Friday, October 15, 2010

Feature Friday: Interview with KC of ‘The Shock of Old’

Being an avid reader of the blog, 'The Shock of Old', I found it to be a great idea to hold an interview with its writer, KC. She is an American art historian, who discusses anything from Italian bureaucracy, to ancient artifacts found throughout the small town in which she lives, to days spent with her husband N and her beautiful daughter, Pata.

1. For those readers who have not yet read your blog, please tell why you chose to move to Italy?

I moved here to marry my husband, who is Italian. (We had met a few years before in Rome while I was on a research trip there.)

2. Since PassagetoItaly is about making the transition to Italy, how did you make the move from the United States to Italy, and when did you move?

I moved here a little over four years ago. Italy doesn't have a fiancée visa, so I came as a tourist and we married within the ninety days allowed to visitors from visa-waver countries.

3. Do you have tips/suggestions for those who are exploring the idea of making the move?

I moved because of a particular set of circumstances that made coming here relatively easy for me. I didn't have to worry about qualifying for a visa or obtaining citizenship from Italy or another EU country, so I can't really comment on the process of moving as it applies to most people who want to come to Italy. In general, I think it helps to be at least proficient in Italian before moving because it will make dealing with the bureaucracy involved in getting established here much easier.

4. What were the most difficult parts of the move?

For me, it was the finality of it: driving around the city where I lived the last days before I moved and knowing that I would probably never see it again, and knowing that in moving I was ending my career and would never work in my field again. I have a hard time with closure. I like to think that anything is possible. Moving here was really the first time in my adult life that I had to confront the reality that there are choices that we make that irrevocably close off opportunities to do other things.

5. Without being biased to the town in which you live, which town/city is your favorite in Italy?

Well, there's no chance of my being biased towards Sessa Aurunca (where I live) because I don't like it very much at all. Rome is my favorite city. As a graduate student, I spent a few months there that were very important to my intellectual development, and I look back on that time very fondly.

6. Rome was my favorite as well with its combining of the old and new. If you could make a recommendation to visit an off-the-beaten trail location in Italy, where would it be?

I'm not sure how off-the-beaten track it is, but Mantova is one of my favorite cities, and I don't think it's very much visited by tourists. There are a couple of fine churches by Leon Battista Alberti there. (Sant' Andrea is breathtaking.) The Palazzo Ducale has Mantegna's frescoes in the Camera degli Sposi and in the Palazzo del Te, which is interesting enough architecturally, there is Giulio Romano's Sala dei Giganti. There is also Andrea's Mantegna's house, with a circular courtyard.

I also like Modena, which has one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy. Brescia is another of my favorites.

7. What are some of the traditional dishes of your adopted town?

To be honest, I don't really know. They do have a strange 'pastiera' made with rice here, which I cannot recommend. (I put pastiera in quotes there out of respect to any Neapolitans offended by the idea that you can make one with rice!)

8. What are some of the traditional celebrations specific to your town?

We have an extensive celebration of Holy Week, involving several processions and the display of a statue of St. Leo and the town's venerated image of the Madonna. There's also a procession honoring the Madonna del Carmine in July. There are 'giochi di quartiere,' in September, I believe, with archers and flag throwers in costume. I think there may be a few other events, but I find that these things have a way of fading into daily life when you live here for a while.

Thank you KC for sharing us! And to the few who follow my blog, don't forget to check out 'The Shock of Old'.


  1. Thank you!
    I love reading KC's blog, too!

  2. Catherine, thanks so much for interviewing me. I had a great time answering your questions! (I tried to leave this comment a few days ago, but I think I forgot to hit 'submit.')

  3. Dana - you're welcome. Yeah, she's great!

    KC - no, thank you! It was so nice of you to do the interview. I don't think your comment came through, as I didn't see it. Glad you were able to re-post it though as I love reading comments.

  4. Hi!

    Would you care to link my blog in yours? I think we have lots in common in our topics!
    My blog is!
    I will link yours in mine! :)

    Great job!!

  5. Hi Rosaly! Sorry for there to be such a delay in response. Yes, I will link you!