Monday, December 26, 2016

LIVING IN ITALY, by Stef Smulders

I am ABSOLUTELY delighted with Living in Italy. Author Stef Smulders has captured the spirit of Italy and the Italians so well that I can't help but went "Sì!" and "Sìììì!" with the turn of each page. The book is well translated by Emese Mayhew.

I love how each story has an Italian title such as Non Ci Sono Problemi which is more or less my funny bone for the whole time I was reading the book. Other titles such as Di Fiducia, Tutto A Norma, and so many more brought back sweet memories of Italy for me. I have been to Italy twice—three months in Puglia in 2014 traveling to various parts of southern Italy and one month in Rome in 2013. Having self-studied Italian for almost a year in 2012 before my travels to Italy, I totally understood the Italian text sprinkled throughout the book. It's such an endearing read!

It's my dream to live in Italy and to buy a property there, so when Stef Smulders approached me with his book, I was beyond elated. There's never a boring moment. It's such a witty, informative read. I learned a lot about buying and renovating a house in Italy, applying for all the necessary paperwork, dealing with the Italians and their quirks. Because he and his partner, Nico, had done so much homework before taking the big leap, they've managed to avert many unnecessary problems for their emigration and B&B project.

Like a 5-star B&B, Living in Italy is a 5-star book!

In 2008 Stef Smulders, his partner Nico and their dog Saar emigrated to Italy to start a new life and set up their B&B Villa I Due Padroni. They sold their home, left their friends and family behind and took a leap into the unknown. Now Stef shares his experiences in a collection of witty short stories. The book treats the trials and tribulations of an emigration: what it was like to buy and renovate a house, to import a car, to gain residency, and much more.

The reader is introduced to a full range of Italian characters, from the trustworthy to the rogue, from the gentle to the shameless, flesh and blood Italians. Some are stereotype, others unexpectedly original. Yet they never fail to amuse and entertain.


Stef Smulders was born in The Netherlands in 1960 and moved with husband Nico and their dog to Italy in 2008 to start bed-and-breakfast Villa I Due Padroni in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese south of Milan. In 2014 he published his first volume of short, anecdotical stories (in Dutch) about daily life among the Italians entitled "Italiaanse Toestanden". It was well received by readers, leading to a second volume of witty anecdotes. A third volume is to be published spring 2017.

Connect with Stef: Website  ~ Twitter

Where to Buy the Book: AmazonBarnes&Noble ~ Apple ~ Kobo

Grazie mille! (many thanks!) to the author, Stef Smulders from I Due Padroni for sending me a complimentary copy of this wonderful book.