I want to live here. In Florence.

I want to live here. In Florence.

I was born in Puglia, a land I adore. It was there that as a child I dreamed of destinations to reach and of great travels. At the time, traveling the world, was my one and only and greatest desire, so much so, that when I was asked the usual question – the one asked of every child in the world – “What do you want to do when you grow up?” my answer was always the same: “…travel and learn about the world.” Indeed then, it was, but the first trip, the one you never forget, was the one I took at the time I was in middle school, to the legendary Mazzini school in Taranto. Where, of course, in Tuscany. That was the first time I saw Florence. Literally thunderstruck. I remember, walking with my classmates on Ponte Vecchio, I told them, “I want to live here.”  And so it was. I left Puglia and went to Florence, the city where I would first live on my own, where I would be formed as an adult, and which would stand by me and comfort me in the choices that later led me to live abroad for many years. I lived on the top floor of a beautiful historic palazzo, with a spectacular view of the Piazza di Santa Croce. Florence and Tuscany I call my magnets, because ultimately wherever in the world I am, they bring me back. I have been back for five years in Tuscany. This time first for a year in the beautiful Val d’Orcia and then in Grosseto, where I still live, in Maremma.

 “Maremma!” How many times have I heard this exclamation. To express surprise, disappointment or to reinforce a concept. Some people think, it comes from the Latin “Maritima – Maritime districts,” while others – I am among them – think it comes from the Castilian “Marisma” meaning “Marsh.” Let us remember that at one time this beautiful land of Tuscany, was a real hell, for years a succession of swamps, swamps and more swamps. Unhealthy air and mosquitoes and many deaths from malaria, until, in 1859 the reclamation began that turned the Maremma marshes into a place of life, a well-known destination for all. 5,000 square kilometers, including coasts, hills, valleys, beautiful landscapes, very long beaches, woods, pine forests, medieval villages… and a lot of history, culture and artistic beauty.

In this column of mine I will tell you about the stories of people and places that have made the region of Tuscany famous all over the world… I will try to give my small contribution to nurture and communicate the arts, artists and craftsmen of the Italian region most dreamed of by the whole world and Italians.

My sunflowers

My sunflowers


When I arrived in Maremma four years ago, along the road to Grosseto, the thing that struck me above all else was the vast expanses of Sunflower fields. That yellow so unique, unmistakable, almost hypnotic but at the same time energizing and relaxing. This morning those thoughts returned with a gentle force in my head as I drove along a road in the hinterland of Grosseto, heading to the set of VVT Channel for an interview with a formidable artisan. I was enraptured by an expansive and endless yellow bush, a true wonder of nature… “but yes I will be a few minutes late…I enjoy my Sunflowers.” I stopped the car and entered another dimension. And is it perhaps because of the great ability to make the viewer forget everything, creating a magic of sensations, that Sunflowers have been, the most beloved flowers of the greatest painters of all time, at the head of all Vincent Van Gogh? I invite everyone to see one of his most famous paintings from 1889, kept in Amsterdam in the Van Gogh Museum and belonging to a series of 7 works depicting a bunch of Sunflowers inside a vase, made to decorate the room Van Gogh had prepared, in the house in Arles for his friend Paul Gauguin, which is part of a series of 7 paintings dedicated to Sunflowers.

Also peculiar is the significance of Sunflowers in Greek mythology where they symbolize the nymph Clytia who, seduced by the god Apollo, the Sun King, could not take her eyes off him and followed him from afar on his long journeys across the sky. The god, however, at some point abandoned the nymph for another woman. Clytia therefore stood still in a field, continuing to watch him, until her legs became roots and she turned into a sunflower, motionless but with the ability to continue to follow her lost love with her gaze on his path from morning until evening. This may sound like a sad tale. Instead, it is the opposite, because Sunflowers represent in symbolism, fidelity and perseverance in love and the desire to spend the rest of one’s life with one person, although its most classic meaning remains that of sunshine, cheerfulness and liveliness.

Before resuming my journey… one last bit of trivia. Not everyone may know that May 1 is not only the holiday dedicated to workers, but since 2007 it has been the day dedicated to Sunflowers. It is an anniversary created by the British, who on this day plant these special yellow flowers in all their neighborhoods, especially in particularly run-down places, as a sign of life and rebirth. Happy Tuscany to all.



Who knows by what mysterious mechanism, sometimes, Destiny and Chance decide at a precise moment in our lives, to bring us back to “place.” Perhaps, right there, where we have intensely experienced people or situations and returning there, inevitably brings the mind back in time. It happens then, that the heart reopens its doors, to seemingly distant or slumbering thoughts, sometimes dear and sometimes melancholy, that we know have deeply determined who we are.

Il va sans dire… yours truly also has its “place,” and of this I cannot but consider myself very fortunate and grateful to Fate and Chance, who have chosen for me. Two powerful forces that are not always forgiving, but this time they were magnanimous and generous, because my “place” is incredible. I love it. I respect it deeply, because it has determined and still determines my life … my place is Tuscany.

To the years I spent in Siena, I reserved a privileged place in my heart. I was a young student, leaving my family and my homeland of Puglia for the first time to pursue studies in Science and Banking. When – to get to the ancient convent of San Francesco, the seat of the Faculty, early every morning, I would leave from the house on Via Mascagni – immediately as if by magic, I would enter another dimension. There, where culture and history came together in a perfect fit.

A thousand times I walked down that street, so much so that even today in my schizophrenic days, I find myself remembering images and scents of it, because everything was simply mind-blowing. And it was always there that I dreamed and marked what I would do in the years to come, first admiring the Duomo, then walking down Via di Città and afterwards when to make it quicker, I was “forced” to cut through from Piazza del Campo, where time literally stops. To understand, I invite you to walk through the square at 7 a.m. or 11 p.m. in winter. I assure you it will be a real salve for your soul.

After many, many years, Fate and Chance brought me back to my dear Tuscany. This time to welcome me was Cecina, a serene seaside town a few miles from Livorno. And, although many years have passed since the Siena days, the enthusiasm for what there is to do is equal.

From Cecina, the idea of making Vieni A Vivere la Toscana was born and from here it will be directed and managed together with my enlightened fellow travelers, Mari and Angelo.

Arts, artists and artisans…territory, businesses and culture…. in the land of Tuscany.

I am sure of it, it will be a great adventure, and I will want to write about it in my Director’s Diary.

VVT to all.

A new format to promote Tuscany

A new format to promote Tuscany


Game or TV series? Both. Indeed, it is from this unusual and clever mix that “Fox Hunting” was born, the world’s first series game dedicated to promoting the Region of Tuscany.


With the production of VVT channel – a spin-off of the platform Vieni a Vivere la Toscana dedicated to video productions – Fox Hunting is the pilot series game, which will be followed in October by the filming of the second and third series, which is developed in 8 episodes shot in the provinces of Livorno and Pisa, in particular in the villages of Casale Marittimo, Bibbona, Montescudaio and the town of Cecina.


The player is taken by the hand through a map (which will be completed with each episode) and, must watch each day and perhaps several times carefully, the approximately 2-minute video, where actors will leave clues to spot or puzzles to solve, so he can access the next episode.

By whom?

The original story was written by Francesco Felli, who also directed the first series. Fox Hunting is for all intents and purposes an innovative model of “Gamification” a tool that has now entered de facto and in its own right, into the strategic marketing of companies, which to promote their services/products use gaming to create anticipation and desire towards their customers.

The idea of combining gamification with Entertainment, particularly a short-series, is however, the real innovation and the real bet on which Vieni a Vivere la Toscana has focused. At a time when foreign tourism to Italy, and Tuscany in particular, is almost zero, the goal of this format creates a real “bridge” that always keeps the Tuscany brand alive towards those living abroad. It allows constant contact with the region that one loves and may be able to discover, new places and artisans, to be able to go and meet in person as soon as the limitations in traveling are finally removed. Fox Hunting, the first Tuscany Series Game…the hunt has begun!

Happy VVT and happy gaming to all!


Interview with Riccardo Cresci

Interview with Riccardo Cresci

The interview with Riccardo Cresci inaugurates a series of interviews done with those involved in the administration of a territory. Mayors and city councilors, regional aldermen and all those who in some way have responsibility for what happens in a territory. The slant we wanted to give the interviews is well defined, to have a person from the administration that that territory manages talk about the beauty and excellence of a territory. We will do this in a neutral and cross-cutting way, because we are convinced that the beauty and strength of a territory is also determined by the love and passion of those who live there, whatever role they play in the community.

Watch the interview https://youtu.be/1V1_No5mFeo



Smart Working. New life for hamlets.

Smart Working. New life for hamlets.

“Come and live in Santa Fiora and work in smart working surrounded by nature.” With this slogan, Federico Balocchi, Mayor of Santa Fiora, a beautiful village of 3,000 souls on the slopes of Mount Amiata, intends to convince anyone who would like to change their life, to move to Santa Fiora. As far as I am concerned, I believe that it is especially in difficult times that we need to think creatively to find new ways and new solutions. So it was with great curiosity that I searched and read about this initiative in the various press releases and, I will not hide that with enthusiasm I decided to write about the initiative that I certainly consider a new model of “unconventional Territorial marketing” that I find simply brilliant! Most likely, at this time it is one of the first experiences of its kind in Tuscany and in Italy, perhaps the first, in practice in a historical moment of great social disintegration, an entire country, united, decides to make its real estate available for those who want to move to Santa Fiora. For his part, the mayor has made sure to equip the entire village with a stable connection with ultrawideband, which allows you to work safely remotely, in smartworking. So if you want for a period of your life to work in an ancient village, on the vivinpaese.it website you will find the call for applications for a voucher of a maximum of 200.00 euros to cover the expenses incurred in renting the property and for a duration not exceeding six months. On the site in addition to the housing still available, you will find all the services that the municipality provides for new citizens, baby sitter, doctor, plumber…

So… for those who want to change their lives, Santa Fiora is ready to welcome you.

Happy VVT to all!