Monday, December 12, 2011

My life in Florence: Colazione (breakfast) at JK Place with the owner Ori Kafri. Then in the 4 hours until my pranzo (lunch appointment), I went to a fascinating exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi titled: Denaro e Bellezza (Money and Beauty), Medicis, Botticelli and Bonfire of the Vanities. From there I went to some of my favorite museums which I haven't been to in a couple of visits, Medici Chapel (magnificent sculptures by Michelangelo)and San Lorenzo church, designed by Brunelleschi.
Then I went to the 'office' of The Florentine for a lunch in my honor! Over pasta and two bottles of wine, we laughed and cried reminiscing of 7 years of The Florentine, thinking of who should 'star' as each of us in the movie of my book, It Happened in Florence.
Then tea at Lungarno hotel with my lovely Natasha, some 'work' by my esssential Dr. Foukis.
Dinner with my friends, Elisabetta Guicciardini and her husband Francesco Mazzei (proprietor of the famous Fonterutoli wine), at their home, joking and teasing for hours.
How fortunate to have my life and home away from home in this glorious city!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review of "It Happened in Florence"

Here is the latest review of my book It Happened in Florence, written by Sarah Sievert and published in The Florence Newspaper.

Do you find yourself with dreams still unfulfilled? Do you have the excuses of timing, family, job commitments, or another fear hidden by a back pocket excuse? Don't tell that to Nita Tucker.

Nita Tucker, founder and editor-in-chief of English newspaper The Florentine, offers uplifting advice in her autobiography It Happened in Florence. Against all odds, she tackled her dream to live in Europe, even at 50. She describes the trials, laughs and experiences she faced to prove “It's never to late.” Her honest and open style not only encourages you to turn the page but also to feel as if you have been invited to her home for a cup of coffee and afternoon chit chat.

Tucker’s book mirrors that of many expats or study abroad students. You may find yourself between chuckles or tears murmuring, “That happened to me too.” Though you may not have been the founder and editor-in-chief of The Florentine or trotted around on the Ferragamo country estate, the struggles with family, decisions, work, and cultural barriers echo those of many others, maybe yours.

And for those who have not yet felt the sunshine and clouds of living abroad or are on the verge of following a risky dream, this book serves as an excellent guideline and road trip companion. Tucker will make you laugh, cry, inspire you with ideas but most importantly push you. I recommend you to take a coffee break with Nita and listen to her story of “what happened in Florence.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

Back in Florence!

Living La Dolce Vita in Florence to promote my book. Sunset with Ponte Vecchio in the background!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It Happened in Florence

It Happened in Florence follows the day-to-day life in Florence, Italy, from the seemingly mundane, like trips to the gym, to the glamorous and unusual, like a wild boar hunt. It also covers the inspiration and creation of The Florentine, while touching on the deeper themes of family, relationships, and the reality that anyone can "make it happen".
Here is an excerpt, straight from It Happened in Florence:

Riding my bike over the Ponte Vecchio, I stop to look across at the Uffizi Gallery or the church of San Miniato on the hill overlooking Florence, and say to myself,

I live here! This is my life!

I had, at last fulfilled my long held dream to live in Europe. Florence was my life for four incredible years. Pedaling through the streets instantly and intimately connected me with the past and present of this unique city; cycling by the palazzos, churches, museums and galleries, I admired the legacy of its long-ago Renaissance, only to have my head turned by the well-heeled Florentines popping in and out of designer stores and chic café-bars.

The life I discovered in Florence fully embraced the old and the new of the city. With my husband, Tony, and our Italian partners, I set up The Florentine, a newspaper for ex-pats living in Florence, as well as for the many English speaking tourists who visit this beguiling city every year. I was the editor-in-chief and at the center of all the action. I reveled in the opportunity to meet so many new and captivating people; excited that they all seemed to want to meet me! Everything that was enticing in the city’s history and vibrant present was waiting for me to discover and share with the readers. I had a mission, and a bike…and already more than I’d hope for.

It was usually my bicycle that transported me to the unexpected stopping points with which my life in Florence was abundant. Some days I could be seen pedaling to the office to meet my talented, confounding and gorgeous Italian business partners; or to interview politicians, designers from fashion dynasties, members of the Florentine nobility or visiting celebrities. Other times I’d throw on a black dress and saddle up to attend a special event: maybe the opening of a gallery; or a privileged sneak-peak at rarely viewed treasures in the company of distinguished patrons of the arts; or perhaps a fashion show…that I may have been officially invited to or about to crash. And, on other days, I would take a short and leisurely ride to meet my girlfriends at a piazza café or hotel roof-top bar - to talk, laugh and cry over friends, family and fashion and come up with ideas as to how we could make a difference within the Florence we loved and adored.

Every day proved an adventure; the highs were certainly high. But there were lows too, make no mistake. Saying goodbye to my husband when he returned to the US after a year, soon to be followed by my daughter Montana, was acutely painful. The trials of adjusting to this physical separation required us to re-assess our relationships and work out new (and eventually better) ways to connect, relate and share our love for each other. There were moments of real isolation, when still figuring out how I weave my way into the tightly knitted Florentine circles, I’d cry with longing for my own family and nurturing US girlfriends. On top of all this, a lack of money - to fund me and the newspaper - was a constant source of worry, requiring much juggling and negotiation. And while I was in awe of being in Italy, loving my discovery of its history, life and people, I also had to face that there were just some aspects of its culture that left me frustrated, upset and feeling far from home. Yet, those times I stopped my bike on the Ponte Vecchio and took in the wonder of it all, I had no doubt whatsoever that the highs, certainly in number, by far exceeded the lows. It is on a circuitous, and not strictly chronological, journey through both ups and downs that this book will take you.

To get your copy of It Happened in Florence, visit

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And Johnny Depp,too

Back in the USA for the holidays. It's hard to leave Florence, but fortunately I love to come back to LA. I live five steps from the beach, so my morning routine is a one hour bike along the beach, followed by a swim in the pool. This is instead of a stroll through Sant'Ambrogio market and cappuccino at Cibreo's. In fact, I refrain from coffee in LA.....why ruin a good thing?

Of course the best thing about LA is that I get to be with my husband (the kids are in Santa Fe and Florida....and I get to see them,too on each trip). That whole 'unconditional' loved and cherished thing can't be overrated. So I'm basking in the sun and love.

But the other part of LA....the 'glam' never fails to fascinate me. I love going to Barney's in Beverly Hills and seeing the 'scene'. No where else do you see people so 'done'. Every woman is skinny, with unmoveable, non-detachable boobs with long blond straight hair (of indeterminate age), and a face that is stretched, ironed and implanted.....and no one looks real but everyone looks the same. Of course, I admit that I'm a member of this movement, albeit an amateur, and enjoy observing the 'pro's' as well as appreciate the danger of going where fortunately I don't have enough money to go.

As far as relating this to Italy.....there is one glaring difference (among many others) that never fails to amaze me. All through Barney's, Neiman's, Sak's and down Rodeo Drive, you fine, women trying on and buying $2,000 a pair shoes, or a skirt on sale for $1,000, or a $2500 little jacket, and what they are wearing to shop are sweat pants and tennis shoes. I know they are buying magnificent clothes, but I failed to see one person wearing them!!

In Italy, I'm the only one who goes to my gym in my workout clothes. Everyone else there comes to the gym dressed in normal work/street clothes (which doesn't even include wearing jeans), then changes into gym clothes, works out and then changes back into street clothes. After 4 years in Italy, I still can't do that. I just quickly get back on my bike and go home to change. I used to stop for a cafe on the way home, but now I even feel like a 'freak' doing that. I 'dress' before I go for coffee.

So to see someone walking down Rodeo Drive, not just one person, but everybody, dressed in a manner I can't get away with for at my neighborhood bar (coffee bar) is quite shocking to well as amusing. And just wait another couple of weeks, I'll be in sweats at Starbucks.

The Johnny Depp reference was not just a tease. I have some wonderful friends here who are in 'the business' and love to invite me to 'screenings' and any other event because they get a 'kick' out of how much I get a 'kick' out of what everyone else here has to pretend to be 'blase' about. In this 'pre-award' season, I'm getting invited to 3 or 4 screenings a week. Usually, these are just small screenings for the press or academy members to get advance reviews,etc. and no one famous is there. But last week, Dreamworks put on a big event at Paramount Studios for the film, Sweeney Todd by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.
I was in heaven......the Paramount lot was sparkling with Christmas lights, and as we walked in I saw Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Mira Sorvino, Martin Short......and standing in a corner with his 'classic' bowler hat was my angel, Johnny Depp.

The movie was starting in moments, so no time to catch up and chat, and besides I was too distracted by catching all the other stars in the seats besides me.
After the film (which I didn't like....I'm not a Tim Burton fan, too gory, and Johnny in white face/Goth is not my favorite look on him), there was the glamourous reception. Johnny was surrounded by 'admirers' which included other stars. I knew that I had to speak to him, but what to say?
"I have to thank you for the gift that you work has been to me"
and he took my hand, and he looked at me, and when he talked to me, there was no one else in the room, or in the city or in the world.
I don't remember what he said, something like 'that's so kind of you to say', because I was lost not in his eyes, but plunged into the purity of his soul. I know this sounds stupid, like the 'love/star-struck' fool that I am, but his inner beauty, grace and kindness overwhelmed me.

God, I love LA!!