Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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Locals I Love – Alexandra Lawrence

29.01.2014 20 Comments

Alex 3

While it’s taken me a few weeks to get back into the swing of things regarding my Locals I Love series – interviewing people I know who live and work in Florence and around Italy. I am super happy to finally interview Alexandra Lawrence, a wonderful art guide who I met via The Florentine, and who has shown me the Vasari Corridor and how to paint frescoes, two amazing days that I will never forget and which have provided me with much more Florentine street ‘cred’. She is a person who knows her stuff and makes art fun for anyone, even for someone like me – who must be the only person in Florence to not have studied art & art history. Without further ado, let’s talk to Alexandra!

Name: Alexandra Lawrence- Nationality: American – Profession: this is a tricky one! Depending on the day I can say that I am a guide, university instructor, editor or translator. Favorite drink: Negroni sbagliato

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

I have lived in Florence for the better part of 15 years. There was a short stint in the middle when I went back to the States for further study but my heart was always here. I was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in Sonoma, California before attending university in Charleston, South Carolina. I went to grad school in San Francisco. These are my cities.

Both very beautiful places Charleston and San Francisco, you are a lucky girl! What brought you to bella Firenze and why did you decide to stay

Alex 1I studied here as an undergraduate. From the second I stepped off the plane I knew this was where I wanted to live my life; even the way the garbage bins opened thrilled me! Of course I was also thrilled by the beauty, but I even loved the smell of the tap water, everything. I knew I wanted to work in study abroad, so after I graduated I came back to Tuscany—following a six month stint as an au pair high in the Pistoia hills I moved back to Florence and started working in international education administration.

Even the smell of the tap water? Now that’s pushing it ;). What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?

I’m up to a lot…Florence offers a lot of opportunities for a person like me who is curious about art, language, culture and history! I have been lucky to be able to focus my guide work on leading very small groups; I love the interaction that comes with looking at art with different people every day. I also started an initiative with The Florentine, called “So You Think You Know Florence?” which includes visits to some of the lesser known places in town—there are so many wonderful stories to tell!

It must be said, though, that my biggest passions are my two Florentine boys: my 4-year-old son Giacomo and his babbo, Francesco. We have a good old-time together.

Props for being able to juggle a lot of amazing things, you inspire me! What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth!

The everyday aggressions are a bit tiresome, I’ll admit. Getting elbowed when picking my kid up from school, for example; surely they can’t be in that much of a hurry?

Elbows are the ‘human bumper’ in Florence. Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?

No, life in Italy is definitely not for everyone though I would never discourage anyone from giving it a try. It works for me because I happen to enjoy a challenge.

Alex 4

Same here! What advice would you give a newbie?

Learn Italian. Don’t be lazy about the language, it will reward you in so very many ways.

Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

The frescos in the Chiostro degli Aranci at the Badia Fiorentina.
Betty Soldi’s And Company on via Maggio—the coolest store in town.
Trattoria Armando on Borgo Ognissanti.

I don’t know any of these places and now you have just given me more fun things to discover, you rock! What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?

I have never been able to get over the beach ritual here. Honestly, the outfits, the kids changing their suits after every swim, the regulated water time…the whole thing freaks me out.

Um yeah I use one bikini a day when swimming, changing after every swim? really? What can you do here and nowhere else?

Yesterday I had a meeting at the Società Dantesca amidst 14th century frescos, popped into the Palatine Gallery to do some reconnaissance for an upcoming visit, and had tea with a friend whose bilingual book of poetry I will be presenting next month. I am not sure that I could have had that kind of day in another city.

Florence is absolutely amazing just for that reason, you can live an extraordinary life if you are ok with not making really good money. How did you make friends and assimilate?
I’ve made most of my friends through work and through other friends; being a mom has also opened up new opportunities for assimilation.

Favorite food {or recipe}

I could eat the schiacciata from Guasti every day of my life.

Alex 2

Thank you so much Alexandra for letting me pick your brain a bit, I know you are super busy. Connect with her on twitter or see what’s next on her ‘So you think you know Florence’ fun tours around town – I can personally say the tours are intriguing, interesting and fun! She 100% has my stamp of approval :).


Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' flat white and laughs with the girls.

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  • Avatar
    Alexandra Lawrence 29.01.2014 at 11:29

    Yes, even the tap water…I am not a normal person!! Thanks for the opportunity to chat with you…it was fun!

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 29.01.2014 at 11:30

      More normal than you think, I find all sorts of strange things beautiful that perhaps I never noticed before. it’s the Florence ‘effect’. You are a great interviewee, I am psyched to check out your 3 suggestions around Florence!

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    Lucy Porter 29.01.2014 at 11:57

    What a great idea for a feature 🙂 I love reading interviews with people who have lives we could actually aspire to and not just celebrities. Alexandra also looks like Claire Danes (very jealous!)
    Lucy x

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 29.01.2014 at 12:03

      Thanks Lucy :). I think its really important to share the lives of real people who actually live & work in Florence like her! Plus you are spot on with the Claire Danes comparison, I think so too!

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    Pam 29.01.2014 at 12:57

    Great post. Thanks. Love the suggestions of places to visit. I’ll be there for two weeks in March and can’t wait

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    msellick 29.01.2014 at 13:40

    Thank you four posts, blogs etc which I really enjoy and keep my memories of Firenze alive. Have you considered interviewing Freya Middleton, Freyas Florence Tours? We had two fabulous art tours with her.

    Keep up the great posts etc.

    Maureen Sellick

    From: Girl in Florence Reply-To: Girl in Florence Date: Wednesday, 29 January 2014 5:26 pm To: maureen Sellick Subject: [New post] Locals I Love ­ Alexandra Lawrence ggnitaly84 posted: ” While it’s taken me a few weeks to get back into the swing of things regarding my Locals I Love series – interviewing people I know who live and work in Florence and around Italy. I am super happy to finally interview Alexandra Lawrence, a wonderful art”

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 29.01.2014 at 14:40

      Thank you Maureen, I know of Freya but I have not yet met her personally

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    winesavi 29.01.2014 at 15:05

    love these interviews too! It makes you realize that Italy is full of expats and we are not so alone. Nice post…

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 29.01.2014 at 15:33

      Thanks for commenting Anna, I am a huge fan of your blog so you are definitely not alone. There are so many of us dotted around Italy making it happen – I love it!

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    Michelle 29.01.2014 at 17:03

    How absolutely delightful to learn more about a local I love too! Thanks so much Georgette, and Alexandra!

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 29.01.2014 at 17:28

      Hey no problem! The great thing about living in Florence is that you can really meet amazing people from all over the world, its my favorite kind of educated melting pot of a city.

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    timelessitaly 30.01.2014 at 2:09

    I love interviews with expats. Your questions were perfect…keep it up!

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 30.01.2014 at 10:02

      Thank you! its just as awesome for me to read as well, everyone’s experience here is so similar yet, so unique at the same time. There are so many of us in Florence 🙂

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        timelessitaly 30.01.2014 at 16:06

        Makes it real to me….like getting to know people who live there

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    Hannah 30.01.2014 at 5:48

    oh my! i am starting to regret fleeing back to the states. that last picture is killing me!

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 30.01.2014 at 10:01

      Italy is always here when you need your fill of pasta, wine, amazing views and copious caffe! 🙂

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    italicana kitchen 30.01.2014 at 10:31

    What a great article and photos!

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      ggnitaly84 30.01.2014 at 11:45

      thanks! she was a great interview 🙂

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    Teresa 24.06.2014 at 15:59

    Guarda bella Alex! I got to know her while taking classes to become a certified city guide of Florence, she definitely is one of the best tour guides around. Ciao, che bel blog che hai, un sacco di consigli anche per chi già conosce Firenze. A presto, Teresa

  • Avatar
    Felix Pesce 23.09.2017 at 16:18

    Love my Zan!

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who has called Florence, Italy home for the past 13 years and now you'll find me between Firenze and Zug, Switzerland. Besides the blog, I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. You might have seen my articles in Lonely Planet and a feature on my blog in Forbes. This space is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling, eating and living in Europe with tips for weekend trips. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!


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