Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Locals I Love – Costanza Giovannini


This week’s local I love is Costanza, a girl who works too much and shares my love of moscow mules. Witty, almost too organized, she is just one of those people who ‘gets it.’ We met a few times but more recently we embarked on a blog tour adventure together to promote the thermal springs of Tuscany with Play Your Tuscany. After just a few days, I really felt like I had a new family, we all meshed together perfectly and you really can’t ask for much more than that, without further ado – this is Costanza.

Introducing: I’m a supertuscan 😉
Name: Costanza
Nationality: Italian
Profession: Head of Communication at Fondazione Sistema Toscana
Favorite drink: Moscow Mule

Are you from Florence originally, If so where exactly – and is your whole family from there as well?

I was born in Florence and lived all my life in the countryside, near the city at the doors of Chianti (Impruneta area), my father and mother are from there and also all my grandparents except for my father’s father who was originally from Sesto Fiorentino and previously from the Appennini area…so my surname comes from the mountains, if this means something 😉

Of course that means something, it’s very cool to see the history behind a name. What makes you stay in Florence?

Well…after a certain point, after 3 months living in the U.S. and after graduating, I was sure I would at least have had an experience abroad and hopefully make me build a life somewhere else. But then, I found my first job and it was just the kind of stuff I studied in University. It was thrilling to start actually working and so I postponed my dreams of living abroad…until I realized that probably here is where I belong…but still…we’ll see. 


Moscow Mule ‘selfie’ #1

What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, passions?

What makes me like this city? Well, the countryside at the moment 😉 …I work all week in the city center, moving (when it’s not raining) by bike and I love it, but this past winter was the one in which I discovered how much I love countryside life. However, I’ve got a favorite bar, Aurora in Piazza Tasso  and I super-love riding my bike at Le Cascine park during the warmer season. and I’m also thinking of moving back into the city …I’m beginning to search for a house so if you hear something nice to buy (in the Oltrarno) let me know!

I agree with you about the bar, that is my favorite place in the summer, & moving to the Oltrarno means we would be neighbors, yes!!!! What annoys you about Florence? Tell me the truth! 

I hate the overcrowded Duomo square from April to July, I don’t like to live in a city that feels raped everyday by mass tourism. Well, let me clarify: I like tourism, I work in this industry and I want it to grow, not just in quantity though…mostly in quality! I know it’s also our responsibility to make this change possible…and as a professional working in destination promotion, I’m trying to do my part to make this happen 😉
Ps. …I hate even more some Italian bad habits: most of all their non-existent civic sense.


Moscow Mule Selfie #2

I appreciate your honesty and I agree with you about the city feeling saturated in the spring/summer months, quality over quantity for sure! Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?

No, I think life in Italy takes a strong and passionate character, if it can be so very frustrating and upsetting for us, I can just imagine how it can be for a foreigner. It works for me because I love food, the Italian lifestyle, and of course the great beauty that surrounds us. I’ve always thought that for me the most difficult thing to adapt to abroad would be the ugliness of many places 😉

Touchè, one of the best answers I’ve gotten for this question. What advice would you give a newbie?

Take it easy! Try to laugh when you encounter the common problems of everyday life in Florence.

Three finds/places everyone should know about in Florence?

My favorite spots are:
Via di Belvedere, I love it because it represents the perfect match that we have in Florence between city and country. It’s amazing, but wear comfortable shoes as it is a very steep road.
Piazza della Passera, not just for the name (if you don’t know what I’m saying check here… it is the last one.. 
Oltrarno in general, the real remaining Florence

Brava! These are great tips, What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Florence?

I don’t know…Americans? ;DDD

I can attest to that, we certainly know how to leave our mark whether through peeing in Piazza Santa Croce to donating lots of money towards artistic heritage ;-). Those are my people! What can you do here and nowhere else?

This is my town…everything looks different when you’re abroad, even if it’s not. Probably people, friend/family/identity makes me feel better here…Am I banal now?? yes I am!

As if you, Costanza, could ever be banal! What can you suggest to a new person on how to make friends with a local like you?

That’s a hard one…I don’t know! Probably the better idea to me is the non “exotic” approach. I’m probably  a little hard to understand now… I’ll try to make it easy: nobody likes it if you make him or her feel like an animal in a zoo. Empathy is always a great beginning point.


Moscow Mule Selfie #3

A truly impressive answer, you really hit home there…. Favorite food {or recipe} – give me a little foodporn!

Well, food for me is a drug, I’m  a little better now but if you check my instagram account you’ll see. Here my TOP5!
1) Fiorentina (steak)
2) all giblets (i mean interiors…liver/lampredotto etc)
3) fried mushrooms and artichokes
4) pappa al pomororo…just when it’s perfectly made and the fancy version with ciliegini tomatoes.
5) my great-grandmother sublime recipe “Arselle all’uovo” (the best!) I wont give you any hints…it’s a secret!

Ok, this grandmother recipe, I want to try! If you had to make up a tagline for the city – what would it be? 😉 be creative! 


costanzamuk2Moscow Mule Selfie #4

Thank you so much Costanza for chatting with me, you are a truly great person to interview and you really offered up some valuable insights for anyone looking to explore the mind of a local in Florence.

Check out Costanza on instagram via her #foodporn adventures, or check out her ‘about me’.

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11 Responses

  1. Interesting post, but seeing the word “raped” used to describe an influx of tourist makes me cringe. Sexually assault & tourist season are definitely not comparable things.

    1. I get you Jill, I am 100% against making light of anything as serious as rape. I have seen this term used in Italian many times in the figurative sense and I try and not change the text of someone’s conversation to leave it as truthful and natural as possible

  2. Great post. I feel the same as Costanza, i thought I’d live somewhere abroad too and now I’m working at what some would consider a ‘dream’ job in my field. So i guess this is where I belong-for now-too. There’s a great song called ‘this must be the place'(and movie too!). Anyway, just a thought-I’ve always connected with my Italian friends through music! I’m loving a song called controvento right now;).

    1. Ciao Cindy, I think that is a very common situation and when i think about how many people I personally know that never really find that job they love, you guys are so lucky! And at least there is always travel.. 🙂

      ps. I’ll have to check out that song, I am always looking for new music

  3. The song is by arisa and i really like the lyrics. I’m also loving a song by negramaro that i discovered called Sei. I Love a lot of italian music, and my italian friends all love American rock, classic and metal, go figure.

  4. “Probably the better idea to me is the non “exotic” approach […] ’ll try to make it easy: nobody likes it if you make him or her feel like an animal in a zoo. Empathy is always a great beginning point”. Reading this conversation, this is a “question > answer” that I liked a lot. I like to follow some blogs of those who, not being of Italian origin, lives in Italy and must encounter or collide each day with the daily life of this country (and especially Florence, of course!). 🙂 And, being a native Italian, sometimes smile, sometimes laugh, sometimes I feel proud, sometimes I’m ashamed 🙂

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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