I sat at the kitchen table between my Italian boyfriend, Francesco, and his mom near the sink, trapped in an awkward place where her insults had to pass through me to get to him. All of the blood in her body had rushed into her face as she listed off the many reasons American women make terrible mothers. She lifted a saucepan in the air like she was about to bludgeon me with it, then turned and chucked it into the soapy water, sending a tidal wave of suds crashing onto the counter. When she turned her back to violently scrub the dishes, I snuck out the sliding glass door.
That’s a passage from the book “Naked In Italy”, a memoir by M.E. Evans detailing her not so fairytale adventure of living in Florence. Sure there were the rolling hills of the Val d'Orcia, cheap wine, and good looking Italian men. But as M.E. explains in the book and in this podcast, no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape life.
Our conversation with her is candid. She doesn’t hold back and her humor that is on display in the book comes out as quick wit on this podcast. If you love to laugh, if your cherish honesty, and if you love the roller coaster of life with Tuscany as the backdrop then you are going want to buy Naked In Italy today! You won’t want to put it down.
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What started as a simple website and blog telling you about the unique and chic in Florence, Italy, has now turned into a 200+ page book.
Nardia Plumridge has published the ultimate guide for the Renaissance City, "Lost In Florence." The travel book is a comprehensive dive to the very best places to eat, drink, shop and explore; so on your visit, you feel more like a local rather than a tourist. Nardia takes you behind the facade of the palazzi to a magical journey down the cobblestone side streets of Florence to discover vintage stores housing designer names, restaurants offering farm-to-table dishes and boutique hotels in 16th-century buildings.
Nardia was a guest on the Total Tuscany Podcast back in 2015. She's a journalist by trade; her passion is telling stories that inspire people to travel and search for the hidden games that are one-of-a-kind. Nadia has contributed to the New York Times and is considered the Tuscan expert for Expedia. The conversation we have with her on this podcast focuses on what went into writing the book, the best times to visit Tuscany and Florence, and where she plans to get "Lost In" next.
The book, "Lost in Florence" features five main sections; Wine, Dine,Fine Sublime and Nine, covering the very best in food and drink, fashion, cultural experiences and Nardia's top nine Florentine markets, Gelatarias, Pizzerias and more. Full day itineraries help you navigate the best of the city, and the day trip section to nearby Siena, Cinque Terre and the Chianti wine region allows you to make the most of your trip.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Nardia as much as you enjoy her book.
We have done several interviews here on the Total Tuscany Podcast. This being the 58th episode we have introduced you to fascinating people who make Tuscany so unique. With no disrespect to our previous guests, our discussion with Andrew Cotto just might be our favorite.
Why do you ask? Well, there are a number of reasons, but the number one reason is we just connected with him. We are similar in age, love food, wine, people, and most of all Tuscany.
Andrew lives in New York City. He is an author, academic, and if you can’t tell by his last name, comes from Italian descent. When he was in this 30’s Andrew was looking for a life change (don’t we all go through this?) Unlike so many of us he actually acted on his impulse, quit his job, sold some property, and moved to Italy for a year this wife and young daughter.
What came out of that one year? Memories to last a lifetime for sure and the inspiration to write! Andrew has penned three novels; his latest, Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure. We dive deep into the book throughout the interview but here’s a taste of what the book is about... food!
Andrew has a dynamic personality. He’s and award winning author and has written travel articles for the biggest newspapers and magazines in the world and today we are fortunate enough to have him be our guest and share his amazing story with you.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Looking back, that quote from Wayne Dyer had significant meaning for Lisa Condie. Lisa has been a guest on this podcast before, talking about her tour company, Find Yourself in Tuscany. She's a model for greatness and inspiration for women everywhere. Successful and living abroad in one of the world's most beautiful cities, Lisa is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TUT, and she's been featured on the Today Show.
Lisa is in control and maybe the happiest she has ever been in her life.
I have some news for you, like almost every real success story, the journey along the way is filled with pain, disappointment, regret, even suffering.
In her book, I Found Myself in Tuscany, Lisa describes in great detail her first three years in Tuscany. She describes her journey of becoming an ex-pat much like a love affair; infatuation, doubt, and finally total acceptance.
But why in the world would a beautiful mother of two, successful business owner from Salt Lake City, Utah end up in Florence, Italy in the first place?
That answer is how Lisa found herself in Tuscany. She is incredibly open and honest in our interview. Her story is one that many women are living today but don't know how to change the narrative.
Lisa is the first person to admit you don't have to move to Florence, Italy to change your life; it's what worked for her. But if you want to change, if you want a fresh start, it's possible, and the story Lisa tells in her book just might be your inspiration to say, now is the time.
After hearing Lisa's story, you may just want to join her in Tuscany! She has a Signature Tour planned for April and October that is eight days and seven nights. Lisa can also help you customize your Tuscan vacation itinerary and plan a retreat.
Lisa Condie found herself in Tuscany, will you?
This is an honest and inspiring memoir written by one of the most honest and inspiring women I know! Far from the "same old story" about an American woman coming to Italy to find love and passion, this is Lisa's real journey to get to know herself as well as her new host country after her life had taken an unforeseen turn. Lisa tells her story in clear and descriptive prose--you truly feel as though you are with her as she navigates her way through the Italian language, makes friends up and down the Tuscan region, discovers new places that become extremely dear to her, and ultimately starts her own business so that she can share her discoveries--and her joy--with others. Read this book if you are looking for inspiration from a strong, smart, determined and loving woman who transformed her life and found happiness, yes, in Italy--but more importantly, inside herself.-Alexandra Lawrence
Travis Justice & Pat Campagna have been traveling to Tuscany since 2009. They produce the Total Tuscany Podcast and all the content on this website.