I'm a travel journalist and Italy expert. Ask me anything about Italy travel and/or using digital media to tell a travel story!

Erica Firpo
Jun 7, 2018

I am a style-savvy journalist and content consultant specializing in travel- trends, Intel, reviews, and experiences, with an intent focus on Italy.  You can find my articles in CN Traveler, Fathom Forbes Travel, Hemispheres, Wine Enthusiast, Wallpaper, The Telegraph, The Guardian and more.  Communication has been the main protagonist in the story of my evolution from writer to digital media consultant.  I am considered one of Italy's Top Eight Digital Influencers (La Repubblica). With a natural penchant for nosiness, networking, and communication, I have built a career out of finding and relating content, whether as simple as a single article or as mosaicked as an interactive digital and social media program. Whether you are looking for tips on Italy travel or want some advice on how to tell your story, I will be happy to answer your questions.

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What are some of the most underrated places in Italy that every tourist should visit at least once?
Jun 12, 2:22AM EDT0

That is a tough question- I think everyone should visit Sicily at least once to explore its crazy diverse history, from the Greek temples of Selinunte to the hill towns like Tusa and Erice, and then Baroque Sicily in Ragusa and Noto.  And then just enjoy the food.

Jun 12, 12:05PM EDT0
What are some of the places that you consider to be hidden gems in Italy?
Jun 11, 9:23PM EDT0

Everywhere in Sicily. All the borghi of Abruzzo. All of it.

Jun 12, 12:02PM EDT0
You mentioned people commenting on how you have the best job in the world but are there any downsides to it? Anything you'd like to change about it?
Jun 11, 9:07PM EDT0

Peole do make nice comments about travel writing. Some of the downside is that I am traveling most on my own, not with my friends or familly. But that is the job.

Jun 12, 12:02PM EDT0
What influence did travelling so much have on your life?
Jun 10, 8:46PM EDT0

It has taught me that experience is important, and you can take it with you whereever you go.

Jun 12, 12:01PM EDT0
What is important to consider when planning a sustainable holiday?
Jun 9, 8:02AM EDT0

Transport, consumption, supporting local producers.

Jun 9, 2:49PM EDT0
How cheap is too cheap for a vacation if you want to be sustainable?
Jun 9, 5:53AM EDT0

Not sure I can answer that question because cheap means different things to different people

Staycations (at home vacations) are incredibly cheap, and great ways to promote sustainable tourism.

Jun 9, 2:48PM EDT0
What is your personal idea of promoting sustainable tourism?
Jun 8, 6:53PM EDT0

Train travel. 

Jun 9, 2:48PM EDT0
The destinations where people can work on social or environmental projects -- so-called voluntourism -- are becoming increasingly trendy. It sounds sustainable, but in fact it's controversial. What are your views on that?
Jun 8, 11:43AM EDT0

Voluntourism can be a great idea if implemented well, otherwise it is temporary, and stinks of colonialism.

Jun 8, 1:13PM EDT0
How would you describe a typical day in terms of researching a new town or city?
Jun 7, 7:01PM EDT0

Before I travel, I am on line researching articles and books, to give me a good idea of what I want to see and what I will be seeing. When I arrive, I love perusing a printed map that helps me put it all together. 

Jun 8, 4:07AM EDT0

What are some of the things that really bother you in terms of tourism and travel that most people don’t seem to mind?

Jun 7, 7:42AM EDT0

The misleading concept of sustainable tourism.  No matter how it is managed, tourism is not sustainable as it is temporary, inconsistent, adds to waste/consumption, and lacking in commitment to a place, culture, people.  That being said, tourism also can help a city/town/region/country's income but the question is how can we make this Insta-travel and mass tourism evolve other industries within the town/city/region/country?  How can we encourage travelers to contribute thoughtfully?

Jun 8, 4:12AM EDT0
How do you rate the influencer marketing business in Italy at present?
Jun 7, 6:05AM EDT0

It is just like every where else- there are quality influencers and otherwise, and there are great agencies that take the time to understand the creators (and their work), and agencies that look for numbers. 

Jun 7, 6:08AM EDT0

What is the current major challenge for Italian tourism and how have to highlighted these challenges in your writing?

Jun 7, 1:55AM EDT0

I like to focus on sustainable tourism- ways of seeing/visiting Italy that emphasizes support of small businesses, smaller museums and sites, et cetera. Italy is very lucky because everyone wants to come here, but most want the "Grand Tour" (Rome/Florence/Venice) and I do my best to highlight "other" places

Jun 7, 3:58AM EDT0

What are some of the environmental issues and concerns you have witnessed while traveling in and around Italy?

Jun 7, 1:21AM EDT0

Extreme tourism (ie. not clear program for sustainable tourism), unorganized waste disposable, the arrival of multi-national companies which push out small/local/historic businesses. 

Jun 7, 3:56AM EDT0
What are your working essentials, things you can’t live without?
Jun 6, 4:20PM EDT0

I can't live without Lamy pens, Blackwing pencils, and the occasional root beer.

Jun 6, 5:28PM EDT0
Who influences you to the most in life and why?
Jun 6, 3:18PM EDT0

Serena Williams- she is strong, confident, professional and does exactly what she says she will do.

Jun 6, 5:27PM EDT0

What type of stories do you cover in Italy? Does your expertise only cover Italy or does it include other Scandinavian countries as well?

Jun 6, 1:55PM EDT0

I cover Italy- travel narratives, hotels, restaurants, exhibitions.  I have written about Scandinavian countires but lately my focus is Italy/

Jun 6, 5:27PM EDT0
Why did you decide to use digital media for your travel news/story? Why not some other medium?
Jun 6, 10:55AM EDT0

I started out as a traditional journalist, and continue to contribute to "traditional" publications.  With the evolution to digital media, I've evolved as well- it's simply the next progression for all journalists.

Jun 6, 11:02AM EDT0

What surprising lessons have you learned whilst becoming a Digital influencer?

Jun 6, 10:48AM EDT0

Be patient, most important lesson I've ever learned.

Jun 6, 10:51AM EDT0
How often do you meet people saying “Wow, you’re a travel writer/journalist – that must be the best job in the world!”?
Jun 6, 8:20AM EDT0

Everytime time I meet someone new (who doesn't work in travel)! :D

Jun 6, 8:22AM EDT0
If you wanted to choose only one place in the world to live, where would that be and why?
Jun 6, 6:59AM EDT0

ROME!!

Jun 6, 7:00AM EDT0
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