02 June 2013

LIFE: It's an Ex-Pat's Life

CHIAVARI, Italy – There are times when living in another country is overwhelming. There is a part of you that wants to fit in, speak the language, celebrate the festas even if you don’t have a clue what is being celebrated. It’s part of the fun. But then there are times when you need to vent, blow off steam or figure out some Italian rule that is well, let’s say  totally incomprehensible, and while your best friend back home may lend a sympathetic ear, he or she really doesn’t have a clue what you are going on about.
 Ceri Festival in Gubbio

And sometimes you just need a little information, and while this may sound strange to those who have never experienced the joy of living in another country, there is no point in asking the natives, they don’t have a clue, especially when it comes to the rules and regs regarding foreigners. Not only are the rules tricky, they are subject to change without notice. So what was written in stone last month has now been cancelled and another set of rules and regs are in place.  

But the questions that are the trickiest are not the questions about identity cards, or driver’s licenses or how to get on the Italian health care system, but those nitty gritty problems of everyday life like where to buy cheddar cheese in Tuscany, or find a home for an abandoned cat or an old dog. Or maybe you want to know which type of insulation works best for an old stone farmhouse.  For answers to those questions, who do you turn to, or to be more precise, to whom do you turn?
 Your Dream House in Tuscany?
The answer is simple. Your fellow ex-pats. Someone out there in the ex-pat community – which is now easily reachable thanks to Facebook -  knows the answer to your question, or can tell you where to find the answer and do it in English or German or Russian or whatever your mother tongue language might be. The startling truth is ex-pats know more about living in Italy than the Italians do.

We have to. It’s more complicated for us.

It’s also true that some of the information being passed along the ex-pat optic fiber trail would benefit people visiting Italy, and so with that in mind I’m going to pass along a short list of hotels in Florence that I’ve collected from my favorite ex-pat page. The request came from a woman who asked if anyone knew of a reasonably priced hotel in Florence. They did, and here are some of their suggestions.

I will spare you the usual sales pitch that goes along with lists like these, you can check them out for yourself, but I think it’s a list worth keeping for your next trip to Italy.

THE FLORENCE FIVE PLUS ONE (not in any particular order)

1. Residenza Giotto B&B
Via Roma, 6 – 50123 Firenze (FI) – Italy
Tel. (+39) 055 214593 - Fax (+39) 055 2648568

2. Hotel Silla  (3 star)
Via De’Renai, 5
50100 Florence, Italy
Tel: 0039.055.2342888/Fax: 0039.055.2341437

3. Bed & Breakfast Bel Duomo
Borgo San Lorenzo, 4 - 50123 Firenze
Tel: +39 055 230 2602| Mobile: +39 339 587 8276
www.guesthousebelcanto  (I know this says Bel Canto and the B&B is Bel Duomo, but it is their web site).
4. Hotel Casci (2 star)
Via Cavour, 13 - 50129 Firenze
Tel: + Fax: +
Email: info@hotelcasci.com

5. Hotel David
Viale Michelangiolo n° 1
50125 Firenze
skype-me: hoteldavid

6. Residenza Johanna I (3 star)
Via Bonifacio Lupi, 14 - 50129 Firenze
Tel +39 055 481896

Oh, and one more thing. A new member of my ex-pat group, Australian singer/songwriter Darren Cinque has just posted his latest music video on YouTube and it’s getting rave reviews. So check it out, I think you’ll like it, and if you do pass it on. Who knows, you may end up moving to Italy some day and he’ll be singing to you, or….. about you.


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