Locals in Italy: Meet Marco, US Aficionado

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

It’s a funny thing, that greener grass on the other side…

When I met Marco at a language exchange Meetup event in Florence, I was so intrigued by his immense passion for the colonial Northeastern US that I asked to interview him. In our initial conversations that would later blossom into a friendship, I discovered that Marco feels about the US the same way I feel about Italy. I wanted to understand and explore this paradox that we could be so equally in love with each other’s homes instead of our own. Along the way, I learned a lot about Marco- a genuine, heartfelt, and forever-young Italian (seriously, he goes to concerts every week and I often call it a night before he does!). Read on to learn more about my friend, Marco!

Ciao Marco! Tell us about yourself (age, where you’re from, job, etc).

I was born 55 years ago in Florence and grew up half a mile from the Ponte Vecchio. I started working when I was 21 because, although university in Italy is almost free, my family wasn’t able to continue paying for my living expenses.


Marco as a young boy in Italy.

My father had found jobs for me in different parts of Italy, but I so strongly did not want to leave Florence (would you?) for anything in the world (famous last words), so I eventually found a job at home for an import/export company.

Two years later, this company asked me to start a branch in Washington, DC. Let’s not forget that we are talking about the mid ‘80s…no internet, no cell phones, and the fax machine was a novelty. Further, I was just 22 years old and did not know English. Yet, I felt I couldn’t say no. So in March 1987, I flew to DC.


Marco and Sierra in Florence’s cultural hotspot hangout, Todo Modo.

Tell us about your travels in the US. Where did you go and why?

In the first few years, I traveled a lot but just for work, so I didn’t really experience much. I would work a lot then go out with friends in DC, but the truth is I was completely unaware of all the DC surroundings and the nearby states that would become my passion years later.