41 minutes | Feb 11, 2023
Episode 89:Total Sicily Podcast
So for this episode of the Total Tuscany Podcast, we are changing the name to the Total Sicily Podcast. Our fascination with Sicily started several episodes ago when Pat began the process of getting his Italian citizenship. After that, Omaha, Nebraska, Mayor Jean Stothert joined us to discuss her trip to Tuscany, which also included a stop in Carlentinni, Sicily, as part of a Sister City program. Pat has developed a friendship with a professional guide, Eleonora Formica. Eleonora has become a trusted advisor for families in America to reconnect with their heritage. She's also an expert tour guide of Sicily and a sommelier and can recommend the finest Sicilian wine for any pallet. Eleonaor joins us on this episode to help us expand our horizons on the Total Tuscany and Total Sicily podcast.
47 minutes | Dec 18, 2022
Episode 88: To Tip or Not To Tip in Italy
When Americans travel to Italy, they often need clarification about the practice of tipping. In the States, it's common to tip anywhere between 15 and 30% when at a restaurant, bar, or cafe. The standard is 20%. Total Tuscany Podcast hosts Travis Justice and Pat Campagna have been to Italy several times, even they are somewhat confused about when and when not to tip in Italy after all this time. It's hard to believe we have been doing this podcast for almost nine years now, and we are getting closer to our 100th episode and have never spent a serious amount of time talking about the subject of gratuity. When discussing such an important issue, we bring in the experts. Linda Sorgiovanni from Italy Customized joins us again on the podcast. Operating a boutique travel company, Linda is asked by clients to factor in a tip to the cost of services. That's more challenging than it sounds, as it is not customary to tip for some services, but it is for others. After listening to this podcast, you will be able to travel to Italy with full confidence on when to tip or not to tip!
41 minutes | Oct 29, 2022
Episode 87: Tuscany For The First Time
Omaha, Nebraska, Mayor Jean Stothert had never been in Tuscany. Recently the three-term Mayor found an opportunity to visit Sicily and Tuscany. Mayor Stothert and 80 other Omahans visited Carlentini, Sicily. The two cities share a friendship agreement that will eventually become a Sister City agreement. The bond between Omaha and Carlentini goes back to the early days of mass immigration to the United States. Sicilian families, many from Carlentini, found employment working for the railroad in Omaha. When the constituents returned to Omaha, Mayor Stothert planned some personal time with her new husband, Dr. J. Kevin O'Rourke. Why not escape to Tuscany? That's exactly what the Mayor and her husband did. However, they needed some help and planning, in steps Total Tuscany. If you are a regular listener to this podcast, you know we share our personal experiences regularly and help travelers plan and create their own experiences. The process started with a consultation. Normally this takes place through a questionnaire or Zoom call. Since we are from Omaha, we were able to meet in person. It's important to understand precisely what you want to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime. After the consultation, we get to work with our partners in Tuscany. In this case, Linda Sorgiovanni at Italy Customized. The Mayor enjoyed eight days and seven nights, staying in Florence, but taking the time to travel outside the city. The highlights of our stay are: Highlights of Florence with Aperitivo Uffizi and Academia Gallery Dario Cecchini's Siena and San Gimignano Duomo Complex Tour Cinque Terre with Private Boat Pienza and Montepulciano Enjoy the episode as Mayor Stothert shares the stories of her first time in Tuscany!
23 minutes | Sep 11, 2022
Episode 86: Pushing Boundaries with Art
Our good friend Helen Farrell is back on the Total Tuscany Podcast. Helen will join us monthly to talk about the latest edition of the Florentine Magazine. It's an English publication dedicated to all things Florence and Tuscany. There is a work of art that is pushing boundaries in Florence. A modern sculpture and contemporary art piece by Emanuele Giannelli is called "Mr. Arbitrium." The daily crowds marvel at its size and ponder its meaning which is up for interpretation like all great works of art should be. Helen gives us her thoughts on the sculpture and other good nuggets of information from this month's magazine. About The Florentine The Florentine is published 11 times a year. There are over a thousand subscribers worldwide and a circulation of 10 thousand copies per month. You can find the magazine for free at over 150 locations in Florence. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE
30 minutes | Jul 30, 2022
Episode 85: A Tourist Tax in Florence?
What a summer in Florence! Ungodly heat, a government in shambles, and the tourists have returned in the full flock! The streets of Florence are jammed packed, and business seems to be booming again for those who suffered so much during the COVID-19 pandemic. While flipping through Instagram a couple of weeks ago, we came upon a post from the Florentine that floated the idea of a tourist tax in Florence based on a similar concept in Florence. Of course, the first thought out of our mouths was, what! You must be kidding. Our second thought was to reach out to our friend Helen Farrell, Editor-in-Chief of the Florentine. After all, it was the Florentine that floated the idea. Helen graciously agreed to join us for this episode, and we are so glad she did! We catch on to everything that is going on in Tuscany and look ahead to what is coming up in the coming months! About the Florentine: The Florentine is published 11 times a year. There are over a thousand subscribers worldwide and a circulation of 10 thousand copies per month. You can find the magazine for free at over 150 locations in Florence. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE
45 minutes | Jul 24, 2022
Episode 84: Italian America Magazine
Andrew Cotto has worn many hats in his career. Teacher, novelist, freelance writer. He’s written about his love for Italian food and travel in magazines for years. You are never too old to reinvent yourself, right? Cotto is making his third appearance on the Total Tuscany Podcast. In previous episodes, he discussed his novels. Cucina Tipica, An Italian Adventure, and Pasta Mike. This time, he talks about his new job, Editor-in-Chief for Italian America Magazine. Don’t get us wrong, Andrew is not done writing. In fact, his byline is all over his first issue in his new role. But he has taken a magazine that has been around for years and gave it a more appealing look. Not so much a rebrand but a much-needed refresh. You could say the magazine has taken on some of…or a lot of Andrew’s personality. Italian America magazine is a full-color quarterly in English. It is the official publication of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America®, the nation’s largest and oldest organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States. According to the Organization, the magazine is the most widely read quarterly for people of Italian heritage in the United States. Andrew is trying to grow the magazine outside just Italian heritage. You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy all things about Italy. It’s probably why you are listening to this podcast. The country and the culture are so appealing to many of us who don’t have family that comes from the old country. We can be Italian without actually being Italian. Traveling to Tuscany or other parts of Italy can be intimidating! Where to start? Who to trust? You deserve to travel stress-free! How do you do that? Start with us at Total Tuscany. We partner with some of the best travel planners based in Italy. We give you that peace of mind knowing you are covered and taken care of before you leave, once you arrive, and when you get back home. If you are interested in working with us, email total Tuscany at Gmail dot com. Make sure to follow The Total Tuscany Podcast on whatever platform you listen on. This way, you know right away when a new episode is out. If you have time, give us a five-star rating and write a review, we love to see your feedback. Follow Total Tuscany on Social Media. Just search Total Tuscany on: Facebook Instagram Twitter
52 minutes | Jul 17, 2022
Episode 83: It’s Time for Wine School!
You are never too old to go back to school. Now with online learning, it’s easier than ever. What if we could tell you can start your journey to becoming an Italian wine expert from the comfort of your own home? You can because the Commonwealth Wine School makes dreams come true. Located in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Commonwealth Wine School is dedicated to providing you with the best in wine, spirits, and sake education. Whether you are a beginner, connoisseur, or industry professional, their dedicated and knowledgeable instructors share their expertise and passion for providing you with a fun and engaging experience. Classes are in-person and online. Jo-Ann Ross is the resident Italian wine expert for the Commonwealth Wine School. She’s our guest on this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast. In addition to the courses she will teach, Jo-Ann tells us how her love affair with wine started and how it has taken her worldwide! Her credentials speak for themselves. Jo-Ann holds Certified Wine Specialist and Certified Spirits Specialist credentials from the Society of Wine Educators. Jo-Ann proudly brought Wine Scholar Guild’s Italian Wine Scholar™ and French Wine Scholar™ programs to Massachusetts. Various wine regions, such as Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Languedoc, and Rhone Valley, have partnered with Jo-Ann to provide educational programs for staff and customers of retail stores and restaurants. An avid traveler to wine destinations, Jo-Ann always brings this firsthand appreciation of a region’s wines to her multi-sensory presentations. With over 30 years of professional speaking experience, she delights wine industry professionals, as well as corporate and private audiences at numerous venues. One of her lifelong goals is to visit all 20 of Italy’s regions; she’s been to 15! We will be in the online classroom in October, we hope you will join us! REGISTER HERE Make sure to follow The Total Tuscany Podcast on whatever platform you listen on. This way, you know right away when a new episode is out. If you have time, give us a five-star rating and write a review, we love to see your feedback. Follow Total Tuscany on Social Media. Just search Total Tuscany on: Facebook Instagram Twitter Italy is open for business! Not only do we podcast about Tuscany, but we can also help you get there. We partner with some of the best travel planners based in the region. We give you that peace of mind knowing you have someone in the United States you can talk to before you leave to ensure you have boots on the ground when you arrive. If you are interested in working with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
39 minutes | May 30, 2022
Total Tuscany Episode 82: Italy’s Finest
Italy attracts all kinds of travelers. Those who visit on a fixed budget. Those who vacation and spare no expense. And those who fall somewhere in the middle. Imagine if you will that you have unlimited funds and you could do and buy whatever you want in Tuscany. Sounds like a dream, right? As you are about to hear in this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast, dreams do come true! The dream maker is Filippo Gargani, owner of Italy’s Finest and Tuscan Villas. Italy’s Finest is a 20 years old boutique DMC, event planner, and travel designer strategically based in Florence, Italy. From gender reveal celebrations to corporate retreats, Filippo and his team have planned some of the most extraordinary events. In addition to event and travel planning, Filippo also operates TuscanVillas.com. If you are a regular listener to the Total Tuscany Podcast, you know that we are proponents of renting a villa and enjoying all the Tuscan countryside has to offer. Villas are once again in high demand and if you want one you are going to have to wait. 2023 is the earliest you can grab one and those are filling up fast! Please give this podcast a “like” and share it on your social media channels. If you have time, please write a review. The more engagement we have the more people will hear the stories we are telling. If there is someone you would like us to interview or a place in Tuscany you want us to checkout, send us an email at, TotalTuscany@gmail.com. Please like our Facebook and Instagram pages and follow us on Twitter and Tik-tok.
59 minutes | Feb 6, 2022
Total Tuscany Episode 81: Getting Your Italian Citizenship
As human beings, it’s only natural to be curious about where we came from. The United States is a nation of immigrants as people from different countries and cultures founded the nation. In fact, Between 1882 and 1954, an estimated 12-million immigrants went through the immigration portal at Ellis Island. According to the Library of Congress, more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States by the 1920s. Are you ready for this? That represented more than 10-percent of the foreign-born population in the United States at the time. Unfortunately, a lot of family connections were lost in the moving process over time. Names changed to sound more American. Families separated far and wide across the country to make a better life for themselves and live the American dream. As a result, a connection to family and culture was not as prevalent in the states as in the homeland. Thanks to DNA tests like 23 & Me and services like Ancestry.com, it’s easier to pinpoint our heritage and trace our family tree back hundreds of years. Nick Gibilisco wanted to take it a step further. Not only did he want to know more about his ancestors and where they come from (more so than stories passed down by his father and grandfather), he wants fully connect by becoming an Italian citizen. Not just for him, but his three children as well. The process was long, tedious, and sometimes frustrating. However, today Nick holds dual citizenship in the United States and Italy and has his Italian passport. What he learned along the way gives him a renewed sense of pride about his heritage and a closer connection to his family going back several generations in Carlentini, Sicily. As Nick was going through getting his Italian citizenship, he met others who wanted to do the same things. He helped them. And then he helped another, and another, and another. Nick didn’t take long to figure out he provides a unique service, so he started a company. In true Italian fashion, it’s called, I know A Guy: Citizenship and Geneology Research. After listening to this podcast episode, you too will know a guy who can help you down the path of dual citizenship or find out if you even qualify. NIck does not have a website, but he does have Facebook Page and Instagram Page, and you can email him directly to find out more about his services and the processes involved, email@example.com. Please give this podcast a like on whatever service you are listening to and if you have time, write a review. Also, you can help us out by sharing this episode with a friend. The pandemic has given us a lot of time to think about our past and future. You might know someone ready to take a leap of faith and move back “home,” so to speak, to try a different life, much like our ancestors did over 100-years ago.
57 minutes | Nov 13, 2021
Total Tuscany Episode 80: Pasta Mike
Italy can be therapeutic. People from all walks of life flock to Italy for all sorts of reasons. We've never met a person who left the country and didn't say to themselves, wow! That's the way life should be. Andrew Cotto recently returned from Italy, where he was on a three-week "work" trip drumming up stories. Andrew is a fantastic journalist; one of his stories from this trip will be coming out in Italy Magazine. He will be pitching several more articles to other travel sites and publications. In addition to his travel writing, Andrew has a new book out. Pasta Mike, a story of friendship and loss. Losing your best friend is not easy. In our conversation on this podcast, you can hear in Andrew's voice the pain he's still going through. Friendship never dies, and Pasta Mike is a reminder of how important it is to have people in your life who you love, trust, depend on, and yes, even say goodbye to even if you aren't ready to. Please take the time to give this podcast a "like," share it with friends, and follow us on your favorite podcast platform, so you know when new episodes are released. Click the social media icons below and or search Total Tuscany and join our community.
28 minutes | Oct 17, 2021
Episode 79: Discovering Sicily
Italy is open for business. The Covid-19 pandemic of the last year and a half has crushed travel and tourism in Italy. We've shared the stories of hardship on previous podcasts. There is hope on the horizon. Slowly but surely, people are returning, including the co-publisher of Total Tuscany, Pat Campagna. Pat recently spent close to a week and a half exploring his family roots. The name Campagna is a dead giveaway that he's Italian. But not from the mainland. On this trip, Pat skips out on Tuscany and enjoys the island life of Sicily. In this episode of the Total Tuscany Podcast, Pat is the guest on his own show. We go in deep on what it's like to travel with current Covid restrictions and testing. What's the difference between Sicily and Tuscany? Where there are several, but there are also similarities. Can we ask a favor of you? Please like this podcast and give it a review? Your reviews help more people who want to travel to Tuscany and Italy find us. If you haven't done so already, follow Total Tuscany on social media. We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Tik-Tok. If you have travel questions or need assistance booking a tour or tour guides in Tuscany, email us, firstname.lastname@example.org.
33 minutes | Feb 14, 2021
Episode 78: Rediscover San Gimignano
On this edition of the Total Tuscany podcast, we invite you to rediscover one of the most popular travel destinations in the region, San Gimignano. www.totaltuscany.com
41 minutes | Jan 23, 2021
Episode 77: Too Good To Be True? The 1-Euro Home In Italy!
If you believe all the news stories and headlines, buying a house for as low as 1-euro in Italy is simple. But is it? We have been doing this podcast for several years now. We travel to Italy (when there’s not a pandemic) yearly. I would say it’s our goal to have a home or an apartment in Tuscany someday. But where do you start? Who do you turn to? Well, our guest on this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast knows a thing or two about purchases homes and real estate in Italy. Chris Sobolev operates the website Super Savvy Travelers with her husband, Chris. They fell in love with Italy a couple of years ago, started buying property, and now it’s their mission to people like you and me do the same. Property in Tuscany is SUPER expensive. That’s not a surprise as Tuscany is the most popular region in Italy. Chris and Pete and settled in by the sea in Calabria. It’s cheap, beautiful, and provides easy access to other parts of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. You find or interview with Chris both enlightening and educational. After listening to it, you might be ready to start the process of making your dreams of an Italian home come true!
31 minutes | Dec 4, 2020
Episode 76: Let Italy Come To You!
The two of the most popular things to do when you go to Tuscany are drink wine and take a cooking class. Well, since we can't travel right now, what if there was a way to put a sommelier and a Tuscan chef right in your kitchen? COVID-19 has reinforced our need for connection to people. Linda Sorgiovanni from Italy Customized wants to come into your home, virtually. Linda collaborates with her friend Claudio Bisanzio on a unique cooking class and wine tasting with you and your family and friends. The 2-hour experience includes wine, a food menu with step by step coaching during the cooking process, a recording of your cooking class, a recipe booklet, and memories that will inspire you to travel to Tuscany to experience the real thing. This virtual experience's price is very reasonable—$ 50 per person up to four people and $40 per person for larger groups. We recommend that groups are not larger than eight people. In this podcast, you will find that Linda and Claudio are the perfect guests to bring virtually into your home. You will laugh, drink great wine, create friendships, and be inspired to travel to Italy when we are again allowed to do so. This unique experience is a fantastic gift for the holidays. Imagine unwrapping a bottle of Chianti Classico Reserva or a Brunello with a card detailing a night of great Italian food that you will make right along with your new friend in Florence. Yes, there is a pretty big time difference between Florence and the United States. But don't fret; Linda and Claudio are night owls and will work directly with you to schedule a time that works for you and your guests. You can email Linda directly to set up your class. email@example.com
34 minutes | Nov 21, 2020
Epissode 75: buon Natale From KM Zero Tours
If you can’t go to Tuscany for Christmas, why not bring Tuscany to you for the holidays? On this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast, Arriana Cini from KM Zero Tours has the perfect gift to put under your tree. A Tuscan gift box with 100% locally sourced goods from Tuscany. The idea for the gift box is not a new one, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for her business to survive until tourists return the plan and production were expedited. Order your KM Zero Christmas box today and give a gift that is truly unique for the Tuscan lover in your family.
44 minutes | Jun 13, 2020
Episode 74: The Giant With Laura Morelli
In our current “new normal” of COVID-19 and physical distancing, sitting on the back porch with a good book sounds pretty relaxing. It won’t take you long to realize your reading a masterpiece by Author Laura Morelli. A historical fiction account of Michelangelo’s The David. Florence, 1500. Fresco painter Jacopo Torni longs to make his mark in the world. But while his peers enjoy prestigious commissions, his meager painting jobs are all earmarked to pay down gambling debts. When Jacopo hears of a competition to create Florence’s greatest sculpture, he pins all his hopes on a collaboration with his boyhood companion, Michelangelo Buonarroti. But will the frustrated artist ever emerge from the shadow of his singularly gifted friend? Our interview dives into the labor of love writing this book was for Laura; it was 20-years in the making! Lots of research trips to Florence and a real understanding of Renaissance Art History. Enjoy, and please give us your feedback in the comments section.
33 minutes | Apr 24, 2020
Episode 73: Your Place In Florence
The streets of Florence are quiet right now. Italians are looking forward to the day when their surroundings take on a new life, and crowds can gather and feel safe as they look in awe at the architecture. Sit in an osteria and drink wine and eat excellent local cuisine. Or visit the cafe for an afternoon espresso. When the heavy burden of COVID-19 goes away, our friend Federico Bonechi wants you do know that you have a place in Florence that feels like home. When we first visited Federico back in December of 2014, there was only one property, Palazzo Belfiore. We have visited Federico several times on our return trips, and we have watched his buisness grow over the last five-plus years. The addition of Palazzo San Niccolo, and Palazzo Del Moro. Each property is unique, located in a different part of the city, each with the capability of providing you with a short or longer-term stay. If it's a Tuscany countryside experience you are dreaming about, Federico also offers VILLA PIETROSA. You can find all four locations at one website address, www.yourplaceinflorence.com. Like every good business person, Federico is using the lockdown of COVID-19 to reflect and improve when the rooms start filling up again. When the government gives the word go, Federico and his team will be the first out of the starting blocks because of the preparations they have taken during the downtime. Federico is our featured guest in this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast. In our time together, we discuss what is going on in Italy, how he's doing both personally and professionally, and what the future holds for his business.
52 minutes | Mar 29, 2020
Episode 72: Patiently They Sit and Wait
Italy is under lockdown. Many friends and the people you've heard on this podcast are directly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in Italy. When we visited Florence just five months ago, we spent time with Anthony Frevelleti and his wife, Becca. We ate a fantastic meal together at Ristorante Accademia. Drank several bottles of amazing wine, and then walked the streets, enjoying all the Christmas lights and decorations. Good times! Today the Freveletti's are confined to their home outside of Florence. They are homeschooling their daughter, having their groceries delivered, with little to no contact with the outside world and adding to their stress, worrying about their son, who is in Florida. The good news is Anthony can still ship wine all over the world. So he LOVES it when the delivery driver shows up to pick up a shipment for one of his clients. You can support Anthony and Becca by visiting their website and order some of the most fantastic juice Tuscany as to offer. In the first half of this edition of the Total Tuscany Podcast, we talk to Anthony and Becca about what they are going through. The second half is a conversation with Anna Madaffari, who owns and operates Cool Tours. We also spent a day with her in the Tuscan countryside when we visited last December. A day to remember that ended with a conversation we featured in episode 67. Anna is a private driver and relies 100% on tourism. She hasn't worked or had a source of income for over a month. Anna is someone who during the busy time of the year and works 45 to 50 days in-a-row. Even during the slow months, she has three to four hours a week. Today the cancellations far outnumber the bookings. Anna is worried and for a good reason. Anthony, Becca, and Anna are open and honest about what they are experiencing right now. Their vulnerability tears at the heartstrings and is a reminder that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on lives, whether you have the virus or not.
27 minutes | Mar 14, 2020
Episode 71: The Impact of the Coronavirus in Tuscany
Coronavirus has a significant impact all over the world. Our friends in Tuscany are not immune to what is going on, and for all practical purposes, tourism has come to a complete halt throughout the country. Many of our friends who you have heard on this podcast are directly affected both professionally and personally. Now is the time to listen to them and learn how you can help right now and in the future. Jacopo Di Battista and Mary Shea help run their family estate Querceto Di Castellina. The agriturismo is supposed to be getting ready for the busy season, but the pandemic has forced cancelations for March, April, and even into May. They are worried, but optimistic at the same time.
35 minutes | Feb 15, 2020
Episode 70: The Personal Touch of Florencetown
Esperienza personale. Translated to English, personal experience. Urbano Brini is on a mission. He wants everyone who visits Florence and Tuscany to have a once in a lifetime adventure. Several years ago, he started Florencetown Tours. What began as a simple self-guided bike ride around the city has grown into something much bigger. Something more unique. Something more personal. Last December, I visited Urbano in his office, located a stone's throw from the Arno River. The view alone must provide Urbano with some of his most creative ideas. He is laser-focused on customer service and has a keen understanding of what savvy tourists desire. Urbano will be the first to tell you that what visitors want changes over time. Take Florencetown, for instance. Many of the companies offerings are group outings. Several people, many who you don't know, take a tour to see David, ride Vespa's, or retrace the footsteps of the Medici family. Typical things a lot of us do but leaves us feeling like a tourist rather than having the authentic experience we yearn for when visiting Italy. Urbano and his team noticed this and wanted to offer their clients something more. They didn't need to reinvent the wheel; they just needed to look at the way people want to experience Florence and Tuscany differently. By differently, we mean privately, uniquely, and off the beaten path. Something that when you tell your friends what you did on your trip, they say, wow! How in the world did you get to do that? Urbano makes dreams come true. It shouldn't be that much as a surprise, as you will find out by listening to this podcast, Urbano is one of the biggest dreamers of them all. We are lucky that he wants to share them with the world.