Get to know your guide

Katie Portanova - Owner of Truly Italy

Ciao!  I’m Katie.

My heart yearned to live abroad and experience life in a completely new way. I strived for better, I wanted more, I desired to see the world in all its glory. I’m an Italophile that loves to step outside of the box and see the world through different eyes. 


I’m embarking on a new mission to be of service to others and change the world with travel and knowledge. I’m using travel to step into the present moment. I want to help people step outside of their daily life and travel to unknown places in Italy. When you come on a week-long retreat with Truly Italy, you’ll learn about Italian culture, traditions, language, and my favorite; cuisine and wine.

When I first arrived in Italy I thrived on my own independence. All I wanted to do was get lost and find my way out. Get lost in the streets, in people’s words, in the views. In 2002, I found myself exploring a city where I didn’t speak the language, listening to the church bells, dodging cyclists and tourists. Physically and mentally, I wanted to get lost in this beautiful new life.


I left my map at home on purpose so I had to find my way back home.


My passion was and still is wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of Florence. It was the only way I got to know the city. When I got lost, I found myself exactly where I needed to be; in the present moment. I always found the right street at the right time. Turns out I was never really lost. I always found my way to a big piazza or saw the Duomo peek out from around the corner behind a palazzo. I had faith.


Getting lost was the life lesson that Italy taught me. It’s always worth it to keep going because you never know what’s around the next corner. Looking back, those study abroad days in 2002 were foreshadowing how I would spend the rest of my life.

I’m continuing to take the road less traveled because that is where I feel most myself.  My free-spirited self. No rules. Just me, myself, and I. That’s where life is the most beautiful. When I listen to my gut, not my head.

Like Robert Frost famously wrote (my most favorite words!)...

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference”

I'm an Italy travel specialist, Meditation Mentor, and Cultural Guide.

Italy runs through my blood.


My grandma was born in Emilia Romagna and grew up in Italy during World War II. Even though my Nana never spoke Italian or taught us any phrases, I’ve always wanted to experience Italy and the culture.


From a young age, I always followed my heart’s desire to do what I want. I’ve been living on and off in Florence since 2002 when I studied abroad through university. I’ve got almost 20 years under my belt of taking trains, buses, and visiting the most beautiful, secluded places in Italy. My passion runs deep. In order to live in Florence legally, I went as far as getting UK citizenship to get residency in my most favorite city in the world. It was well worth the wait. My heart leapt with joy once I made Florence my permanent home from 2009-2013.


Since then my goal has been to keep Italy in my life any way possible, and thus, Truly Italy was born!

Ready to chat more about custom tours, retreats, or trip consulting?

Katie Portanova Italy Travel Specialist

Okay, now for some fun stuff about me...

I love any type of twisting, my spine always thanks me for it!


Favorite Workout

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Tartufo (truffle) cheese. If you know, you know.


Guilty Pleasure

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Schitt’s Creek

Binge-Worthy Netflix Show

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Wild thing - My creative nature comes out in that pose.

Best Yoga Position

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Neither. A great Sangiovese red wine, please.

Coffee or Tea?


An early morning walk and a farmers market.

My Ideal Sunday

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Interested in traveling together? Check out my Tuscany Travel Retreat!