Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Locals I Love – Introducing Alessia Clusini

Back again for yet another awesome interview with una bella Italiana – yes an Italian girl who I recently met for the first time who works in the world of same social media madness as myself. With tattoos and a sly smile, she could have been right at home in the city I lived in before Italy — Los Angeles.

We shared a few glasses of  chardonnay and stories for a couple of hours at Mama’s Bakery. I hope to do the same with her many a time in the near future! Being that I am always curious to see my adopted country through the eyes of a native, especially one who has lived outside of Italy and has forged her own career {not an easy thing to do in recession-hit Italy}. It was only a matter of time that she became a ‘local I love’. Without further ado, pull up a chair, pour yourself an espresso and learn a little about Alessia!

Introduction? Name, nationality, profession and favorite drink? 
• Alessia Clusini but people call me Bella
• Italian
• Social media strategist and art director
• Red wine

Photo by Samuel Webster
Photo by Samuel Webster

How long have you lived in Valtiberina and where are you from originally?
I was born here. Since I moved, I lived in 5 cities, about 25 houses and 9 hotel rooms. I used to come back for what we call feste comandate: Christmas and Easter. I needed to travel the world to understand that I belong to this place.
Wow that is actually really awesome that it took living abroad to see where ‘home’ was for you! What brought you back to Valtiberina and why did you decide to stay?

I came back initially because Berlusconi lost the elections. I was in Australia at that time, and I felt like something was changing. Watching all these people on vespas celebrating from the other side of the world, made me feel deeply homesick. I thought “why not”? I took a flight, and I started travelling in Europe to help me understand what to do with my future. I’ve decided to stay after completing a masters in communication that matched perfectly with everything I learned in Australia. It was faith: it was the right moment to come back and get involved in my own land.

image (2)

Really interesting Alessia, I like that you wanted to be part of a changing Italy! We hear about so many leaving Italy in search of better futures but we should listen more to those who came back, like yourself and why! What are you up to in Valtiberina? Work, daily life, passions?
My job IS my passion. At the moment, I’m working both with Italian and Australian clients, developing social media strategies and supervising communication campaigns. I fell in love with tourism projects, yet always have remained a fashion expert. While here, I started working in an exciting experiential tourism project: Memory Route, based on storytelling and web. It’s a global project that aims to revalue the undiscovered side of Tuscany — Valtiberina, through local stories and traditions. Here, from a local point of view, I’m also working for an Agriturismo: Le Ceregne BIO.

At the moment, we’re offering experiential tours where guests learn farming, make pasta and bread, pick olives and grapes, mushrooms and truffle hunting, enjoy tailor-made green tours and craftmanship tours. We only employ locals and try to give a real sense of local lifestyle to tourists. Also through storytelling and working with local memories… so that they return home having had an amazing experience, without feeling like they have had to spend a fortune to do it! 

In addition, we started content communication via all of our social media and websites, giving local businesses a window to the web. We are the first tourism provider to have here a responsive design website… Valtiberina Toscana is an unknown area in Tuscany, also because of the lack of communication. We created a network of artisans, farmers, tour operators that can now, finally, be seen by an international public.

Photo by Samuel Webster
Photo by Samuel Webster

Wow, I am very impressed and intrigued! Now lets talk gossip.. What annoys you about Valtiberina? Tell me the truth!
As I mentioned before — the lack of communication (but I’m working on it!) and the fact that getting to places without driving is much harder than in a big city.

Fair enough! Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?
I think Italy is for anyone that loves “randomness”, and it works for me as I can develop these various projects while feeling like I’m doing a sort of miracle. That alone pays for all the effort I have to put into it. And… quality of our products is the best. No doubt about that!

What advice would you give a newbie?

Get hands on! Meet locals and try to learn Italian, and teach Italians a little bit of organization, please. We need you guys!

Photo by Samuel Webster

Three finds/places everyone should know about in Valtiberina?
Le Ceregne BIO – for the reasons that I mentioned before
• Anghiari – one of the 100 best Italian borghi (towns) with a great theatre season and stunning landscape
Archivio Diaristico Nazionale – the Italian Archive of Memories is a place full of history and new energy, storytelling is not a trend for them: it’s their job!

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

The weirdest people are the bus drivers, I think. Everytime I travel I wonder if it’s a joke.

HAHA! Yes, I could not agree more, the bus drivers are a special kind of ‘person’ in Italy, that’s for sure!  What can you do here and nowhere else?
Eat amazing things for a cheap price, have a blast with my crazy old friends like Laurone, seeing my Nonna {grandma} everyday, running in the landscape, living in a town that doesn’t even have a traffic light while working via Skype worldwide.


How did you make friends and assimilate?
To be honest, I make friends as I breathe. I am a real social person, even more offline than online.

I always said that in order to be social online you really should learn how to be social offline first! Favorite food {or recipe}.
It depends, it changes all the time. Pappa al pomodoro is a classic: poor Tuscan tradition based only on the quality of ingredients. Quite simple and beautiful.

If you had to make up a tagline for the place – what would it be? 😉 be creative!
Valtiberina is not bullshit. Countryside and Renaissance in Italy feel often pretentious, but not here. You can be who you are.

Photo by Samuel Webster
Photo by Samuel Webster

Where can you connect with Alessia? Find out more about with projects she’s involved with below!

 Photography: Samuel Webster :

To connect with Alessia

Related Posts

0 Responses

  1. What a delightful interview, thanks so much Georgette! Alessia sounds lovely, and she makes me want to come out to Valterina! I totally agree it’s so nice to hear a good news story like this right now.

  2. Lovely interview 🙂 I find it interesting how sometimes you just “know” that it’s the right time to move on, or to go home… and bring your experiences back with you. Great post!

Georgette Jupe

Welcomed to my personal blog by a curious American girl with a semi-confusing name living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico and our beagle Ginger. This blog is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with afar amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland).

recent post
Lonely Planet