Updated: Sep 3, 2020
One of my favorite favorite favorite things to do is meet Italian people. I am always amazed by their genuine warmth and passion for helping me learn about their culture. Often times I end up learning about a quirky tradition I didn’t know about or a hidden village I’d never heard of. Sometimes I end up at their dinner table, pouring through old family albums after a meal. But every single time, no matter what, I walk away with a new friend.
And just as mi casa es tu casa (or la mia casa è la tua casa in italian), my friends are your friends, too. Today’s introduction is special as we are not only friends but business partners. Fabio is the one you’ll most likely find behind the wheel when you come with us to Tuscany! He’s also the one that will have us making pit stops along our journey to admire some of his favorite hidden spots where he grew up, from medieval villages to natural hot springs! Keep reading to learn more about Fabio…
1. Where are you from and how many generations of your family has lived there? I am from Certaldo, a peaceful and charming village halfway between Florence and Siena. As far as we know, my family has always lived in Tuscany.
2. What is your favorite thing about being Italian? The natural sense of beauty that we unconsciously develop by living and growing up in a culturally rich and architecturally unique environment.
3. How and why did you become a nature guide? I became a licensed hiking guide after attending a professional course of 600-hours. Besides studying several natural science subjects, such as geography, geology, zoology, and botany, I also deepened my relationship between the local environment and human activities. The landscape is nothing else than the final result of centuries of different human actions.
Certaldo, Fabio’s hometown.
4. Favorite thing about being a guide? Meeting people with different cultural backgrounds and expanding my horizons almost every day.
5. What is your favorite region of Italy? Obviously Tuscany! However, if I had to choose another Italian region, I would definitely go to Sardinia. The “queen” of Italy’s islands.
6. What’s your favorite dish in that region? Pasta with Bottarga (mullet eggs).
7. What is your favorite hidden village or natural area? Tuscany is incredibly rich in Nature and History, being one of the European regions with the highest biodiversity index. Expressing a single preference is, therefore, pretty hard. However, my favorite hidden village is probably Petrognano, a minuscule hamlet nested between Certaldo and Barberino Val d’Elsa, right in the middle of the Tuscan countryside.
From there, since I was a teenager, I enjoyed breathtaking views over the Elsa valley, admiring the majesty of San Gimignano’s towers standing over the horizon.
8. How do you spend your free time? Mostly hiking or studying Tuscan history and traditions. Of course, I also dedicate some free time to sharing good vibes and life moments with good friends.