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What does a Cicerone do?

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  • Written By: Licia Morrow
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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A cicerone is an individual who introduces and educates others to forms of art or taste. The historical use of the word designated a person who led others on a tour to view items of value, such as works of art or antiques. In more recent usage, the word cicerone has been used to refer to a person who introduces others to fine beers.

In a museum or other type of historical setting, a docent acts as a cicerone as she guides others through art or antiquity exhibits. Many docents are volunteers, while some guides are paid by the organizations for which they work. This type of guide utilizes excellent communication skills and is able to eloquently express artistic importance and relevance to her audience. She must be well-educated in her subject, as she will be required to answer questions from the general public. She must be able to work effectively at presenting information to small-to-medium-size groups of various ages and genders.

Some cicerones might work in the architecture field and guide others through the backgrounds and forms of historical or progressive buildings by pointing out construction features and their past, present, and future implications. This type of guide may educate customers on historical knowledge, and will likely spearhead a tour of buildings that have historical significance. This cicerone will be highly educated in architectural forms and history, and may have an advanced degree, which enables her to answer questions from her tour groups.

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Additionally, a sightseeing cicerone guides visitors on tours of a specific monument or geographical location. These types of cicerones often can be found working for sightseeing companies or tour bus companies. This type of tour guide accompanies a group in its travels and calls attention to historical buildings along the route as well as shares important anecdotes about the people who developed and built the structures or settled in a city or area.

An exhibitor also acts as a cicerone, as she manages a specific display and introduces guests to products or other items of interest there. This type of cicerone my work in the private sector to assist in the sale of products or services. She explains background information and product features to clients or visitors.

In more recent years, a cicerone has come to mean a person who is an expert at and guides others through the process of choosing fine beverages. While a sommelier focuses on selecting fine wines, a cicerone guides her clients through the selection of different types of beer. This may include historical tours and education on breweries across the world.

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