CIAO, I'M LISA BRANCATISANO
I remember when I first arrived in Florence and didn’t know anyone, I would wander around the streets with my map in hand, getting lost many times….. which can be kinda fun when you don’t have to be anywhere fast. But when you have limited time in a city and want to find that perfect pair of shoes, eat at the most authentic trattoria and visit the secret workshops of the artisans , well then wouldn't it be nice to have a local show you the secret locations where the Florentines, shop, eat, drink and play?
eccomi... here i am!
From a busy corporate career in the fashion industry to creating my own magazine, private food & shopping walks and now also painting original watercolours, I’ve gone from working 24/7 (almost) to living ‘La Dolce Vita’ in the beautiful city of Florence.
What’s my goal? To share the Tuscany I love and to ensure that you take home a little bit of This Tuscan Life with you.
Benvenuto / Welcome
Other times you'll find me in our home on the 'Oltrarno' side of Florence (don't worry if you don't know where that is - I'll show you when you visit!) in my cosy clothes painting a watercolour, trying to master a loaf of sourdough, or drinking a glass of red while I prepare dinner for my husband Emiliano and two boys, Matteo & Thomas.
But if you want to know how this Aussie from Melbourne ended up calling Florence home, then read on ....
Grab an espresso - this is the short version...
I'm Lisa Brancatisano and no that is not my married name.
My father immigrated from Calabria with his family when he was 8 years old. He never spoke Italian with us as firstly, my mother was English and secondly, he actually spoke dialect Calabrese with his family which I never understood. So in 1993, at the age of 22 I made the big trip by myself to Italy to learn Italian.
I have had a love for Italy since that first visit when I arrived in Florence as a naïve traveller ready to learn Italian in a month. Of course it took much longer than those first four weeks at the Eurocenter language school in Piazza Santo Spirito but those four weeks then led to two wonderful years living in San Niccolò, Firenze.
During this time I not only learned the language, but also how to paint watercolours while sitting in front of the Uffizi gallery with other local artists.
My mother was an exceptional cook and my father a wholesale fruit and vegetable merchant so I was always surrounded by wonderful food and produce. My appreciation of good food, incredible ingredients and basically my love of eating have taken me to many wonderful local trattorias, sagras (food festivals) and markets.
In 2006, I returned to Italy for a holiday and was offered a job working for a fashion distributor. I had studied fashion design and worked in the industry for nearly 30 years and so I couldn’t believe my luck being offered a fashion job back in Florence - in the city that I already felt such a strong bond with.
My twin sister, Toni is quite famous here in Italy after having had her own tv show about cake design on the Gambero Rosso channel. You can follow her gorgeous blog and drool over her recipes here.
In 2016 I created the This Tuscan Life magazine to share my passion for the region that I have called home for more than 15 years. Featuring new Italian words, the iconic borgos, talented artisans and incredible food respectful of place and heritage - a true Celebration of This Tuscan Life.
I also have a twin sister who lives in rome
Got time for a cappuccino? Get comfortable & keep scrolling, this is the version ‘lungo’……..
Apparently, as many people have told me, I don’t look Italian because I am blonde with blue eyes. With a knowing smile they say, “you must be from Northern Italy.” This is so far from the truth, given that my father is actually from Reggio Calabria, one of the Southern most parts of Italy – the ‘toe of the boot’ that is the map of Italy.
I have vivid memories of when the whole Brancatisano clan would get together for Christmas and Easter at our grandparent’s house. We were always such a large group. I have seven uncles, one auntie and twenty-seven cousins! My Nonna was quite amazing when I think of the meals she prepared. I wonder how many kilos of pasta it took to feed us all? To this day, I can still taste her pasta sauce and I don’t think I have ever had meatballs as good as hers.
I caught the travel bug when at the age of fifteen, my sister Toni and I went to America for a year of exchange. I lived in Albuquerque New Mexico and Toni in Phoenix, Arizona. After finishing high school, I decided I wanted to become a fashion designer and after finishing my studies, went on to work for an exclusive dressmaker in Melbourne. This led to three more years working with various fashion companies as a women's and children's-wear designer before deciding to leave it all and travel to Florence to study Italian.
"LEARN ITALIAN IN ITALY", SAID THE ADvert...
And if you’ve opened that bottle of Chianti then settle in and read Tutto ......
can't live without
FAVOURITE ITALIAN COCKTAIL
"Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner."
— SOPHIA LOREN
WORdS TO LIVE BY
WHERE TO NEXT?
For your daily dose of everything under the Tuscan sun...
A Traditional Tuscan treat using grapes from the Vine Schiacciata con l’Uva is a wine-grape slice and is a traditional cake made in Florence and the Chianti region during the Autumn Vendemmia.
Want to see my side of the city?
Let me create a fun and unforgettable visit to Tuscany. Buy the shoes, drink the wine, learn from the artisans and create your own piece of art.
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