Nancy Palmer, Tuscany

Who are you?

I am a mom, a sister, a daughter and a friend.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Cortona, Italy in April 2016 from California. My husband passed away a year and a half ago and last year I travelled the world leaving his ashes in all the places he wanted to visit.In September I attended the Tuscookany cooking school in Chiaveretto, Italy. While there I donated an olive tree to the property and added some of his ashes to the dirt. I’m hoping it will grow really big. I decided that Tuscany is where I want to start the next chapter in my life. I love the people, the culture, the food and mostly the wine. I found a realtor online and met with her the next day. She showed me properties in Cortona in my price range. The very first place we saw was a villa on a sunflower farm with a beautiful garden. I fell in love and put in an offer that day.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Some of the difficult things I experienced while planning my move to Italy:

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– Getting a visa at the Italian consulate in Los Angeles which would allow me to stay in Italy longer than 3 months. A nightmare.
– Securing a shipping container and organizing its arrival and delivery to my home in Cortona when I wasn’t in Italy yet.
– Getting the dogs microchipped and all the paperwork for their international travel.
– Explaining to my family why I am moving across the world.

Are there many other expats in your area?

There is a huge expat population in Cortona and I have made more friends here in 3 months then I have my whole life in the US.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the comradery of my expat friends, waking up to roosters and birds singing on my farm, the farmers’ markets in every town and the Sagras, or Festas that every village puts on in the summertime.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

I dislike not having a clothes dryer.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

One cultural difference from the US I have learned here, is that girls learn to make homemade pasta at a very early age. My friend, an Italian woman, said that she makes homemade pasta for her husband and rolls out the pasta by hand. Using a machine to do this is frowned upon.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

It’s very important to give yourself time to secure a longterm visa in the US prior to coming to Italy. The Italians do things at their pace, so don’t book your flight until you have your visa in hand.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on improving my Italian and getting my Italian driver’s license.

You can keep up to date with Nancy's adventures on her blog, Love Cortona.


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