For those that don’t know me, I’m an Aussie in Italy. I came to Italy from Melbourne on a whim in 1985, with a view to learning the language and then spending the rest of the year travelling around Europe. That was not to be the case as I fell in love with Florence and Tuscany and by the end of the year resigned from my Social work job to stay on.
The years passed quickly as jobs were easily found in those days – waiting on tables, cleaning in hotels, being a sales rep, teaching English and working in the leather market. I still love the feel of ‘vera pelle’! Eventually I took the plunge and opened a shop with English greeting cards that were hard to come by, paper models and stencils for kids which Italian mothers knew nothing about, and soft toys of Australian animals with a few boomerangs tossed in as well. Needless to say it was a total failure and I can still hear my fathers words of wisdom “Social workers are not cut out for business”!
Not to be deterred I moved on to selling exclusively “Australiana” products at fairs throughout Itay – cowboy hats, T shirts, roadsigns, didgeridoos, woolly slippers, soft toys and lots more boomerangs. An odd idea but it worked and the company lasted for 20 years, although I was never clear as to why Italians would want to buy boomerangs or anything else Australian!
In between fairs I linked with American and Australian travel agencies taking tourists on bike and coach tours throughout Italy and beyond. I must say the coach tours won out in the end, and I had a lot of fun and learnt an enormous amount about Italy and Italian culture. We had time to explore small villages, visit artisan workshops, savour local specialities over a glass of wine or delve our hands in pasta at a cooking lesson. But after 15years touring decided to move on. I bought a little holiday retreat at San Bernardino in the Cinque Terre a month before the tragic flood in Vernazza.I now spend quite a lot of time helping on the volunteer tourist project to help restore and rebuild the territory around Vernazza organised by Save Vernazza – ‘Turisti nei Cian’ where ‘Even Paradise needs a Gardener.”
So you can keep track of what this Aussie in Italy gets up to in my posts while I share some behind the scenes info about the places that are dear to me!