Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Locals I Love – Ivo Riccio



It was about time ‘Locals I Love’ got a little love from the male gender. Naturally I am a girls-girl hence why so many of the interviews so far are women, but I will really try to mix it up a bit. After Aidan, Ivo was a great interviewee – and not just because he has the last name of my favorite animal in the world, the lovabe hedgehog! I first met Ivo last year when I was on a blog tour during the 2012 edition of the Internet Festival in Pisa. A little backstory – Ivo is Italian in origin and works in communication strategy while also organizing blog tours. His favorite drink to unwind after a long day? Chinotto | apertas | caipiroska alla fragola | moskow mule. The fact that he picked four makes his that much more awesome.

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

I have been living in Florence for two years now, I come from the island of Elba, but I was born in Busto Arsizio, Varese province from Neapolitans parents. In short, you could say that I am a mixed Italian

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

I originally came to Florence to looking for fresh air, to be stimulated and compare a new city from where I was before. In fact, I came from the Elba island and then went to the city of Siena. When I finished university, I got a job in Elba, first in my small town then at a start-up focused in tourism. Although I continued to collaborate with the University of Siena, I preferred to be based in Florence. I felt it more dynamic and challenging.

What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?
I work hard, I go out enough, I follow lessons on how to make sushi and sometimes I even read outside (but never enough!)

What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!

Traffic clogging the streets, the nervousness of the Florentines (or rather of those who live in Florence), the lack of nightlife compared to the enormous potential offered by Florence (my memory, which is not always good, leans toward the”Pact for the night” …)

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

I think that in Italy anyone can stay really well, that is … if you are on vacation. Instead living here, especially if you are young and at least right now, is really difficult. Difficult because I feel that around me that many people don’t have a lot of faith in Italy, especially since many of the people I personally know and who do not work in my own field of work, friends, are very pessimistic about the economic situation in the wider society, in politics, and in short – about the future. I am stubborn, optimistic and admittingly a bit ‘lucky: I work at a job that I love, for which I studied for and that gives me real satisfaction. Right now, I feel like I can’t say anything. My thoughts, however, always goes to those who can not achieve this happiness for themselves and find their path here in Italy, especially if you compare the current situation with foreign countries. In Spain for example, I know people who believe in youth and the idea of ‘change.’ I am convinced that soon it will happen here in Italy. Did I not mention that I’m optimistic? : D
What advice would you give a newbie?
For people who are coming to Florence? I would say..  be patient: Florence is beautiful and life is not as bad as everyone says it is. I would avoid driving a car or scooter though! If you walk or bike, you will have time to see parts of the city that would otherwise be lost on you.

Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

The garden of Pal Vivarelli Colonna, on via Ghibellina. During the spring and the summer, it becomes a great place to relax or take a (short) ride.
Also, everyone should know that Mostodolce {on a national level} has fantastic beer!

Photo by Tiana Kai

What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?
It’s all a bit ‘strange in Italy: from politics to economics — we pass from one contradiction to another. So I would say I would rather focus on personal experiences. I have seen and heard of people who have helped bring companies up doing video conferencing dressed only from the waist up, from their home in their underwear  😀

But what I find strange is also a really incredible housing market: where people have no qualms asking you for guarantees and money without offering collateral or a return. For many people looking for an apartment, they encounter these strange requests (if not … fraud). For these cases, I think the list of ‘strange’ things would really be high.

Also. not to mention the behavior of the people: in politics, in society, we are all irrational ‘fans’ on one side or the other.

You have no idea how much I agree with what you said about the housing market in Florence, expect a post on just that very soon! What can you do here and nowhere else?
Only here can you walk under the underpass of the Cure and see a gentleman in his elder years, cleaning the floor and keeping the place in order, almost every day with a bright smile and a bit ‘of music.

How did you make friends and assimilate?
Many are contacts that I have known for a long time, others are people I’ve met from previous jobs, at various nights out or public events, or even from the internet. Or even just from sharing common interests or because we have worked or collaborated together.

Favorite food {or recipe}?

Absolutely Tiramisu, but also carbonara and chocolate in general

Also if I remember correctly, you love pistachios! If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative!

Are you referring to a series of words related to the city? In this case, here are my ‘tagline hashtags’


#hot (to be understood as a welcoming atmosphere, because we actually die of cold in the winter: D)

#multicultural (but I would say not multiethnic)

#messed up




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14 Responses

  1. Cool, thanks for the photo credit girl! That was an amazing day in Lucca, unforgettable wine, chocolate and cigars. Ivo is one of my favorite locals, and from a place I have yet to visit!

    1. NP about photo credit, that’s important! That sounds like an amazing day indeed! I have only been to Lucca once and for a work meeting but I sure would love some wine, chocolate and cigars — oh and of course great company!

  2. Thanks Tiana for your pics! And thanks Georgette for your interview!
    Can’t wait for your post about housing market, i’m too curious 😉

    Hope to see you girls asap!
    All together of course 🙂

    1. It was a pleasure, it was great reading your answers, I am always curious to hear the perspective of an Italian living in Florence. The housing post is coming together, unfortunately there are too many stories! who would have thought so many people had crazy experiences.. I’m looking forward to that drink!

      1. Like the time a friend of mine was asked to pay a full year of rent up front? When she had a friend call on her behalf saying “non e` mica normale” the reply was the landlord was burned by too many renters and now stipulates this payment, period. Okayyy, good luck renting that. Or how an acquaintance and I discovered we looked at the same place and she was quoted 150 euros more a month than I was (and I bet the fact my Italian boyfriend with me was the factor) Things that make you go hmmmmmm.

  3. I could go for some gelato and chocolate from Florence about now. Great post!

  4. Great interview! A lot of the sentiments expressed are similar to what I’ve heard from people here in Madrid as well so it seems like we’re in the same boat in an ocean of economic crisis.

    1. Im happy you liked it :-). Unfortunately it seems as if the whole of Europe is undergoing this almost never ending crisis with southern Europe being hit ghe hardest…

  5. Great interview! I’ve been to Isola D’Elba on holiday-beautiful beaches and great nightclubs! Nice to get to know a native, Ivo Hedgehog;). Which, I’ve only seen in the wild on Isola D’Elba. Enjoy your weekends!

    1. Thanks Cindy! Isola d’elba is amazing, when I finally got to go last year I was really shocked how nice it was. Beautiful beaches and great local wine. Plus Ivo hedgehog (I’m obsessed with his last name) is a really nice guy!

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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