Florence is home to many expats: those who have longed to live here, those who have found love and moved here, and those who have come to Florence and felt immediately at home here. Many people arrive here at a point in their lives when they seek to redefine themselves: whether they were not completely happy, were searching for something new, or were looking for love, it seems that those who come to Florence are reborn. Florence will always be the ‘cradle of the Renaissance' for the art world, but it also welcomes people of all walks of life who are seeking to follow their hearts.
To the city that has welcomed her for the last 19 years, Traci Woish has decided that her way of giving back is by promoting Tuscany's finest treasures: gold, olive oil and wine.
While studying political science and international relations at the University of Santa Clara, California, Traci signed up to study for a year at Gonzaga University in Florence on a whim. Because she wanted to study abroad for more than a semester, her only choice was Florence even though her knowledge of Italian was limited, having studied French in high school.
She almost didn't make it to Florence: she was already making good money selling as a designer's specialist at Nordstrom's. Yet Traci knew there was more to life than a well-paying job, and she felt that studying for one year abroad would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she just couldn't pass up.
During her year in Florence, Traci took almost every weekend off to travel around Europe and Italy with a friend. By June, because she hadn't spent much time exploring the city, she had decided to stay over the summer and spend another semester in Florence. She didn't want to leave without developing a relationship with the city.
When Traci returned to California to complete her BA at the university, she began an internship with the mayor of San Francisco and was looking forward to becoming a press secretary. But love stepped in and swept her back to Florence. She and her beau, Andrea, whom she met during the last few months of her stay, decided that they would live in Italy for a few years and then they'd move to the United States.
As fate would have it, Traci never left Florence. She became so engrossed with developing their business, The Gold Corner http://www.goldcorner.it in Piazza Santa Croce, and enjoying life in Florence that time just sped by. Andrea and Traci are partners in the jewelry store, which is one of the most successful ones in Florence, selling jewelry made with Italian 18k gold. Traci spends her time designing jewelry, and she has even created a line especially for the store, as well as selecting which pieces to sell.
A few years ago Traci took a couple of classes on Italian olive oil and wine, enhancing her appreciation for Italian culture. In 2003, Traci opened Italianloves http://www.italianloves.com/, a wine shop, on via dei Pepi, next to Piazza Santa Croce, to promote the most highly revered ingredients in Italian cuisine: olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine. A sommelier, Lorenzo, works with her to introduce and educate people about the products they sell.
Over the years, Traci has not only developed a love for Florence, but also a sense of gratitude. She credits Florence for teaching her how to live in the moment, to accept things as they come and to enjoy every moment. Her life may not be what she had planned, but Traci takes pleasure in the city that has given her so much and expresses that joy in every project that she undertakes.