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Bronx resident living Italian dream

Bronx Times

Paul Costa is living an Italian Dream.

Costa, a born and raised Bronx boy and owner of Tuscan Tour Guide, has been living on the outskirts of Florence and Pisa since 2005.

As a tour guide he helps travelersenjoy the sights of Italian history and culture.

Costa’s parents were both born in Sicily. His mother came to the states with her parents in 1955 at the age of six and his father arrived later in his life, in 1972 at the age of 42.

Costa said he grew up on Lydig Avenue near Morris Park but moved to Tuscany when he was still very young, when his parents started a business there.

“We moved to Tuscany when I was a kid, and I did my elementary school there,” Costa said. “It was traumatic at first, because I didn’t know Italian, but I very quickly became bilingual. I was supposed to be left back in second grade, due to language difficulties, but I was given a second chance for a few months in the third grade and succeeded.”

Eventually Paul and his parents returned to the states, where he finished his education.

“The same thing happened when I returned to school at St. Clare’s in the Bronx, being that I only spoke English, but did not write it or read it very well,” he said.

But Costa could never say ‘ciao’ to Italy.

Paul graduated from State University of New York, Stony Brook in 1999 with a degree in Italian Renaissance Art History, and began teaching Italian and Spanish in a Yonkers school district for a year before moving on to a middle school in Harrison, New York.

After five years of teaching language, Costa said he decided he wanted much more to let people experience the culture he was teaching them about, and with that he decided to pursue his dream.

“In 2001, I brought a group of students from New York to Italy for the summer and realized that I loved sharing the Italian culture with people,” Costa said.

He currently lives in Vicopisano, a small medieval town, just eight miles from the leaning Tower of Pisa.

Costa said he does daily tours of Florence, The Academy of Fine Arts, the leaning Tower of Pisa, Lucca, Sienna, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano.

While planning each tour, Costa discusses Etruscan-history, Roman and Renaissance art-history, archeology, culture, cuisine and wine, designing each trip to suit the expectations of each couple, family, or group, and allowing them to discover the many hidden treasures found throughout Tuscany.

Costa operates tours 12 months a year and he oversees all itineraries.

In addition to these tours, Costa also does a weekly tour in September that focuses solely on Tuscan wine.

“I’m a licensed tour guide for Florence and I’ve studied years and years of the Renaissance, so I am infatuated with Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, the Medici’s and Raphael,” he said. “Many of their works of art are in Florence.”

Costa said he has never been more happy in his life than when he was living in Italy and taught about the rich Italian culture he loves so much.

“I earn much less here and I have absolutely no job security doing what I do because I am a freelancer, however I am beyond happy here,” Costa said. “The food, wine, friends and the pace of life and love for my job will make it impossible for me to return and be happy in the states.”

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