In this series, we wanted to do something different: we wanted to find out what drove global citizens to leave their lives behind and move to Italy (we shall call them #italyboholover. First up, is the lovely Maria Pasquale who went from Down Under, to the Eternal City.
Where are you from and what made you fall in love with Italy?
I’m from Melbourne, Australia and the Italian way of life and psyche made me fall in love. It’s where an appreciation for the good things in life, like food, wine, art, culture, and history, are truly embraced and appreciated. It ain’t all pretty, but nothing in life is perfect. I’d say, Italy comes quite close!
When did you move and where? What do you love the most in your life in Italy now?
I moved to Rome in September 2011 on a whim. I’d only be dreaming about living here for about 15 years prior. I love that I can go for a walk in a modern day metropolis and stumble upon, and literally, walk past or walk on, ancient ruins and signs of the past. It makes me feel connected to history. I love the Roman food scene and the fact that I can get a real carbonara any day of the week. I love having an aperitivo with friends and the fact that just two hours on the train gets me to Florence or Naples!
Would you share with us your 3 favourite places in Italy to visit?
Rome – A visit to Italy is just not complete without a visit to caput mundi, as it was know in Roman times (“capital of the world”). The imposing monuments, the cobblestoned streets, resplendent piazzas, and the colors. Oh I love the colours of Rome! The vibe changes from district to district but a little of the ol’ dolce vita can be felt throughout and you will eat and drink like you haven’t before!
Sicily – From Palermo to Catania, Etna to the temples of Agrigento, to the shimmering blue waters of the Aeolian islands, Sicily has something for everyone. Stunning as it is dark and mysterious, it’s a real mish-mash of Greek, Middle Eastern, and African influence which can be felt throughout and tasted in its unique and eclectic cuisine. Sweets (namely freshly piped ricotta cannoli) are just standout in Sicily!
Piemonte – I dare someone to travel to Italy’s northwest Piemonte region and eat poorly. It’s not part of the DNA around here! Home to Turin, where dessert and coffee culture are a part of daily life; Alba, where the prized white truffle hails from; and towns in the Langhe area, like Barolo and Asti, where award-winning wines of the same name are produced; this region wears quality like a badge of honour. And Bra is where Italy’s Slow Food Movement began. It’s a true food and wine lovers paradise.
We are looking to develop the world’s first crowdsourced hotel in Italy – our community chose the country. Where do you think we should do it?
This is tough! I’ll say Rome. Yes, there are so many hotels in the eternal city but I would love to see a new funky boutique property around here!
What do you think about the Amberlair concept?
I think it’s cutting-edge and is really setting the bar for the future of the hotel industry. Clients seeking luxury travel products are willing to pay top dollar and are looking for perfection and quality. This usually means boutique and ordering really bespoke services. I like that Amberlair is working with travel industry professionals and consulting with real people.
If you had your own hotel, what 3 things would you make sure it would have?
- Free wifi throughout – not just in the lobby, or in some rooms, but a strong and fast connection property wide!
- iPod / iPhone docs in the room so I can plug in my music, with whichever handset I have!
- A fully-stocked bathroom with luxurious cosmetics and a vanity pack!
Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne. With a formal background in political science and history, she is now a food and travel writer and contributes regularly to USA Today, The Telegraph, Condé Nast digital, CNN and Fodors.
Her popular and award-winning lifestyle blog, HeartRome is read in over 100 countries, has been featured in BBC and Vogue among others and boasts a 35,000 strong social media following. Her first book, I Heart Rome (Smith Street Books) is a collection of recipes and stories and was published around the world in November 2017.
Her web radio program, HeartRome launched on the Italian Radio Food Live in 2018 and is the first English language program of its kind to come out of Italy. In Rome you’ll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends.