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.

Marcos-Adventures4

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.

Todo-Modo-Marco

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.