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Expat Spotlight: Cassandra Santoro’s Top 3 Tips for Florence, Italy

Founder of Travel Italian Style, Cassandra Santoro offers hand-crafted, authentic experiences in Italy. She grew up like many other Italian-Americans—helping Nonna cut the mozzarella in our family-owned pizzeria, pasta on Sundays and learning from Nonno how to grow the perfect tomatoes in a garden. Eventually she found herself experiencing the real thing in Italy, applying for dual-citizenship and moving to Florence.

Top 3 Favorite Restaurants in Italy?

1) Love the Pizza & Rolled Pizza at La Grotta di Leo Ristorante : Florence, Italy
2) Treat yourself for a tasting menu at Gagini Restaurant: Palermo (Sicily), Italy
3) Enjoy amazing food & company at Ristorante Michel’angelo : Capri, Italy

Top 3 favorite foods in Italy?

1) Margherita or Truffle Pizza (I am a pizza fanatic)!
2) Alici Marinato: Fresh white anchovies marinated in EVOO, red pepper and lemon
3) Provola cheese from Campania: Produced in this region you will not find a smoked cheese this good anywhere else (and you most likely will not find it in the states)!

Top 3 tips for new expats in Italy?

1) Find the right balance of living & working: Many of us moved to Italy to get a taste of that sweet life. However, how can we do that if we are working 50 + hours a week or not working out all (no money = no fun). Therefore, try to find a job that you are passionate about or enjoy doing so you can continue to live with a bit less stress. Do some research before you head over.
2) Immerse yourself in the culture. It’s easy to hang with your native speaking friends. But keep those wonderful friends and force yourself to speak Italian and learn the everyday traditions.
3) For those serious about living in Italy: Live in a small town outside a city center for the first year! This will give you a real taste of the Italian life and prepare you for all that comes your way.

Top 3 tips for travellers in Italy?

1) Try to learn a little bit of Italian prior to going: I am sure you have heard this one before but
2) Visit the south: There are so many wonderful places in Italy but do not forget about Sicily and Puglia! These are off the beaten track regions that are just waiting for more tourists!
3) If you can only visit during the high season, do it! I see many people miss out on a wonderful chance to explore Italy just because they heard it may be “too hot or crowded!” If you can only make it there during summer just head to one of the amazing, beautiful beach towns such as Cefalu or Positano! Even Tuscany has some great, white sand beaches in proximity.

Top 3 tips for what to pack for Italy?

1) An extra empty bag to bring home fabulous purchases & gifts!
2) Wine Packaging such as this “Wine Skin” case. You are sure to bring back some Chianti!
3) An great pair of walking shoes for those cobble stones! Ladies, wedges or block heels shoes would be best for nights out!

Top 3 favorite places in Italy

1) Positano: Yep, it’s true I joined the majority of tourist on this one!
2) Palermo: I love the liveliness of the city & the fact that my grandpa was born there!
3) My heart is always with Florence but I do love the small towns of Tuscany. Which ones? It really depends on the day but even the sunset view from Fiesole (just right outside of Florence)

Top 3 neighborhoods in Florence

1) San Frediano for nightlife and fun!
2) Campo di Marte/ Piazza Beccaria for a local Italian feel but just steps from the city center.
3) Piazza della Passera/ Oltrarno is perfect combination of my two other choices!

For more tips from Cassandra on Italy, watch for upcoming posts on the Italy blog, follow her on Twitter (@Travel_Italian) and go to her blog Travel Italian Style.

Interested in sharing your top tips? Contact erin {at} insidersabroad {dot} com!

Published January 18th, 2016 by Cassandra Santoro
Posted to Inside Secrets to Italy

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