A childhood spent exploring the Tuscan countryside, learning from nature and forming unwavering respect for mother earth - sounds like an absolute dream, right? For the gorgeous Valentina Barabuffi, this was the reality. A journalist, photographer, influencer and mother to Lorenzo, her four-year-old son, Valentina is a force to be reckoned with. Based in the historic city of Florence, Valentina spends her time travelling and photographing her homeland with her young assistant, Lorenzo. Her photography centres largely around the beauty of the Mediterranean, with Puglia being the inspiration and centre of her Mediterranean love affair.
You grew up in Italy, born under the Tuscan sun...ah what a dream. Tell us a bit about your childhood growing up in Italy. What are things from your childhood that you are looking forward to sharing with your son?
A childhood spent in the Tuscan countryside was like a great open-air school. I grew up learning the beauty of nature day after day and at the same time, I learned to respect and care for it. I hope Lorenzo will be as lucky as I was. For children, it is very important to be close to nature, it offers many simple things but more importantly, it stimulates their growth. For this reason, I take my son, Lorenzo to the countryside as often as I can and I let him run free (just like I did), we feed the animals and tend to the vegetable garden.
You are now based in Florence. For those of us dreaming of visiting Florence as soon as we can travel again, what is your favourite place that you recommend we visit?
It's easy, all you have to do is look up and admire the Renaissance masterpieces. I am extremely grateful to live in a place so steeped in beauty, it’s almost overwhelming. My favourite place is the terrace of the Palazzo Guadagni, where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset over the amazing square of Santo Spirito.
You have spent a lot of time exploring the Mediterranean, describing Puglia as your heart in the Mediterranean. Tell us a bit about your love for Puglia, what is your favourite restaurant there, favourite thing to do there?
My love story with the Mediterranean begins in Puglia... I love the chromatic contrast of blue from the sea and the white of its "Masserie". The expanses of olive trees and small abandoned "Trulli" follow one after another along the road that joins the north and the south, with views of the small village of Magna Graecia. Trip after trip the bond gradually became stronger, so strong that now half of my family lives there. Puglia has my heart.
At Auguste, we are so passionate about highlighting incredible working mothers and all mothers that make it work, with many of the women in our team being working mothers themselves. How do you make it work?
In the beginning, it was not easy to organize a new daily life. In Italy, being a working mother is not easy, we are still a long way from having the welfare that can support working women. Things like smart working, nursery schools in companies, flexible hours, aren't available to us here.
My mother helped me a lot and I am immensely grateful to her, especially in the beginning. Now that Lorenzo is a little older, he has already developed a passion for photography that he shares with me, so he is joining me on shoots as my little assistant.
‘A mother’s work is never done’… So the saying goes, what are some of the life lessons you hope to instil in your son that he may then instil in his children one day?
The most important task for me is to educate him well to be respectful and gentle. But I also believe that as adults we learn from children - they teach us how to think without boundaries and to look at the world genuinely and spontaneously.
You are very passionate about equality and breaking the cycle of systemic inequality that is rooted in archaic laws.
I believe that positive social change will come about only when barriers of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and gender identity are overcome. We must all work together to eliminate the racism that stands in the way of equality and change the archaic laws that have held down too many people for far too long.
You looked absolutely gorgeous in Auguste, what was your favourite piece from the collection and why? What do you love to style your Auguste faves with?
My favourite is the Raven York Maxi Dress. It's light, soft, and very very comfy. I love combining my Auguste faves with espadrilles and a straw bag for a romantic style or biker boots for a city look.