Irish Expat Living in Italy - Interview with Anna

Published: 26 Jun at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Italy
Anna is a freelance journalist living in a stunning corner of Italy, Abruzzo. She has lived in Russia, Ireland and Romania. When Anna is not busy researching her next article, she can be found out in her garden growing organic vegetables, hiking in the mountains or planning next green holiday. She runs online magazine Anna's expat blog is called Green Holiday Italy (see listing here)

Hiking in Abruzzo
Hiking in Abruzzo

Here's the interview with Anna...

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Siberia, Russia but moved to Dublin, Ireland after finishing my journalism degree.

In which country and city are you living now?
At the moment I am living in Italy, in a small mountain village in the Maiella national park.

How long have you lived in Italy and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been in Italy for more than three years now and am planning to stay here for good. It is a fantastic country for outdoorsy green-minded people like me.

Beautiful beaches of Abruzzo
Beautiful beaches of Abruzzo
Why did you move to Italy and what do you do?
I bought a house and moved to Abruzzo because I loved everything about Italy: food, wine, weather, traditions. Abruzzo is an amazing place, unspoiled by mass tourism. A third of its territory is protected with three national parks, one regional 38 nature reserves!
I work as a content writer, journalist and run my online magazine about slow travel in Italy.

Did you bring family with you?
I arrived alone in my Irish registered car and dived into the Italian life. Shortly after my move I met my Italian fiancé and now we are planning to expand: buy land and set up an agriturismo.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I found it easy as I had lived in a few foreign countries before. The key to a smooth transition is to respect the local traditions and speak the language of the country.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It wasn't easy mainly because I work from home. But everyone I do meet is very friendly here. I also have friends who are expats and we meet now and then.

Dramatic mountains
Dramatic mountains
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
The best things to do in Abruzzo are eating and hiking! It is a fantastic place for active people. There are many nature trails, small medieval villages to see and excellent traditional restaurants everywhere.

What do you enjoy most about living in Italy?
There are many things that I love here: the weather, of course! After living in Dublin for 17 years it is something I can really appreciate!! I also love the fact that it is very easy to find local fresh produce and avoid buying imported goods as I strongly believe in supporting local economy.

I also love that I can jump in the car and in 5 minutes I am out in the mountains!

How does the cost of living in Italy compare to home?
Food shopping in Abruzzo is much cheaper that Dublin. Although, electricity and gas bills are significantly higher here.

Stunning medieval villages
Stunning medieval villages
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Italy?
It is quite provincial, so I have to travel to Rome if I want to see a great concert or see a good art exhibition.

It took me a while to find trustworthy builders, an electrician and plumber that weren't asking for an arm and a leg for their work. All of them were recommended to me by my new Italian friends.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Italy, what would it be?
Make as many friends as possible in a short period of time ans keep asking for their advice as they know how thing work here.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
My ethnic food cravings! There are no decent ethnic restaurants in Abruzzo, so I have to either cook Indian or Lebanese food at home or wait till I go to a big city.

Also having to go everywhere in person in order to sort out even the smallest issue. Nothing seems to be done here over the phone or via email!

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Pay a visit to the local town hall and introduce yourself. I find my local Comune very helpful.
  2. Ask people around you for advice
  3. Do not compare your new life to your home. It is a different country and you moved for here for new experiences, so, open your mind!
  4. Do not expect to find a job easily. The best way to make a living in Italy is to set up your own activity.
  5. Be patient and prepare yourself for enormous bureaucracy hurdles.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Green Holiday Italy started two years ago as a small blog where I wrote about my slow travels in Italy. But the traffic grew and now it has become an online magazine for conscious travelers where my readers can find tips and advice about slowing down and going off the beaten path to see authentic Italy with its beautiful traditions. As a spin off I am also starting to run cooking holidays where visitors can cook with the locals.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Contact me through my website

About the author

Expat Blog ListingAnna is an Irish expat living in Italy. Blog description: Your guide to responsible travel in Italy
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