1. When did the idea of moving to Italy first arrive for you?
I remember this so clearly. It was the 9th December 2013. I remember sitting in an Italian restaurant in Sydney with a girlfriend and we were a few wines in and moaning about life and something inside of me just clicked and I announced just like that I was going to move to Italy. It was almost as if it was planned all along. I had been to Italy various times in my life and was always so spellbound and felt such a strong connection.
2. When did the idea turn into the actual decision to move?
Pretty much immediately after that dinner, I enrolled into an Italian language school in Sydney and I gave myself a 12 month plan, to get myself prepared, learn language, save money and make the move across the following December (2014). I went over to Italy in August of 2014 for a month which just cemented my decision to make the move across in the December.
3. How long did it take to then move here once the decision was made?
It was a 12 month period once the decision was made in December 2013, to then me arriving in Italy on the 15th December 2014.
4. Can you paint a picture of how you felt about finally living here in Italy?
To be honest it felt like I was on some extended holiday in the beginning, it felt very surreal. I remember just walking around almost like pinching myself thinking oh wow how is this my life now?
5. What do you do here in Italy, do you work/have your own business?
When I first arrived in Italy, I started working in real estate, assisting with the overseas client enquiries for English speaking buyers. It was after many years working in the industry I started to notice a pattern amongst the enquiries from buyers. They were all wanting to purchase property here in Italy but many had fears and doubts around potentially losing their money due to unethical agents, or buying properties filled with problems.
It was then that I set up my company Italy Property Consulting in 2019 and created the first ever course in the country and the industry on buying property in Italy.
My business has gone from strength to strength ever since and when the pandemic started, I created the first property newsletter called "La Dolce Vita on a Shoestring". The aim was to keep the vision alive for foreign buyers whilst they could not travel to Italy and each week I would send the very best properties over to their inbox. The newsletter then turned into "La Dolce Vita Lifestyle Magazine" and the rest as they say is history!
6. What were your two greatest challenges when you first moved here? How did you get over them?
The biggest challenge that arose for me, was when I was living in Monopoli, I fell pregnant with our first son Lorenzo. The landlord that I was renting the property off did not have an official registered rental contract as he did not want to pay taxes on the rental income so everything was paid in cash. I was not registered at the local comune because I was not able to be without the rental contract and when I fell pregnant I obviously needed to be registered as a resident so I could obtain access to healthcare - essential when going through pregnancy.
The landlord refused to register the rental contract unless I paid him an extra 30% in rent so that would cover his taxes which was completely absurd. We could not afford that and we started the search for another rental property in Monopoli which was IMPOSSIBLE. Long term rentals in Monopoli are as rare as hens teeth as the majority of homes are used as short term holiday rentals as the owners earn more money that way. So after months and months of searching, and I was getting further along in my pregnancy we had to move up to Parma and we stayed in temporary accommodation at the local university. We had a 35sqm apartment that was absolutely tiny. I hated it.
We stayed in Parma a few months after Lorenzo was born and we moved to Napoli and stayed with my in-laws. What was meant to be a short term thing, lasted 15 months and it was extremely challenging in so many ways. I fell into a serious depression and really could not believe how my life had ended up the way it had.
I went to a Tony Robbins seminar for 4 days and it reignited the fire inside me and it was from that moment a few months later, I created my business and never looked back. Shortly after my business started we moved from my in-laws and back to Puglia and life just started getting better and better.
7. What is something that has surprised you the most about what you love about living in Italy?
The ability to slow down and appreciate the small things in life. I never realised how materialistic my life was until I moved here. I appreciate the little things, the simplicity of life.
8. Is there anything that you would do differently here, if you had your time over?
Actually I don't think I would do anything different. Every step that I have made since being here has brought me to where I am today. I guess if there was one thing I had to pin point would be, to be less trusting in business.
Last year I had a series of events occur with people in my trusted inner circle that was a complete eye opener as to the values and ethics of people and how they operate but again, all of these experiences brought me to where I am today. A very expensive learning curve you might say!
9. What is the strangest thing about Italian culture that you thought you would never get used to but now couldn't live without?
Ha ha....I never understood the bidet concept but now I am OBSESSED LOL! Nuff said :)
10. Give us a run-through of your favourite Italian day
You know, walking through the centro storico of my town I absolutely love. Going out for long lunches with my family I absolutely love. Playing with my boys I absolutely love. Driving around Puglia with my clients on property buying trips I absolutely love. Helping finding clients their dream home in Italy I absolutely love.
There are so many things that do not really fall into the category of a particular day - I guess having the variety and flexibility to do what I like and really enjoy life.....that for me is la dolce vita.