Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Locals I Love – Gianna Shepherd



Back again this {Friday} with another addition to ‘Locals I Love’. This week I asked my good friend Gianna to let us into her life for a few seconds this busy girl has free. Me and this girl have gone on our fair share of avventure {adventures} and it seems like when we are together anything weird tends to happen. To be honest, that’s just the kind of friend I like best!

Without further ado, let’s get to know this Bostonian a little better.

Name: Gianna Shepherd, Nationality: American, Job: Florence Assistant Office manager for Bus2alps, favorite drink? Bloody Mary or Vodka Soda

How long have you lived in Florence and where are you from originally. I have lived in Florence since September 2009.

I am originally from Hopkinton, MA.

Hence I always seem to meet people from the Boston area! What brought you to bella Firenze and why did you decide to stay?

I went to Italy when I was a kid with my family and fell in love. When I was attending information sessions when doing my college search, I learned about study abroad. I couldn’t believe it. You can study…in Italy?! Sign me up! Anyway, I loved it so much that I came back after a year of working back in the States. I started out as a nanny and now I work for a student travel agency.

I remember when we could meet in the middle of the day for bagels and a chat at The Diner! What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?

I work as the Florence assistant office manager for Bus2alps, a student travel agency. It is fun because it allows me the chance to make sure that students are having the amazing experience that I had when I studied abroad. For fun, I like to go hiking in Fiesole when possible and just make sure I am enjoying Tuscany.


What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!

I am actually at a happy place with Florence at the moment J. However, sometimes, the hoards of tourists can really bug me when I am trying to get from point A to point B. I suppose when dealing with the bureaucracy in Florence it can definitely get me more than annoyed!

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

I don’t think that life in Italy..or Europe for that matter, is for everyone. It works for me because I make it work, I suppose. I think no matter where you live in the world it is important to have that balance of work and play. And during playtime, it is extremely important to appreciate your surroundings, whether it be the Duomo in Florence or the Prudential in Boston.

Could not agree more, why live in a place if you never…get to see it?! What advice would you give a newbie?

My advice to a newbie would be to be patient. Put yourself out there. Get involved. And just remember, once you make one friend the rest will roll in!


Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

Hm, I think I would have to say the graveyard behind San Miniato, Café Oblate on Via dell’Oriuolo and Palazzo Vecchio inside at night-time.

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

Either bums throwing trash at me on Via Ghibellina or a guy getting his jollies off at my friend and I while we were on the bus…in the middle of the day.

hahaha, I was that person on the bus with you so unfortunately, I remember that a little TOO well. What can you do here and nowhere else?

Live and breathe the renaissance.

How did you make friends and assimilate?

It just kind of all came together. You meet one friend that introduces you to their group of friends and it becomes a domino effect. Next thing you know you have a group of friends to call your own!

Favorite food {or recipe}.

So many! But, my favorite thing to make is stuffed raddichio with crushed walnuts in ricotta and prosciutto crudo. (Cue me kissing my hand like a true Italian and saying MUAH!)

I have totally stolen that recipe! If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative!

Florence…a crazy but awesome place that I now call home!


Thank you so much Gianna!

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0 Responses

  1. It’s so cool how everyone in Florence seems to just get along with each other and become friends naturally. Very unlike the western world of the US. Thanks for sharing these local stories with us so that we can live “virtually” in Florence until we are able to visit in person!

    1. thanks Dave! Florence is a small town so its very probable that you end up running into one another, especially the longer you stay. Plus because we all came here for one reason or another, its as if we are naturally filtered to become friends. :-), we already have something very important in common.,… Florence!

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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