English man in Italy

Expat of the month
  • English man in Italy
Published on 2015-08-01 at 00:00 by Expat.com team
I lived in Sheffield in the UK, before persuading my wife to live amongst the hills of Monferrato in Italy. I now consider myself to be fluent in the Italian language after mastering important phrases such as "mi piace vino rosso".

I am Pecora Nera and I lived in Sheffield in the UK, before persuading my wife Mrs Sensible to live amongst the hills of Monferrato in Italy. With the help of my trusty Italian/English Dictionary, I now consider myself to be fluent in the Italian language after mastering important phrases such as "mi piace vino rosso".

When and how did you decide to move to Italy? Is it complicated to settle down there?

Twelve years ago I flew to Italy to meet my then girlfriends' parents and to ask their permission to date their daughter. I have to admit it was love at first sight, as soon as I set eyes on Italy I fell in love with it. 

It took me nearly two years to persuade Mrs Sensible to marry me and a further two years to agree to leave the UK and move to Italy. About eight months ago, I found out that Mrs S only agreed to the move because she thought the craziness of Italy would drive me mad and I would plead to return to the UK.

I found moving to Italy easy, although it was strange to find a policeman knocking on my door to see if I really did live in the house, following my residency application.

Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

This is my first time living abroad, hopefully we will stay here until I am old and wrinkly. I really can't imagine leaving Italy.

What do you like the most about Italy?

I love the weather. In the summer we have lots of sunshine and in the winter piles of snow, the wine is pretty good too.

I also enjoy the pure madness of the country. The things that drive my wife to distraction make me laugh. Whether it is seeing a family of four traveling on a scooter or the queuing system in the local doctors.

How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with the UK, your home country?

One of the downsides of Italy is customer service doesn't appear to exist, for example I had difficulty setting up a password for my credit card on line, the bank's response was "oh that is normal, try again in a couple of weeks".

On the other hand, I am always impressed at the local bars when I order a beer or aperitif and they provide me with a free plate of cheese, salami and bread sticks.

Do you miss anything from your homeland?

I miss my children who all work in the UK. I also miss English T Bags, a good Indian or Chinese restaurant. I normally fill my suitcase with T Bags, jars of Branston Sauce and kilos of bacon.

Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

I suppose shopping at the local corner shop stands out at the moment. I wandered in and asked for Quattro pesce (4 fishes) when I really wanted 4 peaches (Quattro pesca). I knew I had once again made a mistake when I heard the old ladies snorting into their hankies.

What does your typical day as an expat in Italy look like?

I found it very difficult to find a job that wasn't paid cash in hand. In the end I went self-employed and started importing and exporting industrial pumps, so my standard day is sat in my office at home trying to deal with the Italian bureaucracy and making sure all the paper work is in order.

When did you start your blog? For what reasons?

Mrs Sensible is a teacher working in the state schools. Six years ago I decided to create a very serious blog to highlight the problems that teachers and children face. Unfortunately I am not very good at writing highbrow serious posts and my blog degenerated into its present form.

Did you make new friends with your blog?

I have met some great people through my blog, both on line and in person. 

When we e-mail each other to arrange to meet, I am always asked "Is Mrs Sensible really how you portray her?". 

Why did you register on

https://www.expat.com and what do you think of the website?

When I registered I was researching how difficult it is to open a company in Italy, and it seemed sensible to seek out other expats in my situation. I think Expat blog is an excellent forum for expats to meet and exchange ideas.

Which advice would you give to the other Expat blog members who would like to settle in Italy?

 Bring your T Bags and sense of humour, you will need both!

English man in Italy