Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Ciao! Are you someone who would love to meet locals in Italy? At Creative Edge Travel, we think meeting locals is the #1 secret to more meaningful travel and opening yourself up to unexpected opportunities.
I’m so excited to announce our Locals in Italy series where we’ll be introducing our personal friends and partners so you can learn about their cultural traditions, try recipes right from their kitchens, and explore everyday life in Italy through the eyes of a local!
Simona relaxing in front of Lake Garda where she lives.
To kick this off, I welcome my new dear friend, Simona Gadaldi. The story of how we met is not quite as common as a typical coffee shop encounter. It was Fall of 2017 and I was exploring the Dolomite Mountains in the northern region of Italy. Determined to take advantage of the amazing nature I was surrounded by, I set out on a 3 hour hike…in crappy tennis shoes…with no walking stick or equipment. (Yeah, ok..not the smartest idea but I couldn’t pass up the experience!)
I made it to the little mountaintop lake I had been heading to and after resting and refueling, I started to head back. On my way, I passed an Italian couple enjoying the view. “Not a bad view, huh?” I said. Just minutes later, I was sitting with Simona and her husband, Giovanni, enjoying the food they had shared with me! After a good conversation learning about each other, these incredibly caring and kind people volunteered to help me back down the mountain!
One of my favorite things in the world is sharing stories about how locals in Italy have made my experiences so much more incredible than I could have imagined. But now it’s time for you to hear from Simona herself! I’ll warn you, though, she forgot to say how incredibly brave and adventurous she is- just look at her clinging to the side of a very very very high cliff like it’s just another Tuesday!
Check out our short interview below:
Where are you from and how many generations of your family has lived there?
I am from Botticino Sera in Lombardy, Italy. My family has lived here for at least the past 4 generations.
What is your favorite thing about being Italian?
I’m proud to live in Italy because I believe it has so much to offer- seas, mountains, lakes, history, excellent cuisine, traditions, and above all, generous hospitality.
What is one stereotype you have of Americans?
I don’t have an opinion on Americans, maybe because we are too conditioned from the world of movies, but I believe it is a country to discover as much as my Italy is- different but similar at the same time. It’s a very interesting and fascinating place!
What’s your favorite Italian dish?
My favorite dish is pizza.
What did you eat today?
Today I had spaghetti!
What’s your job?
I deal with magnifying systems for surgeons and dentists.
How do you spend your free time?
In my free time, I go biking, climbing, and hiking in the mountains, and I dance.
What is the biggest challenge about living in Italy?
The most difficult challenge is the economic situation. There are many things to organize here politically.
What is the secret to living la dolce vita?
La dolce vita is the sweetness of doing nothing. Those who work sometimes manage to enjoy it when on vacation but it isn’t for everyone or the rich.
What is your passion in life?
My passion is to be able to enjoy the little things that make me happy.
Anything you want to share?
My favorite recipe is Pizzoccheri della Valtellina. They are special tagliatelle noodles made of flour and potato, herbs, cheese, butter and sage.
Have a question you’d like me to ask other locals? Leave it in the comments below! Want to meet locals in Italy yourself? Creative Edge Travel offers small group and custom trips to the lesser-known areas of Italy. Visit our Upcoming Trips page to see where we’re headed next!