When Jessica asked me if I was interested in being part of a new project called the Italy Blogging Roundtable I jumped in right away! Every month, Jessica, Alexandra, Melanie, Rebecca and myself will publish a post on a common topic: I am very worried given the other “ladies of the roundtable” are all very talented writers!
The title of my first post in this series is the answer to the question we chose to guide our first roundtable: “why do you write about Italy?” I confess that I had to think about this before I could come up with something that made sense (and I am not sure I did!). I had never thought about the reason why I blog about the things I blog about. Most of the time, something comes up and I need to vent or talk about it!
I guess that’s part of the answer. I am Italian, I live in Tuscany: by blogging about life in Italy, I am blogging about myself and my life here. I am blogging about home.
I spend my life between Pisa, in northern Tuscany, and my home village, Civitella Marittima, in southern Tuscany, so I mostly blog about living in these places. It’s not so simple though. To figure out what I would write today, I re-read some of my posts. I figured out that most of the time, they are not about places or things I see and do: they are often quite personal posts… more personal than I had realized! I share my experiences, my feelings and my opinions on certain aspects of living in Tuscany or in Italy.
Most of the time I post about “trivial” aspects of local life, like a traditional recipe or about something I saw during a walk in the countryside or in the city… but all these “small things” have great meaning to me and come with the sudden awareness that certain little cultural-specific things are such a huge part of myself that by writing about them I am trying to write about what being born and raised in Italy and living here all your life is really like.
Sometimes I write about them because I am proud of this part of the world. Often I write about my corner of Tuscany because it is more beautiful than people think. And here comes the second big reason why I write about the things I write about: Tuscany is not just Florence and Chianti, Pisa is not just the Leaning Tower, living in Tuscany is not about chilling out under an oak tree all day long and going back to your beautiful countryside villa to chill some more with a glass of red wine in your hand (if you want to read more about what I think about this, you can check this post about hidden gems and popular spots).
I write about my everyday life and about off-the-beaten-path places in Tuscany because I want to express my opinions and beliefs about tourism and its impact on destinations. I feel that, being part of the tourism industry, I have a responsibility towards my home. I manage two vacation rentals (Casina di Rosa south of Siena and Behind the Tower in Pisa) and I contribute to bringing people to Tuscany. I want to contribute to bringing the right people, those who share my view of what traveling means. It’s a bold statement, I know, but there must be a reason if we have met so many great people over the years… I must be persuasive… or terrifying!
I strongly support slow, local and authentic travel, what I defined (a while ago) as “gentle travel” (if you are curious you can also see this post about the various “labels”). I believe that there are many more places that deserve to be known and appreciated than just the usual tourist routes, and that they must not necessarily be transformed in “theme parks” as has happened to very popular tourist spots. I also believe that there are a lot of stereotypes that need to be fought so that people can truly experience life at the destination for what it really is without changing the destination too much.
So to go back to the original question, I guess the main reason why I write about Tuscany is to offer the local resident’s perspective on what it means to live in a very popular area, on what living here is really like, on what people can and cannot (and should and shouldn’t) expect when they come, and at the same time to promote and to protect this beautiful place which for many might be a destination, but for me is home. Of course all the opinions expressed on this blog are just that: my very own personal opinions and experiences.
Italy Blogging Roundtable
This is the first post in a monthly series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Here you can find the posts of the other bloggers who participate in the roundtable and who, like me, tried to answer the question “Why do you write about Italy?”