Get your Florence and Tuscany Italian Fix

You all know how much I LOVE Italy. Any time you mention the word I can not help but smile. I could talk about it (preferably in Italian) for hours on end. I spent my formative years living in Fruili. It’s my home away from home and where I feel incredibly connected. Once you’ve been to Italy you will understand. I try to return as much as possible, when I am away for too long I get twitchy. It’s best for all of us if I go at least once a year ; ) I think everyone should go at least once. You should get your ITALIAN FIX.  3 amazing women have put together a trip of a lifetime. 1 of which I have met in person, Leela who is an absolute peach and a very TALENTED photographer. Giulia, who I have not met in real life but I feel like I have known her for years. I was honored when she asked me to help look over the English version of her first cookbook (it’s awesome you should get it and her new one) and Bianca, my newest amica who I know I would get on with amazingly. Since she organized the trip I’m going to let her tell you all about it.
This is a guest post written by Bianca of Italian Fix


Photo Credit: Leela Cyd

When I was a little girl I always looked forward to show and tell at school.

My friend at the time hated it.

But I couldn’t really understand that.

I absolutely loved standing in front of the blackboard in the classroom to tell people about all the cool stuff going on in my universe: my new litter of black and white bunnies, the shells I’d collected from the beach or my new head scarf. It was the 80’s so neon head scarves were the anchoring wardrobe statement for a little girl.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m still playing show and tell. But instead of bunnies I show and tell in Italy; on my small group tours in Italy I show you my people, my places and the enchanting elements that stitch together a magical Italian experience.

And I still channel that little girl excitement when I share Italy with others (sans neon head scarf).

Of course Italy is a place where many have wandered, but few have had the opportunity to connect with people who actually live there.

Which is exactly the situation you want to avoid. Traveling to a place without the people connection is like going out for dinner and just eating a bread stick – you’re missing out on the good stuff!

Connecting with local people is your golden opportunity to travel the right way.

Photo Credit: Leela Cyd

My philosophy is: Why just see Italy? Instead, try to feel Italy. Notice the huge difference there.

I should know – my first trip to Italy was as a university student on a study bursary. I hung around with other students, other tourists, and I spent an entire month in Florence not understanding how to order a proper meal. What a waste of taste buds.

I met my soon-to-be Italian husband on that trip, and upon meeting him my experience turned from “tourist” to “insider”. I finally ate a proper meal (it takes two hours), toured the harbor in a boat (his friends rickety wooden affair), went to an amazing bar with live music that I couldn’t understand (there wasn’t an English speaker for miles).

When you have a person show you the ropes your experience of a place becomes real. It’s more than museums, dinners, hotels and lineups. It’s about feelings, connections, tearful departures and a life full of new friends and new perspectives. Simply – you change.

Now, I don’t think you need to marry a local to have an amazing trip to Italy. My public service announcement is: please don’t.

But I do believe having insider connections to Italy is essential.

I hope you know you’ve just officially found one. My name is Bianca, piacere (nice to meet you).

Photo Credit: Giulia Scarpaleggia

Explore Florence and Tuscany on the ultimate girls’ getaway.

When I design a trip I ask myself, “What would be the most incredible things for a group of my friends to experience in Italy? Then I take it up a notch.

I also invite massively talented people to show you how to take your life up a notch too.

On the upcoming photography workshop happening this May you’ll meet Leela Cyd and Giulia Scarpaleggia

Leela is a pro photographer and her mission is to teach you how to shoot magazine worthy photos.

As you discover the piazzas of Florence and the country roads of Tuscany she’ll arm you with concrete skills that will help you shoot magazine worthy portraits, travel photos, interiors and food.

It’s designed for people just learning how to use their camera or people who want to take their photography passion to the next level. Let someone who’s images have appeared in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Parent & Child and Kinfolk show you how much fun photography can be.

You’ll also meet Tuscan cookbook author and blogger Giulia Scarpaleggia. She will help you channel your inner Italian domestic goddess (even if you currently lack that). She has invited us into her Tuscan country home for an evening of cooking lessons, pot stirring and a laughter filled dinner in her garden. Arrive home with new recipes and a head full of Italian cooking moxie to make your meals more bello. She is the blogger of the amazing Juls’ Kichen and the author of the cookbook I Love Toscana.

Me, well, I married my Italian sweetheart Alessandro and lived on his turf near the Cinque Terre for a few years. I started my Italian travel co., Italian Fix, because I believe travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. I want to help women invest in themselves so they can be even more amazing than they already are. Plus, I have a hunch investing in yourself guarantees a lifetime of positive returns.

Photo Credit: Leela Cyd

Would you like to join us? This trip is designed exclusively for women. Leave your dogs, kids, men and jobs behind. They’ll survive without you for a week (maybe just barely).

We take just 12 people and as of today we still have room. See the full itinerary here.

You will also:

  • Stay in a 16 century palazzo in the prettiest piazza in Florence smack dab in the artists quarter
  • Enjoy a multi-course Tuscan dinner with wine pairings guided by a local sommelier
  • Bike through olive groves and vineyards in the Tuscan countryside
  • Eat at the best restaurants in the city
  • Have an exclusive portrait session with Leela Cyd

The investment is $3500 and includes hotel, workshops, meals and day trips. See the full itinerary.

For now, enjoy some gorgeous photos by Leela Cyd and Giulia Scarpaleggia.

Would you like to come to Italy with us? It would be our honor to share a wonderful corner of the planet with you this spring.



Disclaimer: All photos printed with permission



  1. 1

    Beautiful photography and the trip sounds amazing!

  2. 2
    Katie /

    Oh Paula… This sounds amazing! I agree with you everyone should go to Italy at least once. It’s life changing. This sounds like the perfect getaway!

  3. 3

    Sigh! I so wish I could go; a trip back to Italy is way overdue! If you’ve got the itch, I’ve got the hives!

  4. 4

    oh how amazing! I hope to get to go to italy one day!

  5. 5

    Gorgeous photos! Oh my goodness — I would love to go on a trip like this. Sounds amazing!!

  6. 6

    Such a lovely trip temptation Paula! I’ve just returned from a visit to my family in Modena with my parents and where we were able to spend our umpteenth time in beautiful Firenze (yet it never grows old), immerced in the culture with the people I fortunately am able to be part of a long lineage of family. I know your trip will be a most enjoyable and memorable one in my beloved home of Italia!


  7. 8

    Beautiful photos! I can’t wait to go to Italy, one day!

  8. 9

    This sounds incredible!

  9. 10

    I would love this…so amazing!!

  10. 11

    I can only imagine how wonderful this would be. Someday. Someday I WILL get to Italy!!

  11. 12

    Paula, thanks so much for your enthusiasm regarding our trip! It seems like ages ago you told me all about living in Italia as a child . . . It really is a magical place. Grazie!!

  12. 13

    A trip to Italy sounds so amazing – especially this one with fabulous food bloggers. Thanks so much for sharing information about it!

  13. 14
    Loren /

    My family is traveling to Rome and Florence in June – a magical trip. I would LOVE for you to take some shots of our family. If you happen to be there, I would love a session. I know it’s a long shot, but please email me if this is at all possible.


  14. 15

    Oh how FUN!! Wish I could do something like this with y’all!

  15. 16
    julie /

    I am trying to plan my trip to Italy, Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terra, lake Como and ( sondrio , visitng fathers family for the first time) , insbruk, we have 5 weeks and hope to travel most by train , but don’t know the order in which to travel , can you please help
    Your advise is gratefully valued ..


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