Meet the woman who found new life in Italy.
On January 20th, 2020, this writer and mom was staring at a bottle of anti-anxiety pills. The stresses of a highly demanding career were taking a severe emotional toll like so many others at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Burned out but looking for a new purpose in life, Giovanna Bonomo’s heart and passion had always been with Italy. However, she always let pragmatism and the realities of life as a nine-to-fiver reign supreme when it came to contemplating a new life in Italy.
This time, however, was different.
Bonomo realized it was a turning point in her life, and perhaps her last chance to make the move that she had long dreamt of.
The following month, she packed her bags along with her family and made the move to Italy for a new life. She hasn’t looked back since.
Now comfortably adjusted to life in Italy for three years, Bonomo has become an inspiration and a reference point for millions of Americans who have the same dream she did. Her book and successful social media pages Lost & Found in Italy have grown to become the number one destination for people who are contemplating a new life in Italy.
We sat down with Bonomo in this exclusive interview to discuss her story, her adjustment to life in Italy, and how her passion has inspired a new generation of Americans who are ready to call Italy their new home.
America Domani: What is your background and what are your Italian roots?
Giovanna Bonomo: I was born and raised in a farm town in Ontario’s Niagara region. My father immigrated to Canada from Sicily when he was 17 years old and vowed never to return to Italy, my mother was born in Canada to Italian parents. Since I was a child, I was drawn to the Italian language, art, architecture, and music. For me, it was more than an interest, it was a magnetic pull that would only get stronger as I got older.
AD: You work regularly with Americans who are contemplating a move to Italy. What should weigh into their decision on whether to make the move?
GB: Don’t move to Italy with the hopes of securing a nine-to-five or maintaining the comforts you are used to in North America. Moving to Italy, like chasing a tornado, is more than getting a daily dose of breathtaking views. It is about testing limits, experiencing mystery, and most importantly, giving back to the country that gives so much of itself to us through its agriculture, gastronomy, climate, and lifestyle.
AD: So many people dream of moving to Italy, yet so few actually take the dream all the way and make the move. Why do you think that is?
GB: This question is the impetus behind my book Lost & Found in Italy and my upcoming documentary which I co-produced with Steve Perillo of Perillo Tours. Changing your life--making your dreams a reality requires a stubborn determination and belief that you can do it. When you look beyond Italy's beauty and take a closer look at the bureaucracy, it's easy to say, forget it! I resigned from my corporate job in Canada in 2020. I was totally burned out and didn't want to be in an office. But being a mother and wife, you carry the responsibility to give your family a good life—a future. Italy’s pull grew so strong I had to make a decision. It turns out that when you follow your heart, it doesn't send you astray.
AD: How can you decide what city, region, or place in Italy is the right one for you?
GB: Every region, city, and village has a unique story and energy. You won’t know by perusing a brochure, you’ll know by wandering through the towns; you'll feel it in your heart. You can also narrow down your options by climate, lifestyle, and landscapes. If you can't be there in the body, go there in the mind. VR Travel is a great way to virtually wander through Italy (or any other country) to get a feeling for what fits. I highly recommend New York-based TRAVEL WORLD VR or TRAVEL GORILLA on YouTube to immerse yourself in Italy virtually for free.
AD: What are some things that are often overlooked in the process when contemplating a move to Italy?
GB: The greatest and most important factor to consider before moving to Italy is that you aren’t just moving to Italy; Italy will also move into you. You must be a highly adaptable person, or soon learn to become one, you have to learn that the customer doesn't always come first (cashiers will gladly chit chat among themselves while you're in line waiting to cash out), get used to paperwork, and finally learn to not take everything so damn personally.
AD: How can you prepare yourself so that you are as ready as possible to adjust to the culture once you arrive in Italy?
GB: First, you must learn the language, and not just the grammar, but the actual language. When you learn Italian, you enter the world of Italians. Start with popular sayings to extract the wit, sarcasm, and philosophy of Italians. They will be different from your own. Some will make you laugh, others will make you squirm. You'll make a lot of funny and embarrassing mistakes, but that is a good thing. Second, stay tuned for the documentary "Lost & Found in Italy', which may just convince you to finally make the move.
Tap the Photo to buy "Lost and Found in Italy" by Giovanna Bonomo on Amazon