move to italy checklist

Create your Move to Italy Checklist

your italy checklist

Why you need a Move to Italy Checklist

If you are planning a move to Italy then creating your own Move to Italy Checklist is a Must!

I have always thought of myself as a forgetful person.

As a child I’d be sent to the local milk bar with a list of things to buy only to return shortly after having forgotten to take the list.

One time I actually got out of the car at our sons daycare, got right up to the door before noticing I’d forgotten him. Luckily my husband was in the car laughing and waiting to see how long it would be before I came back to get him.

Moving overseas forced me to change.

Our first time moving to Italy I was in charge of organizing the house, packing, arranging our wedding, passports, having a garage sale, booking venues, and keeping track of everything.

Having moved from Australia to Italy twice now I thought I’d share a few unforeseen things I wish I had put on my Move to Italy Checklist before boarding that plane.

Not on my Move to Italy Checklist

Leaving for Italy also meant leaving behind my Mum who is now in her eighties. Even though close friends advised me to talk with her about power of attorney I kept putting off the conversation. Just the idea had me tied up in knots, I knew it was something that needed to be organized before we left but it was the one conversation I ended up not having and later deeply regretting.

A short while after arriving in Italy my Mum had to go to hospital, she ended up in a rehabilitation center. She seemed to be in rehab for such a long time, she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to go home. Conversations with my other family members finally got heated and I ended up calling the social worker at the hospital and having to fly home (four months after arriving in Italy) for a court hearing to award guardianship of my Mum.

I never saw that coming.

If only I had approached the conversation of power of attorney before we left this awful situation would have been averted. If you are leaving aging parents behind think about what would happen to them once you leave the country, have those difficult conversations with family members before you leave and get everything in place legally before departing.

Move to Italy Checklist – schooling for our children.

We arrived in Italy in late March, the school year started in June. As we didn’t have a residential address we couldn’t book our children into school. We were commuting back and forth between our accommodation and the house we had bought (yes doing renovations before moving in). Turned out we couldn’t book schools even though we had bought the house unless we were living in the house. Who Knew?

So the kids ended up missing the June starting date and eventually began school in September which is the start of the school year here in Italy.

They were very happy, we were not quite as happy.

One last Thing

One funny thing that I didn’t anticipate was organizing a passport photo for our son Luca. At the time he was just turning eight, we had to go to our local post office to have the paperwork finalized and get passport photos taken. Our son Luca has high functioning autism and no matter how many times the lady took his photo she couldn’t get him to not smile.

Every time she pointed the camera at him he gave her a huge beaming smile, we ended up having to return twice before getting a photo that she thought would be accepted.

I still have all the photos the Post Office rejected, they always make me smile.

So our advise would be:

To take a deep breath, let go of all the worries and stress and create your Move to Italy Checklist, put it on paper and be kind to yourself.

Moving Country doesn’t need to be stressful.

We did most of the things on our checklist including moving from Queensland to Melbourne, putting our house up for sale, oh and we organized our wedding, Luca’s christening and a going away party as well.

What did you forget to do when moving overseas?


and the gang x




Move to Italy – it is possible

We made the move to Italy looking for a better life for ourselves and our children, we have never seen ourselves within somebody’s timetable.

Today on Valentines Day it seems the perfect time to recommit to all we are creating here in Italy, to each other and to our children who are the inspiration for all we hope to achieve.

We knew we wanted to do something we loved and that would be inspiring to others.

Imagine how it feels to wake up in the morning to softly falling snow outside your bedroom window, to see your world transform into something magical. Or to spend the day throwing snowballs and making snow angels with your kids.

luca snow dbl

Imagine finally finding your special place in the world and being able to share it, it is possible to move to Italy and these days easier than ever before. I think I read through every page of Living and Working in Italy: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Italy) before we left Australia and I still have my copy.

I’m sure you’ve heard of other people who’ve made the move to a simpler lifestyle, changing country, having a sea change and just leaving the rat race behind.

So this year I’ll be sharing with you some of the inspiration behind our move to Italy and our quest to change our lives for the better.

I know that if we can do this with limited funds, two young children in a medieval Borgata in the mountains then you can do it as well.

I’ve been putting together a guide that explains exactly how we went from the suburbs of Queensland to the Alps of Italy.

Here I am heading out with Sam and the kids, yes with a hot water bottle, carrot and cup of tea, no wonder the locals look.

DSCF6372 rsz

Just recently I had a Skype call with a couple in Australia looking to make a move to Italy with their young children. It had me see just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned along the way.

We chatted for some time about chasing a dream, a better life for our kids, school systems, cost of living and what it’s really like to pack up and move your entire life to the other side of the globe.

After the call all I could think about was how ‘lit up’ I was, how passionate and in love with this life we are making here in Italy even with the highs and lows I wouldn’t change a single day.

This is what I’d love to share with you along with life here in the Borgata.

We have had huge snowfalls and today it started falling again. Over a metre has been forecast for Monday, luckily it is a holiday here in Italy so we don’t have to manage getting children to school.


luca snow dbl

We are honored to have been nominated in Italy Magazine’s Blog Awards 2014 for Best Living in Italy blog. If you haven’t done already it would be wonderful if you’d take the time to vote for us by clicking here.

And we are currently in talks with House Hunters International about a ‘where are they now’ episode due to film in late March.

Thanks again for believing in us, and even more importantly , believing in yourself and your dreams.


and the gang x






The Iceberg Project

Our Podcast interview with The Iceberg Project

 ‘In Italy, I finally got over the wall of half-assed language learning’

cher hale – The Iceberg Project

Cher Hale from The Iceberg Project recently invited me to speak with her about our life in Italy and of course learning the language. I started out a bundle of nerves but as we talked the passion took over and the words just flowed. Cher is such a delight and The Iceberg Project is the place to go for learning the Italian language.

Cher mixes information with fun quirky ways of learning the language. Even though I still have much to learn I love practicing with the locals here at the Borgata and in our local village.

I was delighted to see and hear the final result of our interview How Lisa Chiodo and Her Family Followed Their Dream and Renovated a Farmhouse in Italy.

Below is a part of Cher’s post at the Iceberg Project (but you need to visit to listen to the podcast).

Lisa and her husband began their journey by wanting to renovate an entire Italian village.

While that hasn’t happened yet (and isn’t one of their big goals anymore), they have managed to renovate a farmhouse or two in Italy.

When you listen to Lisa talk about the small village (max five families) where her family lives,  it’s such a dream and will make you want to book a trip there right now.

Especially if you love organic vegetables and a simpler pace of life.

You’ll learn:

  • How Lisa and her husband got started with renovations
  • How they have managed to raise their children between Australia and Italy
  • Why they left Italy in the first place and how they managed to return
  • How her children have adapted to the Italian language after just one year
  • Three methods Lisa is using to learn Italian
  • Three Italian words/phrases that Lisa  loves hearing and saying
  • A glimpse into the daily life of Lisa and her family

Resources Mentioned

You can listen in HERE (You need to scroll right to the end of the post to find the podcast)

Cher also shares written information and links from the podcast over at The Iceberg Project.

and the gang x



little moments

Little Moments – creating more

‘Your life is made up of little moments, little efforts, little changes, big smiles, and all your hopes and dreams.’

Ritu Ghatourey

A fraction of a second caught on camera, smiles….always smiles, but of course it’s not always like this. In fact right now, a few moments ago, an argument over nothing….hurt feelings and nonsense. I could tell you all we’ve achieved up till now, all I hope we’ll achieve this year, but really all I want these days is more of these moments…..more smiles and less tears, more embrace and less attack, more co-operation and less head butting, longer moments like these that turn into years to come.

I can live with less….but I want more.

Am I the only one that struggles, the only one that smiles for the camera no matter what….hoping to expand all these fractions of a second, expand them into a life here we all love.

This year is already a week in, lots of love, laughter, friends, tears and yes arguments…..we’re just a normal family doing an extraordinary thing. How about you, what little moments would you like this year, what dreams to fulfill, …..what will you create??

I’d really love to know, I hope your little moments of joy increase daily, here are some of mine, little Italian moments from the past nine months since leaving Australia xxx

year eleven

year nine

year eight

year seven

year six

year four

year three

year two a

italian life

Little Moments

and the gang x


our house hunters international episode

Our House Hunters International Episode – The valley shines

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 All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players …

 William Shakespeare
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house hunters international

During our first skype conversation with producer Ethan, we asked him if we would be right for House Hunters International. Our house isn’t grand in fact quite the opposite. We are closer to fifty than thirty and have two young children…….’yes yes don’t worry it’ll be great’.

Now,  I think his vision was spot on. Our valley shone and the people of Bobbio Pellice and Malpertus became  part of the story just as they are in our daily lives. We got to show off our beautiful valley in Piedmont and why we fell in love with it.

I don’t want to let too many ‘cat’s out of the bag but I can say that we had the best time with the crew from House Hunters International, we filmed through snow, rain, and dropping temperatures for a total of five days (Now you know where we disappeared to).

We had to re do many shots as Sam kept saying ‘Bloody Hell’ and I got over enthusiastic with the ‘Oh my God’. We didn’t realize how often we said it until we had to stop ourselves.

Other than that what you see is what you get. The crew are now like our adopted family. They were beyond wonderful, encouraging all the way and fantastic with the kids.

Luca can’t make up his mind which job he wants to take. We couldn’t get him away from behind the camera. Carina glowed and was a natural.  I got to see so many ways our kids could take on a life outside the box.

Sitting together for a final interview gave us a chance to reflect on our new life in Italy…..(you’ll have to wait and see!)

our house hunters international episode

house hunters international

This quiet location saw us stop filming for sheep, men on horseback, a small child on a very squeaky trike, cows being led to barns (all with huge bells), the town hall bell, and curious locals…..still the show went on and nothing fazed our House Hunters International team.

Our Italian estate agent Bruna bought a touch of elegance and of course properties to view, wait till you hear her gorgeous accent.
house hunters international

our house hunters international episode

This lovely store owner called us in to taste his local salami and cheeses, the House Hunters International crew couldn’t help but buy something and we all got photos taken, what a great business man, he had us literally eating out of the palm of his hand.

our house hunters international episode

our house hunters international episode


house hunters international

house hunters international

house hunters international

house hunters international

Luca fell in love with Joe’s ‘skunk’ and thought it wonderful that he could hear us all talking in the other room. Whoever said never work with kids or animals had it all wrong.


house hunters international

So if you ever get that call from House Hunters International I hope you’ll grasp the opportunity with both hands like we did. It’s an experience none of us will ever forget and one I’ll always treasure.

We would like to say a very special thank you to …

Patrizia Geymonat (Mayor) – Sindaco Comune Bobbio Pellice

Community of Malpertus

Community of Bobbio Pellice

Trattoria del Centro – Bobbio Pellice

Bar 1990 – Bobbio Pellice

Ristorante L’Alpina – Bobbio Pellice

Macelleria Dario Geymonat – Bobbio Pellice

La Vignassa – Bed and Breakfast, Torre Pellice

Hotel Villa Glicini – San Secondo Di Pinerolo

Claudio | Paolo | Jane | Enzo | Sarah | Allie | Gill | Ian and Laura owners at La Vignassa


House Hunters International

Our Crew 

Producer – Ethan | Director – David | Camera Men – Gordon and Mike | Sound – Simon and Joe | Behind the scenes – Andrea

And our wonderful Estate Agent







italian dream

The Italian Dream – a change is gonna come

 ‘Maybe one day we’ll find the place where our dream and reality meet’


Winter is on it’s way with temperatures dropping down to one degree (that’s celsius ) outside. The italian dream is getting cold. Last week we had our first heavy snow, making us realize that the pathetic efforts we have been making just won’t be enough. We need proper snow shoes, more wood and I could really use some fleecy pants instead of jeans.

We are on a big learning curve, and I had to laugh at Claudio pulling me aside and showing me how to actually stack firewood. I thought I was doing very well packing it as tight as I could only to find out that wet wood needs lots of air space to dry out. We stacked three truck loads with more to come so I will be getting plenty of practice.

We moved the kids into the main part of the house last Saturday afternoon, bigger warmer and plenty of room to play without freezing. Heat is a premium here and the size of your stack of wood is all that counts. I feel a bit like Homer Simpson when he obsesses about donuts. Hmmmmmm Wood!

Moving to Italy was always about ‘family’ and regrouping ours, a chance to bring us closer together. Some days I wonder when that will happen other days I get just a little glimpse of this italian dream. We are certainly not the Brady Bunch, a little bit dysfunctional with a good dollop of feisty thrown in mainly by Carina.

Everyday I doubt myself in some way, as a Mum, Wife, writer, blogger, and Aussie woman living in the mountains of Italy. I doubt that I am alone, in fact I know I am not. It’s not just a female thing either it seems to be a life thing.

The best thing is that each day I get to start all over, create from nothing and try to reign in my ‘Bitch Troll from Hell’ side (well that’s what I tell myself). Perhaps it’s a change of life in more ways than one, lucky Sam will get his wife and his daughter spinning heads at the same time  ha!

In the meantime I’m back to passing nails, holding ladders and finding missing power tools. We have to get the house totally sealed before it snows again.

Although it doesn’t look it in these photos it’s almost freezing…..just stepping from the house has the chill factor biting at your nose and sending your fingers and toes to near hypothermia. Today it was so cold I felt as if my fingers were burning, our neighbor Maximo laughing as he walked past tells us we have no idea what we’re in for……

moving to italy

house porch 2

Winter in Italy means removing the old plastic roof and replacing it with polycarbon sheeting, brown on one half and clear on the other to utilize the light. Just below the small window is a drop of around two meters, I suggest it would be the perfect spot to put the kids.

Removing the chicken wire and actually peering down we found it’s the ideal spot for Carina to throw chocolate wrappers from her window thinking we’ll never find them. Sprung again!

We’ve replaced some of the concrete and cut a step into the entrance to make it easier to come through the doorway. The terracotta bricks are to go just under the roofing to seal the walls and will then be rendered over to match. Apologies no photo of the finished result the weather just got beyond us so we packed up and came inside to thaw out in front of the fire.

house porch 3

house porch dbl

house porch 4

house porch 5

winter montage 2013

A few family photos from our week, I especially love the tape measure tights!

So how are things where you are right now, all good or BTFH? x

do you have an italian dream x