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Locals I Love – Michela Simoncini

michela
Introducing this week’s ‘local I love’, Michela Simoncini, who is Italian, works as a Social Media Manager (sounds familiar) and loves all sorts of drinks from wine to “Sbagliato”, from cappuccino to your classic Americano (the coffee), from Moscow Mule to Amaro del Capo, and on and on! I think you get the point here, Michela is a fun girl! I met her through several blogging adventures and at several Yelp events around town. Let’s get to know this Italiana a little better, shall we?

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

I’ve lived in Florence since January 2010. I was born in Rimini, which is on the Italian East coast and it’s a pretty famous town because of Fellini, the film director; piada, a kind of bread with no yeast that you can fill with anything you want (cheese, vegetables, salami and so on); not to mention the fun you can have with all of the clubs in the surrounding area. Nevertheless, I grew up in Pisa, the city of Leaning Tower.

Not a bad place to be born if you ask me! What brought you to bella Firenze and why did you decide to stay

At the end of 2009 I started working in Firenze in a digital marketing agency: we are used to communicating about Tuscany via social media, so I decided that this was the best opportunity to leave mom & dad and to start being an adult 😉

Not always an easy transition in Italy when many still live at home. What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?

My work often brings me far from Firenze so I have a passion for travelling as well. I have to be honest: I don’t really know my city! On the other hand, I can say that every walk downtown I take is a new discovery, a new wonder, it’s like always being a tourist!

Michela in London

Michela in London

What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!

I personally appreciate Scandinavian and Northern Europe cities, such as Amsterdam or Stockholm, because they aren’t too massive and you can go wherever you want with public transportation, which is efficient and clean. I hate public transportation in Florence (well, in Italy in general). You can’t trust a bus, they arrive before the schedule or never. There are areas and time zones which are uncovered by public transit and I am forced to grab a taxi. This is a shameful in 2013, especially in such an international city.

You know I agree with you! Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?

I don’t know if it works for me: I’ve always dreamt to expat, but life events and/or my lack of bravery have always made me remain here. Generally, you have to be really patient if you want to settle here, because the beauty of my country isn’t enough in certain situations.

What advice would you give a newbie?

I would recommend to find as soon as possible a hobby to share with a group of locals or other expats. Even a simple thing, such as going to the gym. If you like food and trying new restaurants, the Yelp Firenze community wins: it’s composed with Florentine, Italian and foreign people.

Right there with you, I am a huge fan of Yelp. Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

Since I still feel like a tourist this is a tricky question. Let me think…
 Heading up to Fiesole, there’s a scenic point which will leave you simply speechless. It’s on the right, before Fiesole’s main square. I guess it’s less famous than Piazzale Michelangelo, so you can have a romantic date there without the Japanese taking silly pictures close to you! (yes, I have some issues with the Japanese 😛 )

Then there’s Ponte Santa Trinita, where you can take amazing pictures of Ponte Vecchio (because if you walk on Ponte Vecchio you don’t really see it!) while trying a really good ice-cream purchased at the gelateria in front of the bridge (remember that 90% of the gelato facing the churches and monuments and along the main streets is fake, not good and extremely expensive – not anything like a ‘real’ gelateria … Instead try Edoardo Il Gelato Biologico between the back and the right side of the Duomo), it’s amazing! 

My passion for food wants to tell you that you have to eat as much as possible. Avoid places with waiters who try to grab you and make you sit down! Prepare your trip to Florence at home by looking at food blogs (preferably Italian) and reviews about restaurants and bars, so you’ll be “covered” for the first days, than it’s ok to discover new places when you’ll have understood what’s the real, authentic Tuscan/Italian cuisine (no tagliolini Alfredo, no lasagna or spaghetti Bolognese – they’re not even Italian!). A good place to eat,is in front of Cappelle Medicee, called Cipolla Rossa.

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Great tips! What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?

People are always weird. My Australian roommate said the word “weird” after every 5 words. As an Italian, the weirdest things are the tourists’ behaviors. I believe living in such a touristic place like Firenze made me a bit intolerant, but some people are really strange: they take pictures of trains, they put Ketchup on pasta while also sipping a cappuccino, they wear short shorts and flip-flops when it’s 10°C outside or boots when it’s 25… I don’t know… 

What can you do here and nowhere else?

You can see everything described above… and admire a city that really has remained the same since the time of the Renaissance. Sometimes I’d like to see different things – such as a glass skyscraper… I don’t know: we Italians have this enormous artistic heritage throughout our country that sometimes I pray for something new, then I think that this would “globalize” the skyline so I say… meh… In the end, old is good!

How did you make friends and assimilate?

Another difficult question! I really find it difficult to meet new people in Florence! I’m always abroad, but when I’m here it sometimes happens that, for example during one night out with a girlfriend, no-one started talking to us! Are Florence guys shy, or closed? I don’t know the answer, but I have so many friends online and in other places that sometimes it’s easier to talk to them! Any suggestion to fill this gap?

Meet me! haha Favorite food {or recipe}?

Ok, this is my favorite question! My n°1 dish is piada, but it’s difficult to find it in Florence – I mean, the real one! – like real pizza… My Florentine must have when I go out are coccoli – fried pizza dough – with stracchino cheese and prosciutto, but I also like sausage and stracchino crostini.

Finocchiona (smooth salami with seeds) is awesome, and of course the bistecca fiorentina needs a mention! Then pappa al pomodoro, ribollita and panzanella, it depends on the season (please, don’t ask for ribollita during summer: it’s refrigerated because it’s made with winter ingredients!).

Pici is also a great pasta, you can find it made with many sauces: the wild boar ragù is one of my favourite (don’t miss the Sagra del Cinghiale [www.facebook.com/sagra.del.cinghiale.di.chianni] – wild boar feast – which takes place in November in a town close to Pisa, Chianni).

And Pecorino cheese?! Uh… this cheese, is the reason for my cholesterol! 😀 In Pienza (a small town in Valdorcia: the best hills and medieval towns you can find in Tuscany are there) they are cheese masters!
I really like to vary what I eat, so this list could be endless and contaminated by some Asian/Tex-Mex/French dishes and this would be off topic so… this is enough for the moment!

I am a total food-obsessed person so thank YOU for taking the time to answer that question so thoroughly! One last one and then I will leave you, If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative!

Firenze: crazy people, stunning corners, merry food and undiscovered places that.. I need to discover

Thank you Georgette for this place you dedicated to me on your blog ^_^!

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It was great getting to know this Italian expat a little better, she herself has an awesome blog ‘Comunicatestesso’ so be sure to check out her daily musings there, twitter or Facebook!

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12 Comment

  1. marziatag
    26.09.2013 at 11:24

    French food really?? Are you our of your mind Micky?? It was very nice reading the interview, but after all the food talk now i want to eat an entire wild boar!! You know that when you decide to expat, Paris and I are waiting for you!! :-*

    1. ggnitaly84
      26.09.2013 at 12:54

      seriously though, this post made me too hungry… french italian boars, butter.. just hand it on over!

    2. Michela Simoncini (@comunicami)
      26.09.2013 at 16:16

      yes! I wet to a French restaurant and I ate escargots!!! First and last time, but macarons were wonderful! see you in a couple of months in Budapest, Marzia :*

  2. Michela Simoncini (@comunicami)
    26.09.2013 at 12:36

    Thanks a lot for this interview! That was fun 🙂

    1. ggnitaly84
      26.09.2013 at 12:54

      thank you for being so honest!

  3. Cindy
    26.09.2013 at 16:53

    Very nice interview, very nice girl! And michaela, I think it is still a big decision to move away from Pisa to live in Florence…it can be very hard. Also with the guys, I would just assume the ones you saw had girlfriends so don’t pay any attention to them;). My guy friends are very into eachother when they are out, really, like no one else is in the room! So, Keep going out and having fun!

    1. ggnitaly84
      26.09.2013 at 16:59

      What a nice comment, thank you for replying to her Cindy!

    2. Michela Simoncini (@comunicami)
      27.09.2013 at 15:26

      Thank you Cindy ^_^ Fingers are crossed and new friends always welcome!

      1. Cindy
        30.09.2013 at 4:59

        Well, I should be in florence a few days at the end of October. I would love to get a chance to meet michela or georgette…But it is almost impossible for me to make plans, as I will be completely dependent on my italian friends. At their mercy, like always!!!;) i love them…

        1. ggnitaly84
          30.09.2013 at 9:29

          haha well just keep us posted Cindy!

  4. Gil
    28.09.2013 at 0:08

    Great post! Nice to hear what the locals have to say every now and then.

    1. Michela Simoncini (@comunicami)
      28.09.2013 at 17:06

      Thank you Gil 🙂

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