I hope you enjoyed last’s Travel Guide for Pisa cuz today is all about where I visited in Tuscany and everything I learned while participating in Annette Joseph’s styling workshop! While participating in the workshop, Annette showed us beautiful areas of Tuscany that were just too beautiful to keep to myself. I wouldn’t call this exactly a comprehensive guide to that region because there is just so much more to explore… but this is a great starting point, especially if you’re considering taking one of her workshops next year!
Tuscany Travel Guide
Where is Tuscany?
Before leaving for our trip, I was amazed by just how large the Tuscan area actually is. Tuscany is in central Italy and the region encompasses cities such as Pisa, Lucca, and Florence, as well as a large portion of the Italian coast on the Ligurian Sea. While I was traveling through Italy, I spent most of my time in Northern Tuscany in areas such as Lunigiana (where the workshop takes place), Forte dei Marmi, and Fivizzano. Historically, Tuscany is known for sprawling, dramatic landscapes, rich artistic history, and cultural influence. While I was in Tuscany with Annette for the workshop, we visited many places that are off the beaten path and soooo fantastic! I really feel like I was able to witness the true Tuscan spirit thanks to her incredible, personally guided tours.
Things to Do in Forte dei Marmi (aka Annette’s Off the Beaten Path Recommendations)
Like I mentioned before, Annette led our workshop group throughout Tuscany to secret, hidden away spots that would truly inspire us. Our group was relatively small and comprised of food stylist Maren Ellingboe, floral stylist Eliza Honey, and PR maven Liz Lapidus. So we were able to see a lot in just 5 days! We spent a full day together in Florence, but I am planning a totally separate post about that city next week. Definitely be sure to stay tuned. One of the most noteworthy places we explored with Annette was Forte dei Marmi. This charming and chic beach town on the Italian Riviera is actually the first Italian beach I’ve ever been to! And when I say ‘chic…’ I mean it is quite something to behold.
A few favorites from Forte dei Marmi:
- Riccardo Barthel — I am so sad that this design shop was closed during my visit. The aesthetic here is the perfect balance of rustic and modern. There is also a location in Florence.
- Bagno La Perla — I learned about Italian beach clubs from this spot! I loved the cool, Wes Anderson vibes of this spot. So many great Instagram moments. You can rent a cabana, umbrella, and chairs so you can hang out on the fine sand beach all day long in comfort.
- Pesce Baracca — while at the coast, we devoured a beautiful seafood lunch here.
- Mercato Settimanale di Forte Dei Marmi — This is only the best market we went to!! Tons of affordable cashmere, leather goods, linens, clothing, and more. Make sure you plan ahead because the market is only open on Wednesdays from 8 am to 1:30 pm.
Accommodations While in Tuscany
It is sort of tough for me to give recommendations on where to stay while exploring this region of Italy because during the workshop, I stayed in Annette’s gorgeous guest quarters. To say her property is ‘incredible’ is a total understatement. Over a few years, Annette and her team (and lovely husband Frank) have transformed a dilapidated, ancient fortress into truly the chicest creative compound I have ever seen. Located in Lunigiana, La Fortezza is absolutely stunning and so comfortable. And Annette has ensured that it was stocked with anything we could possibly want or need, including a private chef! Each night, we feasted on traditional Italian dishes prepared with fresh farmers market ingredients and served with lots and lots of wine from Annette’s property (and maybe an aperol spritz or two).
My Experience of Annette Joseph Styling & Photo Workshops
I’m going to be extra, super clear on this: if you have any interest in one day pursuing a career in styling and/or photography, I cannot recommend attending one of Annette’s workshops enough. I’ve been in this game a few years, but Annette is the OG and she knows her stuff. It’s been about 2 months since I was there, but I still have a-ha moments when something she said off-handedly totally clicks in my mind. Upon returning, I’ve noticed an improvement in not only my styling, but also my photography and how I approach my brand and it’s identity.
Also, I have felt a bit lost about where I wanted to take my career over the past year. I’ve been blogging here on Jojotastic for over 6 years, with styling and photography being a recent additional service I offer to brands and businesses. But where do I want to go next? Do I want to dive into more styling work exclusively? What about photography or video? And what I want to write a book one day?? These were all questions I was able to pose to myself and Annette during the course of the workshop.
The most beautiful part about learning from her is that she’s literally done everything and can speak to that experience. She can tell you the ins and outs of the publishing world, how to run a photshoot, or how to handle clients who demand more than the agreed upon scope of work… And all in a no-nonsense, blunt way. We literally went through my portfolio and she told me the stuff that was not good. That kind of mentoring is invaluable. I cannot stress enough just how amazing of a resource Annette has been (and continues to be) for me.
If you’re from Tuscany or have been before, what’s missing from this list? I’d love to know what some of your favorites are! And in case you missed them, here are the travel guides for our entire Italian vacation:
- Travel Guide for Pisa
- Travel Guide for Tuscany & Annette Joseph Styling Workshop
- Travel Guide: Florence
- Travel Guide: Lake Como
- Travel Guide: Venice
Photography by Jojotastic.