Friday, February 12, 2016

Why we are in Italy – a tell-all interview with Lucy Spadoni

File photo: Lucy on the day of the Festa della
Donna, 2012.
The focus of this blog is to relate our experiences in Italy, but most of it is seen through my (Paul) eyes. Lucy reads what I write and makes suggestions, and she is the one who came up with the title. However, her voice is heard all too rarely on these pages, so today I have decided to feature “the broad” herself in an Q&A interview.

Why do you live in Italy for three months of the year?
Well, the first answer is because it’s my husband’s interest and heritage. He has long been drawn to Italy. But of course he doesn’t force me to go against my own wishes! It’s a lovely thing for me as well. We get to rest, and he gets to pursue his hobby. When we first began going to Italy, we were tourists, going to see the famous sites, and that was marvelous. Now we are going to learn how to live as Italians.  

A quilt for Suzye. Photo taken at Casolare dei
Fiori, San Salvatore, Italy
What do you see as some of the benefits of this lifestyle?
They say that Italians live a slower pace of life. In truth, they are probably just as busy as anyone else, but they do spend more time together. Workers and students get long lunch breaks, and they may go home to eat together. For us, it’s definitely slower, because if we were in our American home, we’d find other things to do besides resting. We have more friends, family and obligations, so being in Italy forces us to slow down. It’s good for our marriage, because we spend more unfocused time together without distractions. We walk and ride our bicycles more here, so it helps us keep fit. We have the mental stimulation of learning a new language. I’ve learned to cook differently, and I’ve learned to quilt. I’ve made five quilts in the last two years, and I hope to do two or three more this year.

We wish for more visits from family, like this. In the background
is Marliana in the hills of Tuscany.
What are the main drawbacks?
I always miss my children and grandchildren. I wish they could come to visit with us while we are here. I miss our neighbors, friends, church home groups, and our dog and cat.

What is something surprising you have learned about Italy?
It surprises me that many Italians ask us so sincerely why we would want to live here. Sometimes they are incredulous that an American would prefer to live here. They’re having a hard time with their economy, and their houses and streets are old and small. It’s hard to drive in the cities and find places to park. Maybe they see America as more modern and spacious. I’m also amazed at how fresh the vegetables and fruits are, and how much better the meat is. It’s leaner and tastier because it’s grown in natural environments. The frogs here speak a different frog language; they make two distinct sounds. One is a little like ducks quacking, and then they make a soft, raspy whir like a dog’s low growl. And I’ll never forget how beautiful it is to hear a nightingale’s song at midnight.

What is something surprising you have learned about yourself by living in Italy?
I’m definitely less stressed and my blood pressure is lower when I’m in Italy. It’s good for me to be forced to slow down and do less.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s important for me to be a good representative of my county and my Christian faith. I’ve seen some tourists who typify the image of the ugly American, and I want to give Italians a better impression of both Americans and Protestant Christians. Sometimes I may not give the best impression because of my ignorance of Italian customs, so I have to discover what is expected, but it also seems that I’d have to have lived most of my life here to understand everything that it means to be Italian. So to some extent I just have to accept who I am and what I can do.


  1. What a wonderful interview. We miss you, too, Mom!!!

  2. Replies
    1. That would be Sandra commenting as "unknown."

  3. Thank you for interviewing Lucy. Good insights! Miss you! Beautiful pictures of her, also!

  4. Glad to see this; I'm looking forward to MORE!

    Gloria on the hill

  5. A got relaxed just reading Lucy's interview. As much as maybe life should be at a pace we choose it can make a difference where we physically live and the values of those around us. So glad you two are living life and honoring God in the process. Too many people let life happen without being intentional. Miss you guys! C.L.


Comments welcome.