Like any self-respecting product, whether this is a good wine or a good artisanal product, behind its creation there is always a story that concerns it, and it is precisely that story that makes it unique.
We are certainly not a good aged wine, the team of tour guides at DiscoveryPisa is young and full of energy, we don’t have a centuries-old history behind us, but we still have a story that we want to share with you, to let you discover what makes us unique.
I would like to tell you about the birth of DiscoveryPisa, the obstacles we have found along the way, but which we have always overcome. Thanks to the difficulties we have grown and today we have achieved goals that, initially, we did not even imagine.
The preparation of DiscoveryPisa tour guides
DiscoveryPisa was founded in 2012 by me and my colleague Andrea, however taking the first steps in the tourist market was not easy at all: there are many tourist guides in Pisa and the market of tourist agencies was almost all taken.
Fortunately we had clear ideas, we had guessed what was missing in Pisa for the tourist, and it is thanks to these ideas that we are now where we are. But let’s take a step back.
First of all, a person cannot improvise as a tour guide, at least that’s not how it works in Italy. In 2011 Andrea and I enrolled in a professional course to become authorized tour guides of Pisa and its province, and this is where we met.
The experience of the course was interesting and fun, but after passing the exams, there was yet another obstacle to overcome: the internship. Here I open a small parenthesis to thank the historical guides of Pisa who took us under their wing: it is also thanks to them that we have learned this beautiful craft.
The birth of the DiscoveryPisa brand
DiscoveryPisa was born after this long period of apprenticeship, when Andrea and I decide to work together and understand that what is missing from the Pisan tourist market is someone who turns to the “do it yourself” tourist.
The “do it yourself” tourist is that person who, just like us, has no intention of shelling out important amounts for a week-long world tour, in which you have little time to take photos and above all to enjoy the atmosphere of the city and experience it as a local person. The ‘do-it-you’ tourist is sometimes the one who goes to a jeopardy, it’s the last minute one, it’s the one who plans his trip on his own as best he can.
To address this type of tourist, the idea of the DiscoveryPisa tour guides was to offer low cost guided tours for all budgets, because our goal was and still is that culture, history and art are within everyone’s reach. That was what was missing in Pisa in 2012, when we founded DiscoveryPisa. Once we understood what was missing and what we wanted to propose to the whole world, the beginning was not easy.
We decide to create brochures to be delivered to hotels and restaurants in Pisa, but there are very few reservations and we understand that restaurateurs and hoteliers are not interested in promoting our products. But as a saying goes: by making mistakes you learn. And we had learned, and how!
After a long period of reflection, we realized that if we wanted to make a difference we would have to rely on OTAs, online travel agencies.
The Internet has opened us up to the whole world!
DiscoveryPisa tour guides explain the wings
From that moment on, we organized ourselves differently, we reviewed our tours, we improved them. Now our visits range from the Piazza dei Miracoli to the historic center of the city.
We wanted and still want to make the tourist understand that in Pisa there is much more to see besides the infamous Leaning Tower. It is true, the Tower is the symbol of Pisa and has inevitably also become the symbol of our logo, in short, it is a bit like our mother, who gives us food, but in reality Pisa is a city to be discovered and binding it only to the fame of the Tower is a real shame.
The city center is really worth a visit, and it already deserves it just for the fact that there are very few tourists who go all the way there. Pisa, moreover, is a small city, I would say almost on a human scale, and it is very good on foot. Our desire to discover the hidden wonders of the city has had many positive feedback: all our tourists who have chosen to visit the historic center were happy and enthusiastic.
It is precisely by relying on the now numerous reviews that our customers leave us online that we understand if the path we are taking is the right one. After all, the philosophy of the DiscoveryPisa tour guides is to meet your needs, to pamper you and try to do everything (within our limits of course) to make your holiday in Pisa an unforgettable experience.
And it is also for this reason that, at some point, we decide to propose private tours. Dedicated to those who cannot participate in our tours because of the timetable or to those who prefer a tour all to themselves, different from the ones we offer.
Tour guides adapt to your needs
The result of this long review of the tours and their technical part leads to a radical change:
- all tours take place in a single language with defined timetables;
- you have the possibility to book our visits up to one hour before the start of the tour.
Being able to book at the last minute is one of the things we know you appreciate the most: when you are on vacation you have no schedules and even if before you go on the road, at home, you had planned things to see, once you left, when you really start to live the trip, there is always something to add at the last minute, something out of schedule that you want to see;
- the visits also take place with only one participant. The reason for this choice (which to many may seem like sheer madness) is the desire not to close the door in the face of all those people who, just like us, sometimes travel alone.
The results are beginning to show: slowly the demands begin to increase. For this reason, in recent years, the need to expand the DiscoveryPisa team is beginning to grow.
The staff is starting to increase
Today we can count on the help of more guides, some even native speakers. Thanks to them too, we were able to expand our market, which was initially focused only on the Italians, English and Spaniards, and to turn to the German and French markets.
By participating in one of our tours you will notice and I think you will appreciate that our groups are very small, of a maximum of 10 people. With us you will never find yourself in a group of twenty people and even in the case of large groups we prefer to divide the group in half and provide an extra guide.
The reason for this choice of ours is very simple: when dealing with a small group of tourists, during the visit a relationship of complicity is established and in this way, not only do you have fun, but also we tour guides have fun with you. I think this is one of the many important points in our favor and that make the difference between us and other travel agencies.
All participants in our tours are equipped with radios to listen to the guide’s explanation loud and clear, in order to make the experience more and more enjoyable for the tourist.
Projects and predictions for the future of DiscoveryPisa tour guides
Winter, which is a season in which work decreases, we spend it training and improving ourselves more and more.
Just this winter we have decided not to leave behind another type of tourist that is close to our hearts. I am talking about tourists who like to do everything on their own, but who still want to receive some notion of what they are observing. With audio guides, this type of tourist can enjoy the visit at their own time and in total freedom.
The project for now is a work in progress, along with that of interactive audio guides, which will allow tourists to approach art by playing.
We are aware that we never stop learning, but we have reached important goals that when we started doing this work maybe we did not even imagine, and today that we have raised the bar a little more, our biggest dream would be to become for you, a tourist in disarray, a strong point of reference in Pisa, like a lighthouse in the storm.
It is a big goal and we still have a long way to go, but so far we have never backed out in the face of new challenges. We are a group of young and close-knit guides, and with love, passion and a bit of madness we hope to achieve this goal together with you.