Meet your guide in Florence: “la Vale”

Meet your guide in Florence: “la Vale”, she’ll lead you thru the city’s  alleys to discovery Florence and Tuscany flavors.

valentina

Valentina

Name: Valentina

Nationality and Hometown? I’m a genuine Florentine.

Name of tour you lead and where: I lead the Food tours of Florence, as well as Segway and Bike Tours!

Why you chose to become a touristic guide? Because I simply love Italian art and history and I want to spread my knowledge to the world.

Giulia

This is the famous Giulia

Your favorite part of the tour: I like the fact that our tour introduces my customers also to the shop owners who participate in presenting Florence culinary traditions, making the tour an unconventional one because it isn’t only the guide who speaks. But, to tell the truth, I enjoy too much teasing Giulia at the “balsamic vinegar tasting”, I always drive her mad 🙂

Which is you favorite local restaurant: Mmm…If i have to pick one, I choose “Buca Lapi” I love it especially because is one of the historical restaurant in town. I like best of all their hand-made pasta, the Florentine steak and the great wine selection they offer. Make it a stop of your trip!!

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss: One must-do thing in Florence is to get lost and wander in the Oltrarno area, the side out of the touristic shops and attractions, where one can meet the authentic Florentine spirit and people. Santo Spirito

Favorite Travel Quote? “Be the change you want to see in the world” which is more a life mantra, but is applicable also to travelling.

What’s next on your travel bucket list? First place on the bucket list is Mongolia, since I want it to be special, I’m taking extra time and care to plan this journey. As for next trip, it certainly is to Greece to the complex of Meteora, I just can’t wait!

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Interact with the locals! Florentines are very amusing and you can learn a lot from everyone as well as having fun with them. Do’t be offended if they play you jokes all the time, it’s just the way we are.

Lampredotto

Lampredotto

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Easy question: lampredotto! You might wrinkle your nose at hearing what’s made of, but believe me when I say you must it try before criticize! And I won’t say what it is, for you have to come here and taste it.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? I remember this one time I was on a Bike&Food tour of Florence with a female volleyball dutch team, who were very beautiful girls and everyone would turn their head to look at them. I convinced them to sing Holland’s national anthem while we were pedaling along the city’s boulevards, by the end of it even ambulances and police drives were honking at us for appreciation!! It was hilarious!

What do you like most about leading tours? I take satisfaction at interacting everyday with people from allover the world, who teach me new facts about their country while I stand as a channel between their culture and mine.

When you’re coming to Florence, book your tour and ask for Valentina if you want a tasty introduction to the city and a good laugh!

Meet your guide: Federica on the Florence Food Tour

On this month’s “Meet Your Guide” we’ll introduce you to Federica, a nice and sweet florentine guide, who’ll teach you all about Florence and its’ fantastic culinary traditions. She leads the Florence Food Walking Tour so make sure to book a spot for yourself!

Federica and Mr Marconcini

Federica and Mr Marconcini

Name: Federica

Nationality and Hometown?
Italian, originally from Incisa a nearby town in the country-side of Tuscany.

Name of tour you lead and where:
Food Walking Tour in Florence!

If you are not from the city you are based in for tours, what originally brought you there?
I moved to Florence because I love it and decided to become Touristic Guide because I want to teach people about this wonderful city.

Roasted Coffee Beans

Roasted Coffee Beans

Your favorite part of the tour:
My favourite part of the Food tour is the Coffee Tasting, because most of the people don’t know what an Espresso really is; or what type of coffee you drink everyday: Arabica or Robusta? And I bet you don’t know what Kopi Luwak is..?!

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city:
In the historical center my favorite place is “Sasso di Dante” a restaurant that’s right next to the Duomo, worth even only for the view on the Cupola, but the pasta and meat  dishes are good too! If you want to stay away from the city center and want to go for a characteristic Florentine restaurant than you place is “Il Papero Rosso”, beware:  you’ll have a fantastic time!

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss:
In Florence? Nothing can be missed! If I have to choose, I’d say the Santa Croce Church! It’s a most fascinating place, full of history and representative of the people that made Florence know and important throughout the world. It’s also the place where Michelangelo is buried!

Favorite Travel Quote?
“People don’t take trips… trips take people” by John Steineck, who really nailed it with this quote. It’s the travel itself that elevates one’s soul and character, every time you travel you change, because you experience another country’s lifestyle, another culture and other traditions.

What’s next on your travel bucket list?
I have Australia as first on the bucket list destinations….and this year I’m going to go! I have already everything planned out, this is like a dream that comes true, I can’t wait!!

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to?  
More than a city, I love to travel to Sicily- Sicilia. The places and history are amazing, the people are wonderful, welcoming and fun. Food it’s ecstasy and if you pair it with the sea view, it’s heaven! Nothing’s best that a nice restaurant at sunset, with view on the seaside.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy?

That’s a hard one. One thing that I’d like to recommend is to enjoy every aspect of Italy, good and bad.

Handcrafted Gelato

Handcrafted Gelato

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving?
Gelato! And mind, I’m not speaking of ice-cream. We are talking about GELATO hand made by artisans, with fresh milk, fruit, cocoa, cream! Stay away from the high mountains of ice-cream on display in the bars, choose instead the real “Gelateria” (gelato shop) the ones that have flat trays of gelato, or those with covered Gelato bulks. Those are the ones you want to eat!

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours?

Every tour has it’s memorable experiences so it’s hard to tell. Certainly the most curious time, was when one of my customer had her first taste of coffee ever in her life! She made a face, that probably was due to the bitterness, but all-in-all she liked it!

 

Typical Tuscan Cold Cuts and Cheese

Typical Tuscan Cold Cuts and Cheese

What do you like most about leading tours?
Ha, this is easy: meeting people from all over the world. It’s cliche, but’s the truth: people literally come from everywhere and food is indicative of one’s culture, and on this tour I present my traditions and tastes to people who compare it with theirs’ and it’s always a rich exchange of facts. Customers are not the only ones learning something new!

What makes your tour unique?
You’ll have to do it to know! J Well I tell very good stories and food facts that’ll make the tastings even more enjoyable.

 

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, book your food tour and we’ll take you to taste our country! See you in Florence!

Meet your guide: Coral on the Florence Food Tour

Italy Food Culture  is here to promote and educate the cornerstones of Italian food with Italian recipes, useful articles, as well as various food tasting cultural tours in Italy. We are rolling out a monthly “Meet Your Guide” section so you can get to know your friendly, knowledgeable food tour guides and tour leaders before you take one of the food tasting tours offered in Florence, Milan or Rome. If you have any more for us- let us know! Or ask us in person on one of the Food Tours in Italy.

Coral's hobby is wine.

Coral’s hobby is wine.

Now….meet your guide: Coral on the Florence Food Tour!

Name: Coral

Nationality and Hometown? American, from Seattle!

Name of tour you lead and where: Florence Food Tour in gorgeous Firenze!

If you are not from the city you are based in for tours, what originally brought you there? I originally came to Florence on a wine studies program and since Florence stole my heart I stayed. Now I stay busy with leading food and wine tasting tours.

Your favorite part of the tour? I love when people learn about something for the first time, especially when they learn about the intricacies of Italian coffee culture at the coffee tasting stop.

learning the difference between Arabica and Robusta on the Florence Food Tour

learning the difference between Arabica and Robusta on the Florence Food Tour

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city? Sabatino’s in San Frediano. It’s a totally traditional family-run trattoria with so much soul and extremely affordable food and house wine. I love taking guests from out of town there so they can experience the real Florentine dining culture.

The first Duomo climb in 2005!

The first Duomo climb in 2005!

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss? Climbing the Duomo. That is how I fell in love with Florence 10 years ago on my 1st visit.

Do you have a Favorite Travel Quote? “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it” by George A. Moore

What’s next on your travel bucket list? That’s a toughy! It’s currently split between Argentina and Turkey.

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to?  It’s so cliché but I love going to Rome. Living in Florence is laid-back but sometimes I miss a big city. There is always something going on in Rome in terms of art, music, festivals, food and drink which makes me feel a bit at home since Seattle is also very happening.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Be adventurous- live like an Italian for a bit. i.e. Please don’t expect bacon and eggs for breakfast with a big cup of America coffee. Instead enjoy a fresh baked pastry and a cappuccino at a local bar/cafe. Let your normal habits take a vacation, too. Repeat often: When in Rome!

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? In Florence, please try lampredotto or some sort of offal. If you can’t stomach it, at least have something typically Tuscan that is not pizza or pasta: i.e. Pappa al Pomodoro or Panzanella.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? That is really hard because all of my guests are so memorable (I’ve hosted an array of inspiring professionals like fashion journalists and chefs) but it’s usually memorable when I have guests who taste and learn about truffle for the first time and of course love it.

Truffle panino- found on our Food Tours in Florence

Truffle panino- found on our Food Tours in Florence

What do you like most about leading tours? I might have already said, but there is a deep satisfaction I derive from seeing a guest learn something new about Italian food culture and remarking that they want to bring that home with them. I think countries like America really have something to learn from Italian food culture.

What makes your tour unique? I love illustrating contrasts and noting differences between Italian and American food culture since I generally understand both of them as an American-born food blogger with an unreal love for Italy.

Stay tuned! Next month we will introduce you to one of our food tour guides in Milan!

Would you like to take a Food Tour in Florence with Coral on your future trip to Italy? Just send us a request!

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