Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Locals I Love – Elena Farinelli


elena farinelli

This week’s local I love is someone who actually was part of the reason I started this blog! When I first moved to Florence, I was always seeking out info about cool, cheap events around town and I discovered Elena’s awesome blog {in Italian}

She does such a great job of keeping it up and discovering awesome {new} places in Firenze which always helps me discover the next cool place to go. Plus, she also happens to be a super ‘solare’ {Italian word for sunny} person in real life. Bonus! Let’s get to know THE Italian blogger to know-about-town Elena :-).

DEETS: Name: Elena, Nationality: Italian, Occupation: Web marketing consultant, favorite drink: Wine or Mojito

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

I was born in Florence but my  family is not from Florence, therefore I don’t have any relatives actually living here.  Since I was a child, I spent all my holidays away from the city. My parents don’t speak Florentine, neither did I. So when I was younger everybody kept asking me … where are you from?!

That’s interesting, but now I am sure you mix it up with some Florentine slang, no? 😉 What keeps you in bella Firenze and have you ever thought about leaving?
When I graduated I thought about moving away from Florence and going to Milan or Rome, or maybe even the US for a while. Then I realized that there are many job opportunities here! But I also admitted to myself that there’s no place in the world so beautiful! I think the level of the quality of life in Italy is very high in general and much more so even in Tuscany. The weather, the food, the people, the monuments… I could not leave all these things. 

elena al forte belvedere

I don’t blame you Elena, I can’t live without those things either! What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?
I live, love, work… in Florence!

What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!
The fact that many locals don’t accept that the world is changing, we must change things if we want people to come here every year (I am talking about contemporary art, live music, and even opening hours!). The behavior of some restaurant & bar owners who try to take advantage of the tourists: different prices (very expensive) for foreigners instead of the ones for Florentines is really unacceptable! Also public transportation is terrible, except for “Tramvia”, it is shameful that we don’t have an efficient public transport system.

The fact that someone like you is saying that and not me, means a lot! We can only hope that people understand that change is a GOOD thing and Florence shouldn’t be an open air museum for tourists. Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?
Well, since I am Italian, it’s a weird question, but I think if you are coming from a very remote place, with a very different culture, food, language (ex. Japan)… it’s very hard to understand some of our “simple” unwritten rules. The fact that we don’t respect queues, the fact we use a higher voice and always use mobile phones… If you are tolerant, it’s funny! 

On the other hand we are very open to other people, we don’t have big prejudices and we are known to be very friendly. Well.. this is not true for Florence!!!

nelli al barcamp

I was going to say…. What advice would you give a newbie?
1. Try to make at least 1 real friend and ask him/her to introduce you to his/her friends.

2. Try to dress like a local (for ex. Don’t wear flip flops until August… we normally wear boots until the temperature is very hot!)

3. Go to places (restaurants, bar, pubs, stores..) in the suburbs: Florentines don’t go clubbing in the center.

4. Learn Italian, since Florentines don’t speak English.

Great tips! I think getting out of your comfort zone and exploring non-central areas is a great idea. Plus yes, put away those crocs’s {we know they are comfortable} and embrace Italian style! Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?
1) Absolutely Sweet Wine bar: it’s a small place owned by 3 young guys where you can have a delicious lunch or a great aperitif, served with a great wine glass! 
2) The Rose garden close to Piazzale Michelangelo: it’s a lovely garden with many roses and a pretty great view of Florence, plus the entrance is free 

3) Pizzeria Palazzo Pretorio in San Donato. Actually it’s not in Florence, just 20 minutes away, but there can be many ways to get there even if you don’t have a car. Taste Giovanni Santarpia’s pizza and forget about everything else.

nelli a londra

What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?
Watching a Calcio Storico Fiorentino match. A lot of people fighting in the middle of the square.. and nobody even cares about the ball!!!

hahahaha, I have yet to see Calcio Storico in person. What can you do here and nowhere else?
Have an aperitif watching Michelangelo’s David or the Ponte Vecchio.

How did you make friends and assimilate? What do you find as a challenge?

Some of my friends come from high school, but I have met a lot of people also thanks to my blog ( Normally the best way to meet people, except from having a friend who introduces you to his/her friends, is to attend some courses. I have met many good friends by attending Salsa, Sommelier, Theatre lessons…
That’s actually a great idea, thanks for sharing. Favorite food {or recipe}.

There are many… probably one of the best things that I literally adore are fried pumpkin flowers. In this period, you can find them everywhere and they are simply delicious!!!
If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative!
It’s not easy going out, dining or clubbing in a city that had its prime in the Renaissance. But I am really in love with Florence!

nelli a elba uva

Thank you so much Elena for sharing, you are still my go-to when I am looking for a new place to try around town! Prosecciamo presto, ok? 

Connect with Elena at her blog, twitter, facebook or google plus

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0 Responses

  1. This was very interesting. I’m coming to Florence next month for a short break and don’t speak a word of Italian so quite terrified now!

    1. Honestly I wouldn’t worry, they do speak some English here, it’s just very basic. :-). What she means is that they don’t speak fluently

  2. Good day to you. Your blog site is very informative and impressive!!! I am in the process of moving from New York to Florence with my Italian-American husband and a 2 year old kid.By the way, which place in Florence do you recommend to find English books? since I am also lost in translations right now but I am positive that I will be able to adjust very soon. Again thank you very much.

  3. I loved this interview. Reading that even an Italian girl like Elena who was born in Florence was asked ‘where’ she was from in school is quite interesting! I will have to check out her website!

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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