Meet Our Local Tour Guides
While most guides need years to achieve their guide certification, Angelo holds three; for Florence, Rome, and his home city of Naples.
"You need to see David. You don't have to, you need to."
I'm trained as an archeologist but actually have three guide licenses: one in my home, Naples, one here in Florence where I live now, and one in Rome, just because it's a great place for archeologists.
My dad was my inspiration to become a guide because he was the person who first took me to Pompeii. When we were walking down one of the cobblestone streets I noticed the deep grooves that chariot wheels had left in the stones thousands of years ago and I remember being amazed by that detail, by the way I could really feel ancient life through it.
I went to kindergarten in a school built on top of Roman ruins. The school itself was an old villa from the 1700s and the original owner had the original frescoes from the ruins beneath copied into the rooms of his home, the same rooms we attended classes in. The really funny part was that many of them were erotic frescoes.
The ancient art of Italy is part of my DNA and because of that, I feel like an ambassador of the past. Perhaps it sounds like I'm a little full of myself but I really feel like the art and culture of Italy is something that I can't not share with others.
I love the energy that people bring on tours with me. I want clients to fall in love with me and for me to fall in love with them. I'm very hungry to read in their eyes the same interest that I have for the things that I'm showing them. When I see that interest, that emotion, it really makes me feel alive.
Florence is really one of the milestones of Western culture, more than Rome, even. And I'm not from Florence, so it takes a certain mental effort to say that. But When Rome fell, we had to start from scratch and the first place where the sparkle of civilization came back to Italy was Florence. It's the place where the past came back to life.
Michelangelo's David is not a piece of flesh; he's a way to reconcile yourself with humanity. Too often people look at his physical characteristics - his hands, his veins, his beautiful muscles - but these are not what Michelangelo was trying to show you. Instead, he made a naked man to celebrate humankind. If you only look at the physical characteristics of the statue it's like reducing your wife to simply her physical characteristics. When you fell in love with your wife you knew she was beautiful, but you also fell in love because she was gentle, kind, loving, your best friend, someone you hoped would be the mother of your child, etc.- there are so many deeper meanings in your relationship and it's these deeper meanings that the world ignores about David. Once you understand that you can have an incredibly deep relationship with David, you don't need to take a photo of him anymore. You don't have to bring a souvenir of him home with you because you realize David is you. You need to see David. You don't have to, you need to.
Every American should take home a photo or a souvenir of Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise home with them. In 1400 Lorenzo Ghiberti created scenes on a bronze door using a special technique that gave a sense of depth. What does that mean? It means in Florence in 1400 we were the first people to get HD TV. We could see the world in a new way, we could represent it in a new way, and because we held the world in our hands, it meant that we could geographically dominate the world - which was a belief that led to Christopher Columbus finding the New World. So the history of America didn't start in 1492, it actually started with Ghiberti finishing the doors in 1452.
I hire guides for myself whenever I travel on my own. Wherever I go, I need to meet the people because they help me understand not only their own culture, but who I am and where I come from. If I'm in the United States I want people to take me by the hand and take me deep into the different aspects of their culture. Only in this way can I see the differences in my way of being and their way of being. It's the only way that I can become richer.