Here we are, with this new column involving some of the coolest travel bloggers around the web. There are a lot of them out there, speaking about the world, learning from their travels and mistakes and telling to you, reader, the beauties and the ugliness of what they saw as a traveler and tourist.
I hope you can enjoy these interviews and I think they’ll be proud if someone learns something about their experiences.
So let’s start with the first one, Valter from Tourist by Chance!
Hi Valter, and welcome to my blog! You’re the first blogger I’m having the honor to interview, so let’s start! Something a little bit generic to begin with: present yourself to our readers!
Hey Luca, thank you for having me be a part of it. Well my name is Valter and I was born in Pisa, Tuscany in the awesome year of 1985 – so I am still 30, turning 31 in July. Many of you might know Pisa because of the leaning tower and Piazza Dei Miracoli.
Now that we have that clarified, I moved from Pisa when I was 6 and I lived a few years abroad, including a 14-year “visit” to Australia. However, having Italian parents (both from Tuscany) and growing up as an Italian, I always knew I had to return to the motherland sooner rather than later.
Well fast forward to 2013 and here I am, living my dream, being back in Italy, and discovering my home from top to bottom. Well, that’s the goal. You might be asking yourself – let me guess, you sold everything, quit your job and moved back? No. Not quite. I did not have anything to sell (except my car) and I brought my work from Australia to Italy. I work as a Freelance Marketing Consultant (I have always been in marketing roles, within the Tourism Industry) and that allows me to travel my beautiful country, with the flexibility to work from wherever I am. Hence the name of my blog – Tourist by Chance. I still get so amazed at what the things I come across that I find myself being a tourist by chance.
The blog is just 18 months old and is my pride and enjoy but more on that in the next few questions.
There could be several reasons to open a travel blog: the passion for writing, willing for extra income, love for traveling, showing off posting photoshopped picture of visited places, and so on… What about your reason? When you first started thinking about writing a travel blog and why?
Well, photography is definitely up there, along with my passion for wine, love for making videos, to help other travelers find useful info in one spot and for fun really. I just think that if I learn something in my own backyard, why not share it with other people and give them the chance to see and most importantly, know it’s there!
You mainly focus on Italy (and I obviously agree!) but you decided to keep your content in English: I guess you’re doing it to help foreign tourists to discover Il Bel Paese, but don’t you think many Italians won’t be able to understand what you write?
I like this question. Italians have the luxury of living here and ultimately could do what it is I do – discover Italy. Many opt to go overseas because they take for granted they live here (and that is largely the case whether you live in the US, Australia or anywhere really). So, I thought I would try to give as much local knowledge to those that dream of their Italian holiday or are in love with this beautiful country, as much as I am – believe me, there are so many people in love with this country.
I consider myself lucky because I have lived abroad, traveled extensively but still have a lot to see in my own country. So you could say I still look at many places in Italy, with the eyes of a firs-timer, and I am learning so much along the way.
In your travels, what’s the city you visited you thought “Mamma mia, I wish it was an Italian city!” and why?
Oh wow! This is a tough one. I have lived in 5 countries and visited over 25 others and they all have been unique – they all offered something special in their own way. If not ‘special’ at least I got a funny story out of it somehow.
I say it all the time in my blog, Italy has something to offer EVERY type of traveler and I would not wish to have any other city be a part of Italy.
I don't do night shots…that was until I was in #matera #nofilter #basilicata #sassi #italy #touristbychance #italia #discoveritaly #wanderlust #igtravel #bella #igersitalia #instaitaly #instaitalia #amateurphotography #amateurphotographer #canonphotography #nightphotography #loveit #italy_photolovers #matera2019 #suditalia
Why, in your opinion, Italians are often assholes towards the tourists visiting their country?
Believe it or not, I had this discussion with a taxi driver just a few weeks ago and we discussed why in certain cities, the tourist can be seen a bit of a ‘pain’ rather than a positive for Italy and Italians. Well, after a long and thought provoking discussion we came to agreeing on one point. Italy is disorganized (for the most part). It is no secret that many Italians complain (myself included at times!) at the way of life here but it all stems from one simple concept – organization.
There are parts of Italy that are incredibly organized (few and rare, unfortunately), well set up for the locals and tourists alike. While there are others that seem to make life more complicated, than it should be. Let’s take Rome for example. It is over crowded with people, yet one of the most beautiful cities in the world. If people took the time to really organize the city in a positive way, not thinking only about the money or the next family member they can help out, then Rome could be a well-run city, that allows both the locals and the tourists to have an enjoyable experience.
Us Italians have very little national pride (even though we think otherwise) and will think of ourselves. If we all just worked together, then certain changes could take place, which will help the locals be happier and in turn feel proud to have people come here and visit.
So, do you think it’s only a matter of organization? Our country could rely on tourism much more than we are actually doing, but still we can’t manage to compete with countries with less to show but with a better organization than us.
As stated above, I strongly believe the organization is crucial. How can one expect to change certain cultural traits, ingrained with years of things being done one way, without having a plan to slowly change what is not working? Under “organization” there are a lot of things to consider: financial organization, infrastructural, technological and people. So organization is a term broadly used to fit in a lot of components.
I also totally agree that Italy has the potential to do a lot more to promote this country, however, due to our complicated laws, complicated financial system, bureaucracy, unwillingness to change and general disorganization, we lag behind from the rest.
This is another reason I freely and willingly decided to start this blog. Let me be clear, I make no money from my blog and nor is that the reason I am in blogging. I want to create something that showcases the many beauties of this country (through my passion for photography and video) but also provide useful information for those wanting to visit. Let’s be honest – things are improving but it is still so complicated to do certain things in this country, that should be elementary (take the public transport situation in the South) and for many tourists getting online and finding useful information from the local tourism office, is a nightmare.
Now let’s imagine Italy never existed! It would be very sad for everyone (Who discovered America? We did! Who started renaissance? We did! And I could go on forever!), but you need a new country. Which one would you pick up to be your home country and why?
As you correctly pointed out, many countries wouldn’t be what they are today without Italy but ok, happy to play along 😉
I would have to say Cyprus – yes I know, I did not fly too far away from home for this one but that country has a special place in my heart, that it would have to be Cyprus. I lived there for 7 years so it played an important role in making me the person I am today.
As I mention in my blog the ‘superficial’ things I love about Cyprus are the beaches, the weather, and the history. On a more personal level, the people, the day to day life, and I’ll include the beaches here too because they are amazing! And it’s an island – who does not love islands?!
Last one and you’re free to go! Tell our readers one reason why they should come and read your site!
The tagline for my blog is “An Italian, a camera and a few glasses of wine, discovering Italy”. “The glasses of wine” is an amazing part of discovering Italy. Not only do you discover unique towns/cities but the food and the wines are also different – offering a unique experience in almost every region.
I want to discover this country, like really get to know it. Meet people like Giovanni in Civita di Bagnoregio that can recommend things the locals do and no just what is publicized in a guide book. I want to give locals a voice. I also really want to provide a platform for tourists that have stumbled upon something great and may wish to share with others . That also includes sharing different points of view on the best way to approach Italy, like the post on Venice from 2 Travel Dads.
Join me discover Italy and if there is a story (good or bad) you wish to share or a photo of your time in Italy, share it with us and be a part of Tourist by Chance.
I’d like to thank you, Luca, for the interview and really had a great time. Luca and I met when we collaborated for a post called ’Italy on Instagram | 13 Photos to feed your Italian Wanderlust’ and from there we started chatting on how we could continue to collaborate.
It has been a pleasure to virtually meet you and I look forward to interviewing you very soon – so to all our readers, watch this space, as we will delve into the life of Luca and his blog 😉
Ciao e a presto,