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Locals I Love – Kristina ‘Yelp’ Grancaric

kristina_yelp_firenze

It’s with great pleasure that I introduce this week’s ‘Local I Love’ – Kristina, the Yelp Firenze community manager and a friend of mine. She is somewhat of an anomaly in Italy – half Canadian half Italian and can speak both English and Italian without an accent. You could say that I’m jealous — and you would be right ;-).

I would describe Kristina as young, gorgeous and motivated – which is refreshing to see in recession-hit Italy. I met her through the various Yelp events around town, you would be surprised how popular this site is becoming in Italy. Personally I am a huge fan and have gone to several of the events, it’s always a great time and an opportunity to mingle with Italians. Without further ado, let’s get to know this bubbly blonde a little better!

Basic deets: Nationality: italian and Canadian, Profession: Yelp Firenze Community Manager, favorite drink: Mojito

How long have you lived in Florence and where are you from originally.

I came to Florence when I was 9 with my family. My mother is from the deep south (Calabria) and I grew up with Italian grandparents. My nonna made pasta and polpette, but I never learned Italian, I just loved her food, and became a “buona forchetta” when I was little.

Well I’m 27 now, so you can do the math, I’ve became a real Fiorentina in the years, but always kept a hidden passion for a good plate of pancakes or red liquorice.

My father is Croatian, I know it’s confusing. We choose Florence, yes I was in on the decision even at 9, because of its size, beauty and we had some family here.

I like how ‘confusing’ where you come from is, just makes you that much more interesting and international! What keeps you in bella Firenze and have you thought about leaving, if so – why?

Well you really fall in love with this city; it’s a perfect size, and very livable. Well of course I have thought of leaving, but I never have so it must mean something.
I would leave for a lot of reasons, Italy is not going through the best period, but I really want to be positive and think that our generation will make things better.

Well now I’m staying also because I have the best job ever! Being the CM of Yelp in Florence I get to discover the newest, coolest places in the city and meet a lot of interesting people. This job has made me discover a really active part of Florence that I didn’t know before.

What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?

Well I eat, eat a little more and then go out for dinner. Yes food is a very important part of my life in this period! I love discovering new places, not just fancy restaurants, but even places that make the best shiacciata or the best ice cream in town, yes we are doing a Yelp Gelato Tour every week.

I work at a co-working and love the fact of meeting new people all the time. I go to a lot of parties and organize them myself for Yelp and our community in Florence.

Um gelato tour?! Sign me up! What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!

Ok where do I start? Joking… The traffic, the parking, prices, sometimes the people I meet are not that open to new things, and it’s a real pity. But there are so many things I love that in the end all the rest doesn’t matter, I just take a stroll through the center and Lungarni and it feels right.

Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?

It’s not for everyone, we have to understand that it’s a different culture and respect it. I was working for a relocation company before Yelp and I had to make foreigners happy, and help them find a house, schools etc…

It wasn’t easy, you can’t come here and think it’s going to be the same as living in NY, but if you love it, you look at the good sides.

photobooth05

I can imagine the stories from relocation, some people are impossible to please. What advice would you give a newbie?

There are lines everywhere, take it slow, don’t be in a hurry! And have a good coffee whenever you can! Oh yeah, and go to the outskirts of Florence to have a good Bistecca Fiorentina!

Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

1. Le Oblate, bar/library with an amazing view of the Cupola, where you can get a coffee and read a newspaper or a good book.

http://www.yelp.it/biz/caffetteria-delle-oblate-firenze

2. Giardino Bardini amazing view of the city there is a little bar where you can have lunch or get a drink, and the garden is a beauty.http://www.yelp.it/biz/fondazione-parchi-monumentali-bardini-e-peyron-firenze

3. I’ve recently discovered Riva d’Arno, prices are good for been in the center, and they have some really good wines and it’s right on the River side.
http://www.yelp.it/biz/riva-d-arno-wine-bar-fi

Highly agree with all three of your tips! What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?

Well I think buses are the place where the weirdest thing can happen, I’m not going to give details just a little advice: a bike is a great solution for transport if you living in the center.

Yep, I pretty much could write an entire series of my own personal experiences on the ATAF public buses. What can you do here and nowhere else?

Eat the best Steak ever and then go for a walk in the center, have a date at Piazzale Michelangelo, buy a ring on Ponte Vecchio.

I am still waiting for someone to buy me a ring on the Ponte Vecchio. haha I wish! How did you make friends and assimilate?

With Yelp! Seriously, it’s a way of bringing people who have the same interests together, and getting them to know each other. If not it’s not that easy to meet new people.

I know Yelp works because it’s how I met you! :-). Favorite food {or recipe}.

Having Calabrese blood, I love La Parmigiana, but Ravioli di Patate Muggellani with ragù sauce is amazing too.

If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative!

It’s not true there’s nothing to do in Florence, trust me, I’m out all the time!

Thank you so much Kristina! You are a pleasure to interview and I look forward to our Yelp adventures. Plus, I mean.. gelato tour. Need I say more?

If you want to connect with Kristina, you can find her all over Yelp, on Facebook or Twitter!

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