Travel tips about Tuscany, Italy including food, wine and lifestyle
Epissode 75: buon Natale From KM Zero Tours
If you can’t go to Tuscany for Christmas, why not bring Tuscany to you for the holidays?
On this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast, Arriana Cini from KM Zero Tours has the perfect gift to put under your tree. A Tuscan gift box with 100% locally sourced goods from Tuscany.
The idea for the gift box is not a new one, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for her business to survive until tourists return the plan and production were expedited.
Order your KM Zero Christmas box today and give a gift that is truly unique for the Tuscan lover in your family.
Episode 74: The Giant With Laura Morelli
In our current “new normal” of COVID-19 and physical distancing, sitting on the back porch with a good book sounds pretty relaxing. It won’t take you long to realize your reading a masterpiece by Author Laura Morelli. A historical fiction account of Michelangelo’s The David.
Florence, 1500. Fresco painter Jacopo Torni longs to make his mark in the world. But while his peers enjoy prestigious commissions, his meager painting jobs are all earmarked to pay down gambling debts.
When Jacopo hears of a competition to create Florence’s greatest sculpture, he pins all his hopes on a collaboration with his boyhood companion, Michelangelo Buonarroti. But will the frustrated artist ever emerge from the shadow of his singularly gifted friend?
Our interview dives into the labor of love writing this book was for Laura; it was 20-years in the making! Lots of research trips to Florence and a real understanding of Renaissance Art History.
Enjoy, and please give us your feedback in the comments section.
Episode 73: Your Place In Florence
The streets of Florence are quiet right now. Italians are looking forward to the day when their surroundings take on a new life, and crowds can gather and feel safe as they look in awe at the architecture. Sit in an osteria and drink wine and eat excellent local cuisine. Or visit the cafe for an afternoon espresso.
When the heavy burden of COVID-19 goes away, our friend Federico Bonechi wants you do know that you have a place in Florence that feels like home.When we first visited Federico back in December of 2014, there was only one property, Palazzo Belfiore. We have visited Federico several times on our return trips, and we have watched his buisness grow over the last five-plus years. The addition of Palazzo San Niccolo, and Palazzo Del Moro. Each property is unique, located in a different part of the city, each with the capability of providing you with a short or longer-term stay. If it's a Tuscany countryside experience you are dreaming about, Federico also offers VILLA PIETROSA.
You can find all four locations at one website address, www.yourplaceinflorence.com.
Like every good business person, Federico is using the lockdown of COVID-19 to reflect and improve when the rooms start filling up again. When the government gives the word go, Federico and his team will be the first out of the starting blocks because of the preparations they have taken during the downtime.
Federico is our featured guest in this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast. In our time together, we discuss what is going on in Italy, how he's doing both personally and professionally, and what the future holds for his business.
Episode 72: Patiently They Sit and Wait
Italy is under lockdown. Many friends and the people you've heard on this podcast are directly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
When we visited Florence just five months ago, we spent time with Anthony Frevelleti and his wife, Becca. We ate a fantastic meal together at Ristorante Accademia. Drank several bottles of amazing wine, and then walked the streets, enjoying all the Christmas lights and decorations. Good times!
Today the Freveletti's are confined to their home outside of Florence. They are homeschooling their daughter, having their groceries delivered, with little to no contact with the outside world and adding to their stress, worrying about their son, who is in Florida. The good news is Anthony can still ship wine all over the world. So he LOVES it when the delivery driver shows up to pick up a shipment for one of his clients. You can support Anthony and Becca by visiting their website and order some of the most fantastic juice Tuscany as to offer.
In the first half of this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast, we talk to Anthony and Becca about what they are going through.
The second half is a conversation with Anna Madaffari, who owns and operates Cool Tours. We also spent a day with her in the Tuscan countryside when we visited last December. A day to remember that ended with a conversation we featured in episode 67.
Anna is a private driver and relies 100% on tourism. She hasn't worked or had a source of income for over a month. Anna is someone who during the busy time of the year and works 45 to 50 days in-a-row. Even during the slow months, she has three to four hours a week.
Today the cancellations far outnumber the bookings. Anna is worried and for a good reason.
Anthony, Becca, and Anna are open and honest about what they are experiencing right now. Their vulnerability tears at the heartstrings and is a reminder that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on lives, whether you have the virus or not.
Episode 71: The Impact of the Coronavirus in Tuscany
Coronavirus has a significant impact all over the world. Our friends in Tuscany are not immune to what is going on, and for all practical purposes, tourism has come to a complete halt throughout the country.
Many of our friends who you have heard on this podcast are directly affected both professionally and personally. Now is the time to listen to them and learn how you can help right now and in the future.
Jacopo Di Battista and Mary Shea help run their family estate Querceto Di Castellina. The agriturismo is supposed to be getting ready for the busy season, but the pandemic has forced cancelations for March, April, and even into May. They are worried, but optimistic at the same time.
Episode 70: The Personal Touch of Florencetown
Esperienza personale. Translated to English, personal experience. Urbano Brini is on a mission. He wants everyone who visits Florence and Tuscany to have a once in a lifetime adventure.
Several years ago, he started Florencetown Tours. What began as a simple self-guided bike ride around the city has grown into something much bigger. Something more unique. Something more personal.
Last December, I visited Urbano in his office, located a stone's throw from the Arno River. The view alone must provide Urbano with some of his most creative ideas. He is laser-focused on customer service and has a keen understanding of what savvy tourists desire. Urbano will be the first to tell you that what visitors want changes over time.
Take Florencetown, for instance. Many of the companies offerings are group outings. Several people, many who you don't know, take a tour to see David, ride Vespa's, or retrace the footsteps of the Medici family. Typical things a lot of us do but leaves us feeling like a tourist rather than having the authentic experience we yearn for when visiting Italy.
Urbano and his team noticed this and wanted to offer their clients something more. They didn't need to reinvent the wheel; they just needed to look at the way people want to experience Florence and Tuscany differently. By differently, we mean privately, uniquely, and off the beaten path. Something that when you tell your friends what you did on your trip, they say, wow! How in the world did you get to do that?
Urbano makes dreams come true. It shouldn't be that much as a surprise, as you will find out by listening to this podcast, Urbano is one of the biggest dreamers of them all. We are lucky that he wants to share them with the world.