Leonardo da Vinci and the Velvet Revolution Sparkle Love in San Diego

Apr 25, 2019 951

We are Viktoria Rusnakova and Samuele Bagnai. In our early twenties, we moved from Europe to opposite coasts of the United States. Today, we both live in San Diego, California, where a sequence of peculiar coincidences, three years ago, brought us together. We recently published daringly authentic books, where we have recounted our multicultural experiences and unique journeys. Each book is written with a slightly different approach, but both apply the three must-have ingredients in life: humor, enthusiasm, and persistence.

Following our European tour in May, our first event in San Diego will be at House of Italy on June 16th, at 5:00 p.m. We have scheduled upcoming speaking engagements regarding our books in several venues in San Diego, specific dates to be announced. We are also reaching out to other cities in California and the United States to bring our exclusive message of enthusiasm and Tuscan humor, a new Renaissance way to look at life.

Samuele Bagnai was born in Florence, Italy. He attended middle school in Vatican City in Rome, where he was part of a select group of students working as Pope John Paul II’s altar boys. He moved to the United States in 1997 and today works as a senior financial analyst for an international real estate company.

Samuele is the published author of The Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope. In this book, you will be invited to enter the authentic home of a Tuscan and sit at the table with Grandma, who is unwilling to compromise in her kitchen, along with the rest of her amusing family. You will learn what Tuscan people mean when they speak of "penguins" or "porcupines," making Nutella from scratch with the Indians, selling an old rusty Fiat to the Pope, and how the Italians were invented on the spot, because of a quid pro quo on the sixth day of God's Creation.

In a hilarious collection of stories, Samuele takes the reader across Tuscany and California and the colorful flavors of two unique cultures. Samuele reconnects with his heritage and community, on the 500-year anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci, a Tuscan, who similarly made humor part of his life philosophy. 

Viktoria Rusnakova was born in Slovakia. Following her wanderlust gene, she moved to the United States, by herself, in 1996. Viktoria earned her bachelor’s degree from Baruch University, Zicklin School of Business, in New York City. She spent years working on Wall Street in investment finance and is currently a Vice President for a world-renown investment finance company.

Her thrilling story began 30 years ago, when the Velvet Revolution was sweeping across Eastern Europe, setting her off into unparalleled and unexpected worlds. Viktoria is the published author of Enthusiastic All the Way, an energetic account of her journey across different cultures and countries in Europe and the U.S. Her fearless female rulebreaker attitude drove her to push forward and fight for survival, love, and the success she desired. Her book is a thought-provoking tale of self-discovery, and what can happen when you stop placing blame on life’s circumstances and take a chance into the unknown. It is a compelling story certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the aching desire of wanting more out of life.

Review for Enthusiastic All the Way:

 “Enthusiastic All the Way is a warm-hearted and inspirational tale of an extraordinary life. Endlessly surprising for many young readers. Global and yet extremely personal, it champions hard work and optimism, and offers insight into a time period and way of life that is too recent for history books, but too long ago for spontaneity, and exploration in every sense. It will make you feel hopeful, nostalgic, and empowered all at once.” ~ Audrey Marek, Cornell University, New York

Review for The Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope:

“Charming and very entertaining, nostalgic and melancholic, joyful and very heartfelt . . . this book SO made me miss all of those Italian-born Italians in my family whose richness of spirit can never really be fully described.” ~ Rosina Rucci, Author of 6000 Days of Us, Philadelphia, PA

Boilerplate: Viktoria and Samuele, European immigrants, are accomplished business professionals in finance and financial accounting, who live in San Diego, California. They veered onto a path of creativity with their first published books: Enthusiastic All the Way and The Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope. They are experienced public speakers, run a culture, history, and travel infused blog on their website, as well as a successful travel Instagram page.


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