I have now been living in Florence and Tuscany for ten years. In that time I have grown passionate about the craftsmanship that Tuscans excels in, from creating leather goods, to how they make olive oil. To preserve the authenticity and even existence of these skills feels ever-more urgent in this globalised world of mass production where the connection between producer and consumer is stretched to breaking point. In Florence there are many master craftsmen still at work, and a younger generation keen on bringing these skills into the modern world. In the Tuscan countryside, there are oil and wine producers who are passionate about respecting traditions and young people returning to work the land. I wish to connect those of us who live an urban life with this slower, more delightful way to create – be it a handbag or a litre of olive oil. To that end, I will be leading a tour around Florence and Tuscany later this year with Steppes travel, bringing a small group of travellers to the workshops of Florence and the vineyards of Tuscany, visiting small workshops and innovative wine cellars. For more details or to book visit: Steppes
Bella Figura experience
For those who wish to relive a little of the extraordinary adventures recounted in Bella Figura, and to experience the method of living with joy and beauty, the Italian way, I have devised two group workshops/tours to bring the book alive for readers in Florence. The half-day workshop includes a tour of Bella Figura haunts and characters in Florence, visits to artisan workshops, and lunch in one of the eateries immortalised in the book. The full-day workshop includes a trip to our house The Frantoio on our 10th-century castle estate in the countryside of Chianti where there will be a simple Tuscan cooking class, and olive oil tasting.