Visit Italy and you have the joy of dining on delicious Italian food, tasting Tuscan wines, traipsing through the Italian countryside you’ve seen in films, visiting famous museums, seeing Rome, gliding along a canal in a gondola? these are things that but a privileged few get to experience in their lifetime.
When you travel or live abroad, these experiences not only allow you to learn about new cultures, but they also teach you a lot about yourself and where you are from.
One thing however that truly reveals your origins is not the things you enjoy on your travels, but the home comforts that you miss when you’re away!
Aside from friends, family and pets, there is a bevy of strange and wonderful things from your native land that can leave you hankering for home.
For us actually living and loving in Tuscany, we wouldn’t change it for all the twinkies, tim-tams or toffees in the world. Yet foodstuff rarely eaten when widely available suddenly become the stuff dreams are made of when away.
Marmite sandwiches, baked beans, crumpets, scones, and biscuits (cookies) are on the most-missed list for one British ex-pat Artviva Florence tour guide. Fish ‘n’ chips, Sunday café breakfasts, vegemite, and good ol’ Aussie sunshine are on the minds of Australian staff members. And from the US, we have Twinkies, brownies, burgers, and American coffee.
In terms of non-edibles, people from cricket-playing nations may miss the buzz of cricket commentary in the background of the weekends (even if it annoyed you no end when you actually lived in your own country). It could be the politeness of your small village or the rudeness of your big city that you crave. Local television, walking to the corner store in your slippers, the nature you grew up with (be it the beach, the mountains, the snow or sunshine) can cause pangs of homesickness when you’re in a land and a language that it is not naturally yours.
If you’re planning on living in a foreign land, or doing some research for an upcoming trip, there are ex-pat websites that can help you. In Florence and Tuscany generally, we’re hooked on the Angloinfo Tuscany site for everything from advice on owning pets to tax paying and job hunting or just general tips on where to find a great selection of English books, and the like. You can also read up on meetings, dinners and networking events for foreigners. And if you’re planning on staying a relatively short while, you may find accommodation options and services to help you whilst travelling. Getting married in Italy? There’s also advice on how to do that too.
And whilst the Italian cuisine is famous world-wide, sometimes you may just hanker for something not Italian. In Florence for example, the Chinese restaurant on Via de’ Servi, called Hong Kong, is great. There is a sushi place a few doors down from there too. Tijuana restaurant on Via Ghibellina is the local hangout for those wanting Mexican. If you want to wrap your smile around a bagel, head to Anna’s Bagels near the San Lorenzo market on Via Ginori. Cravings for burgers and fries can be satiated at Danny Rock on Via Pandolfini 13/r, Santa Croce. Then there are festivals such as the Christmas market held each December in Santa Croce which features many international foods and other items/gifts, whilst in the gorgeous little town of Barga, there is a delightfully strange fish ‘n’ chips festival each August too!
If you’re planning on visiting Italy, namely Rome, Venice, Florence and the Tuscan surrounds, the Artviva staff are more than happy to help suggest places to visit, both for traditional local experiences and otherwise.
To get to know the lay of the land whilst in Italy, we also offer a wide range of Tuscany tours that include wine tastings, Tuscan lunches, Chianti visits, wine cellar visits, and other Italian gastronomy activities. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom-designed tour or explore our website for inspiration.