The 2021 Travel Media Awards are just around the corner, with tickets now on sale at the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel on Monday 18 October. Don’t miss out, click here to buy your ticket today.

In our latest Q&A, featuring winners of the 2020 Travel Media Awards, we spoke to Nardia Plumridge, author of our Guide of the Year: Lost in Florence.

What is your connection to Florence?

It’s been one of my favourite cities since I was a teenager; the first time I visited was as a 15-year-old from Australia. When I moved to Italy, what started as a three-month sojourn turned into five adventurous years and I felt a strong pull to share my discoveries with other travellers and Italophiles, first via the website, then the book.

How did the inspiration for the book come about?

Lost in Florence began as a website in 2014 and grew quite quickly in popularity. It came about by simply wishing to share my passion for the city and its people, especially the creative artisans that make it so special. You’ll find an array of creatives in bespoke workshops handmaking paper, jewellery, leather goods… Little has changed for centuries. Publisher Hardie Grant offered me a deal to turn the concept into a book, as part of a new series called Curious Travel Guides. It was the perfect creative fit.

What do you think makes a print travel guide special, when it’s so easy to access information online?

Having a tangible guide in your hand is certainly a fun way to plan a trip, and as a keepsake after your travels. Having curated information at your fingertips is a godsend when faced with today’s oversaturated worldwide web, and a printed guide is an accessible one-stop shop for discovering a city. I find using one a less stressful way to plan a trip, as the book acts as a trusted voice: a friend to help guide you through the city and avoid the tourist traps.

How have you coped with the challenges of being a travel writer unable to travel during the Covid-19 crisis?

I’m back in Australia at the moment, so I’ve focused my work on domestic travel and local publications. It’s all about pivoting and looking at what’s around you to write about. However, many of the magazines, like airline in-flight mags, which were a fantastic source of work, are gone — for now at least — so you have to seek out opportunities closer to home.

What does it mean to you to win this award?

It’s very flattering and gratifying. Lost in Florence began as a passion project, a platform to showcase the independent and unique places in what is a very popular tourist destination. At the time, no one was writing about these unique venues, and it was before it became popular to opt for slow travel. To have the book recognised by the judges of the Travel Media Awards is beyond thrilling.