a peek inside the Royal Apartments where the King used to live, we will also discuss the everyday life of those who worked and resided in the palace, their private lives and life at Court.

The original palace constructed in the mid-15th century for Luca Pitti, whose design has been attributed to that of Brunelleschi, will undergo many changes and extensions through time, by architects, engineers, scientists and artists seeking the magnificent and the impressive.

Palazzo Pitti offers an active look into courtlife, the manoeuvrings and dealings, the rigidity of its rules and norms, the emotional distance and incredible patronage of privilege.

In the Silver Museum, we will see an impressive collection of refined and exquisite objects and decorations, presented in an arresting setting of frescoes and illusions.

In the Palatine Gallery we explore, not only the public and private spaces of the court of the Grand Duke and of his family, but also, admire the unique and vast collection of paintings by the great masters.

After the tour, you may decide to continue and visit the Boboli gardens that extend on the southern hill guarded by a surviving section of the impressive medieval walls of Florence.


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