Behind the Scenes of your Italian Fix: Day 1

by Bianca Gignac

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>> This is day 1 of a 7 day party delivering a sneak-peek at how getting your Italian Fix is the best thing you can do with your precious vacation time. <<


I absolutely love behind the scenes stories.

This is why the next seven days are dedicated to giving you a blast of behind-the-scenes views of what goes into an Italian Fix trip.

I’ll also introduce you to the fascinating people who collaborate with me. I don’t deliver you the most amazing travel experiences in Italy on my own; I find these people for you. I gather a ridiculous amount of talent and then stitch it into every single day of the trips.

In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret: my work and my life is massively fuelled by watching individuals who innovate, who are taste-makers, who are ahead of the curve and who possess an uncompromising drive to excel at what they do. I like to find these people, I like to hang out with them — and then I like to share them with you. Because I feel that when someone shares their talent with you – it has a profound effect on how you perceive your own potential. Shining lights help us all radiate.

I’m proud to call the people you’ll meet this week on the blog my friends and collaborators. I hope you’ll take advantage of their gifts that I’ve bottled up to share with you this spring in Italy.


Vintage cars in Florence


I’m so amped to tell you that we’re gonna take a fleet of vintage Italian cars for an evening spin – you’ll get to do that when you join the shopping trip to Florence and Milan. You can see the full details here.

I can’t think of a better way to tour the surrounding hills of Florence than from the windows of an Italian icon: the Fiat 500.

Our evening in these colourful candy-like miniature cars will tour the back roads of Florence. We’ll travel in a convoy and it’ll include ample opportunities for picture taking. I can’t wait for those pics!

Then we’ll head up to a massive private villa sitting on a hill overlooking Florence. The sun will be setting — the perfect time for a dip in the pool. You’ll also learn how to make a real Italian pizza and we’ll also taste local wines from the villa’s private cellars.

If you think it sounds like the perfect evening then you’re right. It is.


Meet Andrea


Today we’ll meet Andrea.

She’s the owner of the 500 Touring Club, a company that offers people a unique opportunity to escape the city and drive one of her vintage Fiat 500’s.

Andrea is originally from Sydney, Australia but moved to Italy when she met her husband while on holiday (I see a recurring pattern here…)

Giuseppe and Andrea live in Florence and run the touring company together and share a love of food, wine, Italian culture and vintage cars.

I interviewed Andrea to tell us more about how she, Italy, and tiny cars come together.

So, you race around Florence in vintage cars. What got you into that?

Andrea: I’ve always loved anything old, and my first car in Italy was a 1969 500 Giardiniera, the station wagon version. That’s when I really started to feel at home in Italy, and it’s a feeling I wanted to be able to share. The car’s name is Lulu, and she’s still with us on the tours.

What is the best thing about driving your cars around Florence and the countryside?

Andrea: They get so much attention from everybody — everywhere we go it’s like being in a parade! But what I really love is having the roof back and the wind in my hair and the little 499cc engine roaring away in the back.

Why do people rave about these trips?

Andrea: We get loads and loads of referrals. We get rave reviews because it’s an exciting and refreshing way to see Italy, and really gives you a local’s point of view. Also, there’s no crowds, just great food and wine and always fabulous company.

What are the best things about a vacation in Florence and Italy?

Andrea: The history and the art are mind blowing, but stepping off the tourist trail and heading out to a country food festival, getting into the grape or olive harvest, or dancing in a sunflower field are the experiences that stuck with me from my first trip to Italy, and are still some of my favourite things to do.

What else do you do for fun in Tuscany?

Andrea: I’m the car maniac and Giuseppe is the food and wine expert. We also design custom excursions in Florence or the country for families or groups. I believe that Tuscany literally has something for any particular interest group — motorsports, science, fashion, hiking or music.  I love to design tours around that.

Giuseppe and I have a baby daughter Nina, who is 9 months. Oh – and I’m also a beekeeper


Lets’ get this party started!

For the next seven days we’re having a party to celebrate the release of our 2013 itineraries. Check out what we’ve created for you:

Photographing Florence

Shopping in Florence and Milan

Loving the Cinque Terre


Today I’m giving away my favourite Italian cookbook: Light of Lucia. Leave a comment below to be entered in the draw and then check back to see the winner.

A big announcement.

I’ve got the biggest, bestest, most beautiful thing going: I am giving away one spot on one of the trips.

Get your butt in gear and come to Italy — on the house. Full details here.

It’s your turn.

Comment >> you could win a cookbook today.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

xx Bianca

{Update: Give-away winner is Fira Pierce. Congrats!}

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

jenn chic

i would love to win a cookbook today and i would love to come to italy!! perhaps a little honeymoon fun in a fiat! thanks for the party this week, bianca. glad you’re safe and sound in nyc xo


Bianca Gignac

Hi Jenn!

Awesome to see you here. I’ve bought this cookbook for a bunch of friends in the last few years — it’s that good. The book “Light of Lucia” goes through all the stages of an Italian women’s life. Like Baptism, Festivals, falling in love with your bello, wedding day, the suocera (mother in law) and it’s accompanied by the most beautiful writing.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. xx B



Any cookbook that gets our family out of the ‘macaroni & cheese again’ doldrums would be fantastic. Hope you made it out of NY okay. Must have been a memorable experience to have seen the power of that storm in the city that has a hard time sleeping.


Bianca Gignac

Hey Fredrik,

I have a soft spot for mac and cheese and that’s definitely the Canadian in me! Thanks for your well wishes. xx Bianca


Jo 2 cute

I am loving your joie de vivre. I am captivated by your inovative ideas for travel, e-communication and business. I love Italy – only been once – but feel a need to return! And next year I retire:) In the meantime a cookbook would be just the thing to get in the mood . . .


Bianca Gignac

Hey Jo 2 cute, Love you name…it’s just…2 cute.

It is wonderful hearing your views and I really appreciate you sharing them here with me. Keep in touch! xx Bianca


D. L. Kohl

Thanks for the cookbook referral, Bianca! (I can always use new fodder in my efforts to impress the Chef husband). The video clip was very informative – I’m intrigued by Luciana’s passion and reverence for her ingredients (referring to them with personal pronouns) and how the food relates to stages of a woman’s life. Buon appetito!


Bianca Gignac

I can’t imagine how tough it would be to impress a chef husband. I have a few chef friends and when they come over for dinner I work extra hard!That is very interesting you picked up on the grammatical nuances of Luciana — she seems like a really sweet person. She runs an Italian cooking school in Australia and I’m just such a fan of her. Thanks for coming over Deb. Big hugs. xx Bianca



A tavola non si invecchia….
But im gonna need a good italian cookbook like this too keep them at the table…
♥ amo, ridere, mangiare ♥


Bianca Gignac

Che belle parole kash! Grazie per essere qui. Baci + abbracci. Bianca


Donna Konsorado

Hey there,
Your up to something good as usual. I’ve known you since you were 8 and you’ve always been a motivated, creative gal…remember Eggs Aronious!
Hey maybe a new good cookbook would inspire me to cook something!
Love you xoxo Donna


Bianca Gignac

Ha!! How can I forget such a prolific recipe of my youth — microwaved eggs. I find that hilarious that we were so cutting edge with the latest in technology: a microwave; the first on the block. What a proud familial moment of luxury to be the owners of such a machine that would cook our eggs in 30 seconds flat.

Donna, thanks for coming over to say hi. Its’ true — I’ve happily known you since I was 8 and feel so lucky to still have you as an important person in my life. Air kiss. xx B


Brian Collen

I have had the pleasure of enjoying your Italian cooking Bianca, and any addition to our Italian fare at our home would be welcomed. Hope you get to return home soon!


Bianca Gignac

Brian! We are SOO overdue for a big night of multi-course Italian cooking and revelry. Good thing the winters are long and dark where we live — plenty of time for that. Let’s do it. Thanks for being here. Thanks for being you. XX B


Fira Pierce

OOOOh, I am sitting here with 3 sleeping toddlers (and one who is trying not to fall asleep). I am thinking about driving around in a foxy little car with you, in Italia, Ciao! Thanks for your enthusiastic blog. . .


Bianca Gignac


You are so right! They ARE foxy! I have taken several photos of these little cars in Italy because they are the cutest things in the world. And they are just so strangely small. 10 of them could fit into a Dodge Ram. I’ve yet to drive one — and I’m totally looking forward to that. Crusin’ with the top down…can driving get any sweeter? Hugs to you lovely Fira. xx Bianca


Marie Dahlgrin

Ciao Bianca,

What an amazing idea to tour in a vintage car across the italian countryside! I can only imagine how this experience might enhance an authentic image of Italy in the present as well as an opportunity to imagine what it might have been like historically. I
have travelled with you before, and I can hardly wait to do so again. You are amazing in your capability to entwine travel planning with intellect, wit, passion, creativity, and adventure! Thanks for the party…this is soul food for wanderlust!


Bianca Gignac

Marie: my ace travel buddy! You are the person I’ve travelled with the most. And we ARE NOT finished lady. I am actually writing a post inspired by my travels with you. I was going through some old photos and I just gotta say: we wore too much tie-dye. We were damn cute — like really crazy cute — but I’m glad our fashion sense has evolved. It was just off the hook. I know you have a book inside you somewhere…and i think “Soul Food for Wanderlust” just might be the title. LOVE you woman. But you know. XX


frances dickinson

Loving your VaVaVaVoom these days Ms. Gignac!! Wish i was stuck in NY with you but instead I am stuck here cooking mini-meal after mini-meal after mini-meal for my mini-me’s…oh wait wouldn’t a new cookbook be just the thing i need to perk up me up and to provide me with inspiration to give my family some good quality eats?! AND to start warming my palate up for the Italian delishisness I will be tasting in Italy, with you, when I win me a free trip!!! xoxf


Bianca Gignac

Francesca! You make me laugh missy. Mini meal on! xx Bianca


Cheryl Magyar

A little break from all this Hungarian bacon and paprika would be some kind of wonderful 😉 Driving in Italy sounds like quite the experience…would love to do it someday!


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