This week, I would like to introduce you to the beautiful land of the Renaissance and the green hills: Tuscany. The best way to do that is, in my opinion, by the direct experience of people living there.
I’m pleased to welcome Katie Greenaway, who some years ago felt in love with Italy and decided to leave Chicago, starting a new life adventure here. After reading her blog “Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino”, where she tells about her life in Florence, I was curious to know more about her point of view concerning the region she choose to live in. I love her passion and enthusiasm in appreciating every big or even small thing she meets with, and her ability in capturing precious moments with her camera. Enjoy your reading!
1) Can you tell us three negative and a three positive aspects about living in Italy?
Negatives: Nothing is open in the afternoon and on Sundays. Waiting in line at the post office. The monthly paychecks are hard to get used to.
Positives: Bike-riding to work is my favorite thing to do. A train can take you to most places. When I speak Italian now, I finally am getting a response in Italian.
2) Which touristic and non touristic places in Tuscany would you recommend to visit?
One place that isn't very touristic is Volterra. I think it is just a gorgeous hill town. Assisi is a great city to visit on a warm spring day. So much to see and many views of the valleys below.
3) Which is the most romantic city you’ve visited in Tuscany?
I guess I am bias since I live here, but Florence for me is the most romantic city in Tuscany.
4) Would you like to share with us some of your beautiful photos which, in your opinion, represent Tuscany?
I would love to share some of my photos that represent Tuscany. I took some gorgeous photos in Grassina when I was a nanny there in 2008.
5) What are your favourite Tuscan wines?
My favorite Tuscan wines are anything with Sangiovese grapes and Montepulciano or Montalcino wines. Nothing is more divine in my opinion.
6) What stroked you most when you first visited Italy?
I was so surprised on how people lived their lives. I was attracted to the lifestyle and easygoing of how each day unfolded. There was a relaxing vibration when I met Italians. I could tell they are grateful for what they have. They enjoy life! The afternoons were also so quiet while everyone was at home eating lunch. So peaceful.
7) Is there something that you never thought to find in Italy?
I never thought I would meet so many foreigners. I have friends from Turkey, Denmark, Australia, Ireland, France. It was a great surprise to find an Italian-speaking girl from Turkey. :)
8) Apart from Tuscany, which places in Italy do you like most, and why?
I truly fell in love with Umbria on my trip to Perugia 3 years ago. There is a peacefulness in those hill towns. Like they are invincible and can't be touched.
9) What’s your favourite folk festival in Tuscany?
I wish I had a favorite folk festival in Tuscany unfortunately I know of only festivals in Florence since I have no transportation to get me outside of the center. I am always in Florence enjoying festivals in the piazze nearby my house.
10) If you were to give advice to travellers who are visiting Tuscany for the first time, what would you say?
Embrace Tuscany as if it was a long lost relative. Respect the people, the food and the culture. Dress appropriately when visiting monuments, landmarks and churches. Don't be demanding or crude, you are a guest in Italy. Try to speak the Italian you know, Italians appreciate the effort. Enjoy each site you see and capture the culture with your camera.