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Cherise: Four Seasons of Travel

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Italy makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Italy, etc.

My name is Cherise Vecchio and I am an Australian presenter and writer from Brisbane. Previously studying public relations and media, I started blogging at university for a subject I was studying and developed a love for writing. Knowing from a young age I wanted to live in Italy - because I have Italian heritage - at the end of 2013 I packed my bags and moved indefinitely!

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started blogging about gluten free travel after I was first diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012, just one month out before leaving for Europe with three of my best friends. At this time, I “Googled”, I read, and I asked so many questions to anyone that would listen for help and advice. When I returned from Europe I realised that I wanted to help and provide answers from my experiences - for others with celiac disease. So that’s how Four Seasons of Travel began!

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Over the past year, I have written over 100 articles on Four Seasons of Travel including reviews, one day guides, and stories about my experiences; however these two articles are my current favorites!

Tell us about the ways your new life in Italy differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

My life in Italy is so much less complicated – it’s more about the living rather than the working and I really feel at ease. Italians appreciate and value the importance of a good lifestyle, and I have really embraced this!

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Italy? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

Having previously travelled to Italy before I moved here, this made the move a little easier as I knew what to expect. However there are always obstacles like finding an apartment, trying to set yourself up, and continuing to earn a good income.

If I had to make any preparations, I would continue to focus more on learning Italian, as the language barrier is the hardest part. It also means that you don’t make as many Italian friends because you can’t speak the same language – unless they speak English. However, not a lot of Italians do.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

This again comes back to the language barrier. I was text messaging my landlord when I was leaving my apartment on the final day and I messaged him in Italian trying to say “It was nice knowing you and thank you for letting me stay in the apartment over this time”. Thankfully I showed my Italian housemate before sending it, because the wording I had used sounded as though I was thanking him for a ‘good night’ and enjoyed being with him, which was definitely NOT what I was trying to say!!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Italy?

  • Save as much money as possible prior to arriving, so that if you don’t get work for a while you have money to live off.
  • Learn as much Italian as possible.
  • Live with Italians and go to language school!

How is the expat community in Italy? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community in Florence is amazing. There is such a strong and welcoming community here, and so many people are happy to help you if you need anything. I have met people from all corners of the world and that’s something that I really have come to love and appreciate about Florence - the diversity of people that come to live in Italy!

How would you summarize your expat life in Italy in a single, catchy sentence?

Surrounded by beauty, every day is a new opportunity and experience in Florence, filled with too much wine and gorgeous sunsets shadowing the Ponte Vecchio! 

Brandon Le Clerk

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