Living in Italy: the Real Deal

| December 27, 2016


The experiences and adventures of two Dutchmen and their dog in Italy.

“A thoroughly entertaining read and a unique introduction to ‘the Italian way’!”
(Readers’ Favorite)
“Smulders storytelling artistry is wildly entertaining.”
(Blogcritics and Readerviews)

Funny short stories about learning to live in Italy. About mafiose real estate agents, Mussolini-type builders, lousy plumbers, Italian neighbours, murderous veterinarians, horrors in hospitals, tasting wine, eating pizza, visiting the theatre, truffle hunting and much more!

In 2008 the author emigrated to Italy, bringing husband and dog along, to start Bed & Breakfast Villa I Due Padroni. But a lot of hurdles had to be taken before the first guests could be accommodated. In 2014 Stef reported about his adventures in buying and reconstructing the house, obtaining a tax number and a bank account, registering at the commune and at the national health service, importing their car and a range of other things that lead to a myriad of bureaucratic troubles. These problems were always resolved in a truly Italian fashion, leading to raised Dutch eyebrows and hilarious scenes. As a reader you will encounter a range of characteristic Italians, from sympathetic to villainous, from moving to shameless. Real Italians of flesh and blood, sometimes cliché, somtimes surprisingly original. But always worth encountering.

Reader’s Favorite Five Stars Review
Stef Smulders’ Living in Italy: The Real Deal is a thoroughly entertaining read and a unique introduction to ‘the Italian way’! While attending a university course, Stef and husband, Nico, decide almost on a whim to buy a property in the wine region of Pavia and set up a B&B. Once they find what they are looking for, Stef drops out of university to oversee the remodeling of the house. He and Nico tie up a few loose ends in Holland and, together with their dog Saar, move into their new home while the restructuring work is going on. The book is a comical, often downright hilarious account of the setbacks and unforeseen obstacles Stef and Nico encounter while they navigate through the endless red tape of the stressful Italian bureaucracy and become acquainted with the Italian lifestyle. Living in Italy: The Real Deal is by no means a travel guide, but for those who plan to relocate there, it provides an interesting insight into Italy’s public services’ notorious sluggishness and disorganization, as well as the Italian way of life. Being Italian-born, I found it to reflect the true essence of the Italian people without falling into the usual stereotypes. I also appreciated Stef Smulders’ good-natured, tongue-in-cheek account of his experiences and interactions with the different characters in his book, all endearing even though sometimes maddening. Stef writes in a style all his own that keeps you riveted and thoroughly entertained. I could easily see this book as the first of a series dedicated to Italian living, written with a good dose of the same humor.

Blogcritics and Readerviews five stars review
“Smulders storytelling artistry is wildly entertaining.”
“Crisp, concise chapters take the form of short stories and weave together seamlessly to create a whimsical, light-hearted, and refreshing memoire of the author’s complete Italian experience.”
“The characters are delightful and I laughed aloud throughout the reading at some of the obvious stereotypical characteristics of Italians”
“a greatly entertaining story. Fans of short stories, humor, travel, and different cultures will all find something endearing to take away from this impressive five-star read”


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