Diaries of an Italian Sojourn: Life, Love and Sun-Drenched Discovery


A writer's search for a new home lands her in the lush and lively Italian countryside.

This article, written by Natalie Decleve, appears on Harper’s BAZAAR. 

How to Find Love – And Maybe a New Life – in Italy

As the saying goes, “if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.” But what happens when you’re bored of the city that has it all? After a decade in the Big Apple, personal stylist and journalist, Natalie Decleve, knew it was time to move on—the question was, to where…?

Embarking on a search to find her next home, Decleve set out on a cross country road trip that forced her to compare her own hectic life with a much simpler one; and traversed the Caribbean for lusher pastures. Here, she gives Italy a go.

I’d always adored the warm southern country and dreamed of somehow, some day, calling it home. Maybe now, with nothing holding me back, would be the time? Armed with an August free of obligation and an opportunity to visit a Tuscan vineyard, I seized the chance to spend my final weeks of freedom in the land of red wine and renaissance architecture. I agreed to every passing invitation from friends, ex-colleagues and media contacts and planned an Italian tour, entirely hosted by locals, with my Italian-speaking, can-drive-a-stick-shift, gets-along-with-everyone girlfriend, Jackie. With visions of blazing through the Italian countryside in a convertible Fiat, headscarves flapping in the wind, Jackie and I hopped on a nonstop flight from JFK to Rome.

Once on Italian soil, we rented a car (an Audi station wagon as they were tragically out of Fiats) and pointed our compass toward a remote destination off of the coast of Tuscany called Monte Argentario. We planned to stay with Rufus, a quirky British Earl I had known for a decade, who spends every summer in his bohemian seaside villa, 2.5 hours from Rome. As we approached the island peninsula, the landscape merged from rambling countryside to rocky mountains. Fluffy grasses flanked a single, narrow road that encompassed the mountain. We tried not to look down the cliffs at the water far below as Jackie navigated the enormous Audi around each hairpin turn, with toy-like vintage cars whipping by us with ease. Read on at Harper’s BAZAAR. 

Like us on Facebook to receive more food & wine, travel and entertainment news.

Share your favorite recipe, and we may feature it on our website.

Join the conversation, and share recipes, travel tips and stories.