In August of 2012, I sold my home and most of what I owned to finance what I thought would be a three-month adventure in Italy. I arrived a month later in Florence, not knowing a single person or a single word of Italian. What I did know was that I was in need of a change…some time on my own and some new scenery. I’d visited Italy twice in the two previous years and each time I’d felt rushed…I hadn’t wanted to leave; I’d felt strangely at home.
Initially I found life in Italy an enormous contrast to my hometown of Salt Lake City. My day-to-day experiences were different in almost every way…but right from the beginning, I found myself thriving and feeling joy in a way I had not in the previous decade. In Florence, because it is a pedestrian city, I was walking all day the ancient streets, markets and piazzas, fully captivated by the art, architecture, and culture. I still feel, six years later, that I only have to step out of my door to be swept up in its beauty!
I began writing travel articles for Italian and American online magazines soon after my arrival, and found that as my audience grew, a great number of readers were asking if I could show them “my Tuscany.” The response to that request, ultimately, was creating my own tour company called Find Yourself In Tuscany. I organize small, private tours through the Tuscany region (as well as the Cinque Terre) and also design custom itineraries for travelers throughout Italy.
In the five years since I started the business, I have found my niche is to create luxury travel tours and itineraries that provide my clients with an authentic view of Florence and its surrounding cities. Because I live here, I handpick the experiences as well as the people that my guests will interact with. I want my groups to feel that they have their own concierge with them and even during their free time, they know I’m just a message away.
The shortest tour I offer is eight days and seven nights, so guests are not rushed and can truly savor their Tuscan experiences. From the cooking classes, to hotels, artisans, drivers, guides, and restaurants, I feel I’ve chosen the “best of the best” to offer my clients—and even after years of tours, I’m constantly tweaking and refining the itinerary. I believe there is nothing like a local’s view of their city…the back roads to walk, the hidden local trattorias, the perfect place to watch the sun set.
Because I am passionate about my love for Italy, the Italian culture and people, it continues to be joyous work to pour myself into my job. I work full-time for several months, but then will have weeks off where I travel throughout Italy and Europe. My lifestyle offers great freedom and, with the exception of when I’m guiding a group, I can work from an apartment in Florence, my favorite hideout in Cortona, or while traveling. My professional resources are my connections and knowledge of my favorite region in the world…Tuscany.