My Italian odyssey began when I bought a raffle ticket from a girlfriend at work in 1992. First prize was a return ticket to Athens. I won it. I lived in Melbourne, Australia at the time.
The thing about winning an airline ticket is that you have to go, whether you want to or not.
I received several complimentary “prizes” at around the same time – a redundancy package from work, a separation from my husband and notice from my landlord to move out of my St.Kilda flat.
And STILL I hesistated. I was a bit scared actually to go on my own. And quite sad about my marriage breakdown. However I figured that I might as well be scared and sad on a Greek island. The first week was terrible. I fainted and threw up in public, got food poisoning and severe dehydration and accidentally threw away my VISA card in the hotel trash basket (on my first night).
But I met some other travellers and and it got better. I spent five months on a truly wonderful journey through Turkey and Greece.
After reluctantly leaving Greece behind for the Winter, I arrived in Rome. I immediately fell in love with it. And have been ever since.
At first I kept thinking that it would be over soon enough. That I would get sick of it and like all loves it would eventually wane. But it just got worse, and it has never waned. I have also tried to leave several times. Four to be exact. I told myself each time that it was time to come back to the real world and take up my duties as a serious Anglo-Saxon.
I got a teaching job at a University in Italy then with various global humanitarian organisations throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. All of this kept me together with my love and gave me time and money to visit my other soul mates, Greece and Turkey, on a regular basis.
Of course now I have another soul mate. We married in 2002. On that day I felt I had won first prize in a raffle again. I still do. He is from the deepest South of Italy. A place that was originally ruled and populated by the Greeks. We got married at the Registry office, right next to the ruins of a Greek temple.
We live quite close to the centre of Rome, in a neighbourhood that is not old by Rome standards but is very traditional. Most people speak the Roman dialect rather than Italian. Most families have lived here for generations and are related to each other, or have been friends for generations.
I am a Social Science (in Social Anthropology) graduate with a Masters in Business. I have kept a journal since I was eleven years old and wrote my first story when I was seven. Writing helps me relax and keeps me sane. I need to write whenever I am overwhelmed or have new experiences. It empties me out and if I don’t do it, I have stories in my head that nag at me like children and get louder and louder until I write them down and get them out.
I like being alone alot, lying down and day dreaming, watching TV, reading, writing, journaling, doing unserious yoga, walking, doing ballet, travel, and catching up with friends and family over meals. I don’t like cooking, shopping, or being around people all the time. My favourite author is Charlotte Bronte but I am not named after her.
I hope you enjoy my blog and stories about life here in the Eternal city!
Great to see you’re writing for the world now.
Look forward to some updates.
enjoyed the read and the pictures of gorgeous Rome. I’m glad you’ve decided to start your blog and hope it becomes a huge success for you. Thank you for stopping by the studio to say hi and hope we can have a coffee when I’m next in Rome.
Please say hi to Alfredo for me.
Best from Oia!
It’s so great to have seen your work here. I’m so happy for you that Rome stayed for you and also that you now have a new love.
All the best
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hello Di!!! So lovely to hear from you. I have thought of you often over the years. My love and i are planning to come back to Melbourne to live in October so i won’t be able to catch up with you here but would be able to in Melbourne. i will email you with my private details. Thanks for looking me up. Bronte
Heard your interview on ABC radio – I love Roma also – Brian from Melbourne😎
Hi Brian, thanks! Its an easy city to love isn’t it. Thanks for getting in touch. Regards Bronte
Hello Bronte – Have arrived home after exploring Italy for 3 weeks. I want to thank you so very much for the wonderful tour of Garbatella. I was interested in visiting an area in Rome which I did not know much about. The tip from Tony was perfect and I am so glad he referred me to you. What a gem of an area! What added to the great day was your company and knowledge. The day was more like spending time with a long lost friend rather than on a tour. Priceless. I wished I could have spent more days with you discovering more of Rome. Your tour was one of the highlights of my entire trip. Looking forward to buying your book and learning more about your neck of the woods. Nina
Hi Nina, I don’t know if I ever replied to your wonderful email which I came across now – many apologies if I didn’t. Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback and good on your for taking a tip and doing something out of the ordinary. I am so glad you enjoyed the tour. I felt the same way – like i was taking an old friend around my nieghbourhood. I hope we get to spend more time together doing things like this in the future. Thank you for your wonderful photos of me and the neighbourhood and I hope you keep on taking them and documenting the world around you in your beautiful style. If you gor around to reading Roman Daze, please leave me a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Fond memories, Bronte
Wow, I just stumbled across your post after reading another. What an amazing adventure, and bravo you for staying on. I fell in love with London in much the same way after relocating from South Africa to the UK. 19 years later I’m still in love with this country. Rome is still on my list of places to go and I really must plan a trip. I’m going to try catch up now with your adventures…
hello there! thanks so much for all your feedback, I love your comments. I hope you do make it over here, I have a feeling you will love it. London is my second fav city after Rome, I love it and try and visit at least each year to get my dose of it. If you love travelling and relocating, as it appears you do 🙂 you will probably like my two books Roman Daze (about living in Rome) and Ticket for One (how i got here)…..i love your blog too, it features all the beautiful architectural and landscape things I love about UK. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog and leaving comments. Bronte
Hi Bronte. Thanks for your reply 😀 Oh I definitely will visit Rome in the future…thanks for the heads up about your books. How exciting to be a published author.
Yes, London….such an extraordinary city, with do many layers.
I’m delighted you enjoyed my blog
It’s a bit of a mish mash, but there is so much amazing architecture in this country, and the landscapes can beat any in Europe 😉 much as I love Europe…
Have a good day
I recently came across your 2013 book in a local library here in Adelaide and a comment you made – about falling in love with Rome during a visit – seemed to resonate with me.
In my case, a similar thing happened while driving around Italy in 1996. I first went there (I thought) to experience the art and architecture, but what stayed with me overall was some sort of composite memory/feeling of all of the people I met during my time there. I’ve noticed other people making similar comments and, having gone to school with quite a few Italian immigrants in the 60s and 70s, I’m wondering if my trip there wasn’t just a desire to experience something first-hand that I had subconsciously understood my school mates to have possessed.
Does this make any sense to you?
Since then I’ve been an Italophile tragic, doing language courses, watching videos, checking out Italian real estate etc…
Despite life intruding in the meantime, I’ve always planned to get back there on a more permanent basis at some stage, maybe to buy a place there if I could afford it, maybe just to live an ‘endless summer’, ie alternating between both hemispheres!
Are there other places in Italy you’d recommend? Not sure if I could afford to live in Rome, but deciding where else seems like an impossible task from over here. I’ve contemplated Imperia, Lecce, Lucca, Orvieto, the Tuscan coast and others but still no closer to narrowing it down.
In retrospect, what are the most important criteria to consider in your opinion as an Australian moving there?
Hi Gary, thanks for reaching out and sharing. I loved hearing your story and as you know, I can relate! I will answer you more in detail when I get back to Rome. It is the middle of summer here so I am on holiday elsewhere in Italy. I have some ideas for where you could possibly look for properties too. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you but July and August are the slow months here. Talk in a couple of weeks. Regards Bronte