Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Bratislava
It all started back in 1992, when the first signs of need for change came from a weekend with friends in Brno.
In a month, just a month, I took my decision and left. I felt like a pioneer. I had not chosen a common country, it was not the classic job in a city like London, accessible to everyone. I had talked to some people who had undertaken a new business; they needed people of trust and instinctively I proposed for the job. It was not easy but thanks to a girl who thankfully spoke a little of my language and the ongoing opening of Czechoslovakia towards Italian culture, I found a place to live and I moved in immediately.
I found myself alone in a country completely different from mine, young and with only myself to take care of; my only needs were a meal and a roof over my head, I lived for the day, with the excitement a 20 year old. I had no family responsibilities and the good thing was to wake up in the morning without knowing what would happen that day. It was easy, easier than I’d thought. Luckily I am a cheerful person, so in very short time I was able to get over daily life facts, the difficulties, the needs of a country. I created a network of friendships: a way to make new experiences and new the possibilities for doing things. Everything was yet to be built, everything to be done. This was not possible in Italy, or at least thought it wasn’t.
I learned the language by gesturing, trying and making mistakes: we Italians are creative, we have initiative and the will to try. I must say that this spirit of adaptation is also thanks to my family, because my brothers and I have grown up imagining and dreaming other countries and not being afraid of different cultures. My father, a geologist, has always traveled abroad for his work. We children had begun to explore the world with the serenity and the awareness of having a peaceful shelter where to return to in case we found ourselves in trouble.
I presently live in Bratislava, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. There is a strong going back to the countryside because the public transport network is very developed, punctual and guaranteed day and night. On the trains there are special wagons for bicycles thanks to important investments for outdoor activities. The services are extraordinary, fully free school where teaching is done completely in English, a national health system that works and collaborates with high standard hospitals. I myself have had surgery by Indian, Arab and Congolese professionals.
The belief that New York is the only place where to find America is still alive, but you could simply turn around the corner to find it.
When I go back to the Apennines, the first thing I do is eat fresh cottage cheese from the dairy. The food, the scents, the flavors make me feel at home; there are corners of true paradise and when friends pass by the area the first stop is the Pietra di Bismantova. I like bringing people there, it’s call is so strong. Maybe I will return permanently when I’m old. It makes me angry to see Italy, beautiful and full of works of art, unvalued by people living there. I see an Italy that’s still, as if under a blanket of frost.