What do I love about living in Italy–Catherine McNamara

Today I have Catherine McNamara here on the blog reporting about what she loves about living in Italy.

What do I Love About Living in Italy?
While like many others I have my gripes about Il Bel Paese, there are many many reasons why I’ve been here for the past ten years. Ten years of intense child-raising, shoe-appreciation, wonderful wine and food, new skiing skills, lots of classical music, summer parties and opportunities to travel – ten years I can’t imagine spending anywhere else.
Let me count the ways :
1. Location Location Location. Italy is centrally located and just a cheap flight away from London and Paris, cities I adore.

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2. The Dolomites. Having grown up by the water and spent my childhood on water skis, sailing or swimming, when I came to live in Italy with my kids I desperately needed to find substitute sports. I had no intention of paying for a mooring miles from my inland house, nor rigging a sailing boat. It didn’t happen immediately but I have fallen in love with the nearby Dolomites and taken up telemark skiing. I find the mountain people have a touch of wild, sporty, nature-loving Australian and my kids have all become expert skiers.



3. Shoes and Handbags. In Italy they are the crème de la crème. Nothing fits better than an Italian shoe, nothing makes you feel more swish than an Italian handbag.

4. Seasonal fruit and veggies. I love having cherry trees, making jam, becoming sick with cherry belly, growing tomatoes and zucchini in the summer sun, cooking summer flans with fresh local produce. I swear everything is tastier here.


5. Architectural delights. Every day – even on the grimmest, trickiest day – there is beauty to be appreciated. Even just around the corner. I love the contrast between regional styles, trying to imagine how life used to be, trying to imagine the construction of such graceful towns and cities.

6. Classical music. While there are music-lovers the world over, there is nothing like studying Scarlatti in his homeland, or listening to a well-loved opera at La Fenice in Venice and knowing the words.

7. Climate. I have to say I really love the stinky hot summers and the brittle cold of winter. Having lived ten years in tropical Africa previously, it is lovely to have such opposing and extreme seasons.

8. Living in a big country house. This means I can have guests, play music and have large summer parties. Italy is a festive nation and there is nothing more fun than a house full of the right guests!


9. Safety. While it is tempting to want to live in a big European or Australian city I realise that the hazards would make my life much more complex. We live near a provincial city which is fairly quiet and not violent. When one has four teens who like to go out on weekends the idea that our area is reasonably safe is very reassuring (although don’t get me started on Italian drivers!)

10. INSPIRATION. I never intended to write a book set in Italy but my women’s romantic comedy ‘The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy’ tumbled into my head one long summer, and was written entirely in my old chicken shed. I’d been bogged down with literary projects and hadn’t succeeded in my dream to publish a novel, but this light-hearted story took on a life of its own and was snapped up by a small British publisher. While I haven’t made millions like E.L. James yet, I am now a published author and have a second book (‘Pelt and Other Stories’, literary short stories set in Africa and Europe) coming out in May. I work very well in my home environment, and feel grounded and blessed.

Thank you Cathy for having me here! I’m enjoying reading your other guest posts about this sun-dappled and history-soaked peninsula!
‘The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy’ is available at all good independent bookshops and through www.bookdepository.com (free worldwide postage) or through www.amazon.co.uk or www.amazon.com

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  • Debra Kolkka

    There are too many reasons to love Italy to list…shoes and handbags are a great start.

    • So true Debra 🙂

  • It made my heart swell with happiness reading all these GOOD things about Italy. 🙂 The music, the buildings, the freshness of the produce. I love it. 🙂

  • Janine

    Thank you both!!! Catherine, I am an avid reader of your blog and next time will leave you a comment telling you so! I live in Melbourne but as Cathy well knows my heart resides somewhere north of Rome, for many of the reasons you describe. Keep enjoying yourself. You get Italy and that’s a great gift. Janine X

  • Marnie Simpson

    Yes ~ the architecture… the food… the appreciation for art, music and culture…being so centrally located… and the safety… I love that you can be in a relatively small town in italy and still have all of those things. sigh. Hopefully I’ll get there myself one day soon.
    Marnie ~ a girl with littleitaliandreams