Houston-born content creator and skincare expert Sofia (Sofie) Medina chats with us over morning coffee at Caffè Lietta. With over 150k followers spanning over Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, Sofie’s platforms share how to deal with the questura and her travel adventures throughout Italy, while maintaining a natural glow. With an intent to inspire through authenticity and beauty, she has taken Florence by storm and shows us how to live the dolce vita while staying true to yourself.
Can you tell us about yourself and how you got to Florence?
I manage PR and communications for Sunday Riley and I had been working as their social media manager in Houston since 2019 until they decided to expand to the Italian market. I have dual citizenship, so they asked if I’d ever move back to Italy. (I previously lived in Rome.) A few months later, we packed up our life and moved to Florence in February 2022. I was already doing content creation and YouTube at that point, so now I’m a PR manager by day and content creator by night. My husband, Emilio, is from Calabria, but also lived in Rome for 20 years, so we were both exhausted by it. Since being here, we’re so happy, Florence was our renaissance.
You’re really transparent about the struggles of living in Italy. What has made you feel at home here?
I never felt settled in Rome, and that’s when I started sharing the non-romantic parts of living here. Florence feels different because I have a stable job and apartment, so I feel more at ease. We’ve been able to explore the neighborhood and make our space a home. I felt an immediate connection with the city and found a routine with work, content creation and socializing. Overall, I’ve grown a lot since living in Rome, so I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s a different chapter of my life.
What is something you miss about American culture and something you would miss about Italian culture if you weren’t here?
I miss the openness of Americans. I’m comfortable conversing in Italian, but it’s not my mother tongue. Asking questions, being witty or saying a joke in a different language doesn’t always translate, so I miss the comfort of being my full self. When I first moved to Italy, I missed the convenience of doing errands at a one-stop-shop. Here it’s a bit more complicated, however I’ve learned to appreciate it and slow down. Now I like walking around, enjoying the surroundings and meeting small shop owners instead of going to Target, talking to no one and spending 500 dollars when I just needed deodorant. Of course, I miss my friends and family and I’ve met amazing people here, but there’s nothing like having your lifelong friends. I also miss the ease of doing bureaucratic things. Reading paperwork is simpler when you understand the language, so sometimes that independence feels lost when I rely on Emilio for help.
In America, as clichéd as it sounds, I miss the dolce vita. The lifestyle here has taught me to relax. Work isn’t going anywhere and it’s okay if you don’t answer an email immediately. I can enjoy a coffee with someone first and the world won’t freeze over. People live to live, not live to work. My whole well-being is healthier from the happiness this country brings me.
Your content covers a range of topics. What do you get the most excited to share with people?
I create whatever inspires me that day. Maybe I like my outfit, so I’ll shoot that, or tomorrow I’ll have some post office issues to share. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into one category because I started my content doing cultural differences and the whole US vs Italy thing. That became a bit oversaturated, so I wanted to explore what else I could create. What really feeds my soul is travel content. There are people who can’t travel, but want to experience it in some way, so I try to be tasteful but realistic. Beautiful content is easy to create because everything is so lovely here, but I also try to be real and not set unreachable expectations for people. Social media can inspire, but also make people feel bad about themselves and I don’t want to give that feeling to anyone. I want to be somebody that I would want to watch and look up to.
Major differences between Italian women and American women?
I’ve had different experiences between Roman and Florentine women. Generally, Italian women are no bullshit and speak their minds. They aren’t embarrassed about asking questions and don’t apologize for who they are. They own it and not in a smug way, but in an “I deserve to be here” way. American women, myself included, are more passive and apologetic. In my experience, American women can be more open initially, but on a surface level. Italian women are closed off at the beginning, but once you crack that shell, you’re family for life.
A way to spend “me time” in the city?
Putting my phone away and walking my dog. I like to explore the alleyways, mom and pop shops, and the overall beauty of the city. The more luxe version of me will go to the Four Seasons, take a book, treat myself to a massage and spend a couple of hours recharging.
Favorite place for a date night?
We love to go to Cantinetta Antinori. My husband is a sommelier, so he loves the wine list. There’s also an amazing pizza spot right below our house, so we’ll pick up the pizza and take it home for a movie night.
Favorite lunch spot?
The American in me loves a green juice and avocado toast, so I like Floret or Shake Café. Caffé Libertà is dear to me because our apartment didn’t have a kitchen for two months when we first moved here and that was our spot. They have a daily menu with salads, pasta and other quick fixes. When people come to visit, I like taking them to Hosteria da Ganino. It’s a simple trattoria, but they have a great menu and rustic atmosphere.
Favorite place to visit in Tuscany?
We love to go to San Casciano dei Bagni; there’s an amazing restaurant there. We also love the spa and Val d’Orcia, but you can’t go wrong in Tuscany.