My father is a retired History teacher and he has written dozens of books about his home town, a small village in the northwesternmost corner of Galicia, which was considered by the Romans the end of the world. I grew up jumping around Bronze Age villages, prehistoric tombs, and Romanesque churches, so when I was old enough to read by myself I loved to do my own research and find about those things.
History was my favorite subject at school because it was easy for me to understand it, and eventually I decided to get a degree in Contemporary History and American History. My goal was to become a teacher, but that didn't work. I don't want to bother you with menial details of my life, so. . . long story short, I decided to move on and I studied tourism management because learning languages was also kind of my thing and I wanted to make a living out of it. I was in Madrid at that time, and, since my wife is Italian, we decided to move to Italy and become tourism entrepreneurs. Through hard work and some strange serendipities we were able to get several touristic apartments in a 12th Century palace next to a castle built by Brunelleschi in the amazing but unfortunately not really famous medieval town of Vicopisano.
I've chosen to become a guide here because Pisa is the ideal city for a true fan of the Middle Ages as myself: it was one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Europe and its former glory is still alive and kicking. Pisa was the first city in Europe to be able to defeat the Muslim pirates that ravaged the Mediterranean Sea, and its ships carried the Crusaders to Jerusalem in 1099. But pisans were merchants after all, so they were practical and eventually signed peace treaties and trade agreements with muslim cities all around the Mediterranean Sea. They had embassies and commercial outposts in Cairo, Alexandria, Tunisia, the Middle East and Muslim Spain. They became important allies of the Byzantine Empire too, mostly for spite of their mutual enemy, the Venetians. So the Pisa of the Middle Ages was a collage of Mediterranean cultures and the scenario of very important events, and that left a mark in Pisan Art. Many of those things are hidden in plain sight, and I'd love to let you know about them!
One of the things that I love the most here is walking around the Old Town and the pisan countryside. That's why I decided to develop a series of walking tours and bike tours that will show you amazing corners and landscapes off-the-beaten path. Many of them run around and across the Arno, because this river is the cornerstone throughout the 3000 years of History of Pisa. In its banks you may find 1000 year-old churches, castles, walled cities, fortresses, markets, Renaissance Palaces and great museums. Any tour is customizable, so don't be afraid if you're not really into walking or cycling: you can take a shorter tour or I can arrange comfortable transportation too. Besides, every tour includes a taste of Tuscany, so you'll have the chance to savor the delights of this region, which has been blessed with great olive oil, better cheese and cold meats and even greater wine.
Even though the Museums of Pisa have been for long neglected under the shadow of the almighty power, they are plenty of masterpieces you shouldn't miss. Many of my tours include optional 'extensions' that will let you know the many jewels those museums still hold: the breathtaking frescoes of the Camposanto, the golden age of Pisan painting -from the 1200's to the 1300's- at the S. Matteo, the life and times of the Medici Family at Palazzo Reale, a global perspective on Pisan History and Art at Palazzo Blu and how did monks lived at the famous Pisan Chartreuse. Don't worry if you find museums annoying, I've personally cherry-picked the best parts and created enjoyable and entertaining tours in order to make your experience as fun and pleasant as possible.
That's all for now, folks! I hope to see you soon!
- Professional local guide for Pisa and the Province of Pisa - Province of Pisa
- BA degree in History - Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC)
- Master's degree in Tourism Management - Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
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