Talk of the town: a new wave of podcasts

Talk of the town: a new wave of podcasts

Thu 11 Mar 2021 10:51 AM

Engaging content within earshot we feel drawn to: the podcast climate in Florence has a renewed vibe.


ph. @alessiochao




“When you’re making a life for yourself in a place that was once foreign or even unfamiliar to you, the connections you make often feel more intentional and meaningful. This lends itself to lots of lively and meandering conversations.”



Spritz and Grits is a fun and intellectual podcast that recreates that sorely missed feeling of having aperitivo with two good friends. Whilst striking this tone well, the podcast also creates engaging dialogue about life in Italy. Sally Tucker and Mary Gray bonded in Florence over the anomaly of both being from the American South. Sally is a lecturer and tour guide, while Mary is a writer, journalist and editorial consultant (most readers will know her as former events and associate editor of The Florentine), so the podcast acts as an extension of their characters and talents. Mary mentions how their plans for the podcast include continuing to interview friends and colleagues with unique ties to Florence. Their rambling, ritualistic conversations seem unfiltered and enchanting. “We decided to record the types of conversations we often have among friends, around dinner tables and empty wine glasses.” ‘Our take on the perfect fall day in pandemic-tainted Tuscany’ (Episode 2) is a charming introduction to Tuscany in the fall, in which Sally and Mary talk fondly of the vendemmia and zucca season, as well as the colours and food of fall. Alongside this follows a fascinating chat about the controversy surrounding the famous Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. A nice mix of humour and debate, Sally and Mary set out with the innovative idea that the right listeners would find their podcast, which means that they avoid overly curating their discussions and themselves. “The more specific you get about your experiences and who you are, rather than trying to narrowly define your niche audience, the more likely you are to create work that’s resonant with a lot of people.”





“We argue over absolutely everything, which is the perfect partnership.” 




Not to be missed is the new podcast Another Room with a View, a play on the title of that novel by E.M. Forster. Dr. Will (William M. Roberts) and Reverend Bates (Paul M. Davis-Miller) have fine-tuned their collective life experience, love for Florence and singular sense of humour. Split into three parts, the talk starts with current affairs, segued by an interview before discussing the world of media, acting and Hollywood. Dr. Will, born and raised in Florence to English parents, is bilingual and bicultural, a talented voice-over artist and actor. A clear intellect, he brings a calming presence to the podcast, which ties in perfectly with The Reverend Bates who, despite his background as a former investment banker for the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank and former Senior Vice President, North America for BBC Worldwide, brings much more than this impressive CV connotes: a sharp wit and an insider’s perspective on the world of showbiz. The idea, which stemmed out of lockdown, was to help Florence. “We started it during the pandemic, and I think I was horribly depressed and Will was very funny, so we hung out.” Listening to Bates and Dr. Will speak about Florence, intertwined with irreverent anecdotes, you can’t help but soak up their passion for the city. The podcast focused on the underexplored underbelly, young students and artists who are already in or aspire to move to Florence. A sneak peek into what to expect includes an unusually off-the-cuff chat with The Florentine’s Helen Farrell, discussions on Woody Allen, impeachment and ABBA, plus a mood-boosting, unapologetic stream of conscious-type discourse. 




More podcasts about Florence and Italy…



Tune into these aural delights centred on art, cooking and Italy at large. 



A weekly Sunday night appointment on Clubhouse at 9pm, The Italy Club sees digital experts Alexandra Korey (aka ArtTrav) and Georgette Jupe (Girl in Florence) discuss real-life Italian issues, from relishing hot lunches to mother-in-law matters. Tune in and have your say: that’s the point of it all.



An enticing twist on the traditional podcast, have a listen to ArtViva’s Take me to Italy Clubhouse session, a live chat all about Italy. Tune in on Wednesdays 9am and 5pm CET to follow Rose and her guests’ uncensored and authentic chats with Italian guides, locals and scholars on everything current in Italy.



Denis Byrd’s art-focused podcast, The Renaissance, explores Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Raphael and more in an in-depth understanding of Florentine art history.



An extension of her successful blog, Juls’ Kitchen, Giulia Scarpaleggia’s podcast Cooking with an Italian Accent features Tuscan cuisine and recipes. Listen to Episode 38 to follow a virtual cooking class or #28 to understand the intricacies of a traditional Tuscan Christmas meal. 


Katie Clark and Josie Armao’s Untold Italy devotes a few episodes to Florence and Tuscany. Check out Episode 60 on the Garfagnana with Buzz McCarthy, #57 on Tuscany’s Chianti Region with Arianna Cini and #49 Exploring fabulous Florence with Corinna Cooke.





This article was published in Issue 276 of The Florentine.

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