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Locals I Love – Emilia & Aidan

20130501_16-10-56_-®CoxMugnai_DSC_5558This weeks ‘Local I love’ is actually not just one but rather two people, a very cool couple Emilia & Aidan. I met Emilia through my friend Katey at a blogger workshop she hosted about a year ago and I remember thinking what an amazing person she was. She has the kind of biography that I wish I could pocket myself.

Now luckily for me, she and her husband’s startup Family Nation has a place at my work (Nana Bianca startup incubator) and I get to see their dream grow even further first hand. Something very special indeed when you live in a country that is famous for halting progress rather than encouraging it.

Without further ado, lets get to know them a little better.

Nationality –  Emilia is Italian, Aidan is British, Profession – Both are former UN aid workers turned online entrepreneurs with www.family-nation.com an online boutique for beautiful and sustainable baby and maternity products.  Um how cool is THAT. I wish I could borrow that as my byline! Favourite drink: Emilia – Campari; Aidan — a Cosmo (if in New York!) or a Prosecco. Both great choices if you ask me.

Aidan, taken in Jordan in an emergency response training with the UN

Aidan, taken in Jordan in an emergency response training with the UN

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

We’ve been in Florence since September 2011. Well, actually, I, Emilia was born here but I have been living outside of Italy since 2000 and this new stretch feels like a whole new adventure + I feel this city has really changed so it feels like a new start!

What brought you to bella Firenze and why did you decide to stay

We had a wonderful 10 years in Asia – Afghanistan and then Thailand, where Flavia and Tancredi were born. But working in regional jobs meant so much travel that we didn’t have enough time with our babes, so we’ve upped sticks and moved to Firenze, where they also get to enjoy Emilia’s grandparents and extended Italian family! Plus Aidan is British, where else could he want to live?

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

Working on Family Nation takes up a lot of our creative energy although it’s thrilling and exhilarating to set up our own business. On the plus side it has flexible hours, so we enjoy the chance to walk our kids to school and spend time with them in the evenings. We also love going for walks on the hills around Florence and enjoy the changing seasons. And we LOVE a good aperitivo!!

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What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!

Emilia: Florentine attitude. I seem to see it and feel it more than Aidan. Things have changed a lot but some Florentines still think that Florence is the centre of the world!

Aidan: Very little! I’m back on my bike, the kids now love walking (there are local woods to explore and beauty all around), and regarding Florentine attitude I think my dodgy Italian accent must breed sympathy, as people are nice to me!

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

Aidan: if you value beauty, seas-you-don’t-freeze-in and delicious affordable food, and can live with adults who keep kids inside with the first drop of rain plus an impenetrable tax system, you’re going to love it!

What advice would you give a newbie?

Talk to everyone you meet, and in time you’ll find locals you can become friends with (though a few people may think you’re crazy along the way. And don’t even think about changing from one utility provider to another, thinking you’ll save money. You’ll just end up in chaos.

Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

  • Caffeteria della Biblioteca delle Oblate for lunches or coffees overlooking Duomo, at a good price and few tourists.
  • Aperitivo: We like San Niccolo – Easy Living, Plaz (Piazza Dei Ciompi), Pop Café and Volume (Santo Spirito) in the summer. Still working on finding a favourite place for the winter months.
  • Procacci. This little bar in Via Tornabuoni serves the most dainty panini Tartufati and great wines in an old fashioned setting. I remember going there with my uncle as a special treat when i was a child and it is still the same!

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What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?
I have to agree with you Georgette, it has to be ATAF drivers.
Aidan: it has to be the first parents evening at school where, no exaggeration, 1.5 hours of a 2 hour meeting was spent talking about school food – was it up to standard, was it organic, is long pasta safe (eg spaghetti) or should it be only short pasta. For me the food is so good I’d have lunch at school every day if I could!

hahahha thanks Emilia and Aidan, I concur, after seeing the twitter updates on what the school kids are eating from @comuneFi, I am personally jealous! What can you do here and nowhere else?

Live on a hill just a couple of km away from the centre with an amazing view of the city. The cityscape is breathtaking and it does not cease to amaze us. Making a stop to admire an early medieval church next door to a super modern Diesel shop. Eat lampredotto , yucks!

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How did you make friends and assimilate?
The kids’ schools have been a good way to make new friends among the parents. Although, Aidan is very good at making friends anyway, he meets people at the park or just having coffee in Via Gioberti! And they are all interesting people!

Favorite food {or recipe}.
Our favourite food ritual is the cappuccino and pastry in the morning. We save it for Saturdays or to treat ourselves. A good sfoglia alla crema with a cappuccino cannot be beaten!

I am dreaming of a pastry myself.. If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative!

Florence: Love it or leave it! And then … come back!

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Now that is a good one, brava ragazzi! It was a pleasure getting to know you guys better and seeing why Florence has now become your home (again). You guys can find Emilia and Aidan at Family Nation, twitter or facebook!

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0 Comment

  1. msellick
    17.10.2013 at 10:06

    I like their motto…..we loved Firenze, left if and are coming back for the third time next month!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Gil
    17.10.2013 at 23:36

    Loved this interesting & informative post. Especially, their motto!

    1. ggnitaly84
      17.10.2013 at 23:42

      thanks gil, they did have the best motto!