Tag Archives: Family Living

Expat Working Moms: we are looking to interview you

Hi Moms,

I am looking for expat moms that are working here in Firenze.  FMs4Ms Network would like to interview you. This topic is an important topic for many moms that move here and are looking for jobs or need to make some income.  We want to know your story.

If you are interested in sharing your story, just fill out the form and one of our editors will contact you soon.

From Vancouver, Canada to Florence, Italy

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/elenaphotos

Gina Mazza currently lives in Florence with her beautiful 7 month old daughter and her husband Alessio. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Gina wanted to share with us the story of her coming here and how she overcame some of the cultural differences she encountered when settling in.

Read more her story…...From Vancouver, Canada to Florence, Italy

By Ela Vasilescu – Writer/Journalist


****This is one of the many stories from our Expat Stories Series  If you are interested in sharing your story fill out the form on this post.  We Would Like to Read Your Expat Story


We Would Like to Read Your Expat Story

Logo FMs4Ms2016To the many Expat Moms that follow our Website/blog;

As some of you may know in the past, we have interviewed many moms about their experience as expats. Together with journalist Ela Vasilescu we would like to continue this project.

Living an expat life, being pregnant and giving birth are unique experiences we could all learn from and relate to. We would like to read more of your stories, your experiences, your fears, your expectations. Moving to a different country and starting a new life, although exciting, can be scary and the process of integration can be slow and excruciating at times. Other times the process is fast and problem free.  We want to hear your story.

We will do a separate section to focus on birth stories because each woman has a distinctive memory about the moment when they gave life to a new human being and reading those stories would help and inspire other “mothers to be”.   These stories will help pregnant moms compare and understand the different hospital environments in and around Firenze and fill with joy and melancholy the ones who already experienced the birth of their child here.

We would like to explore these distinctive threads (living as an expat, pregnancy and birth stories) that whilst seemingly different, they trigger situations and feelings unlike others and by sharing them we could help others understand they are not alone, offering the support they need to move forward.

The project will consist in scheduled interviews shared online on our blog. If you would like to take part in the project please please fill out the form below.     

Ela Vasilescu

To sign up for an interview please fill out this form and we will contact you very soon:

Ask Dr. Paolo is back

Ask Paolo logoYou may have noticed a few blog post and workshops about Dr. Paolo Molino a psychotherapist.  Dr. Paolo Molino has been helping the Expat community for years. He is a psychotherapist of Gestalt psychology. He is also a family man with his wife and two children.

He expertise covers many areas such as:

  • Affection disorders (depression,emotional dependence )
  • Personality disorders ( borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder , antisocial personality disorders)
  • Parenting Roles (coaching and support)
  • Sexuality related problems (male and female)
  • Relational problems (couple’s or family’s)
  • Family constellations (group or individual session)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

If you have any questions about dealing with different cultural relationships, dealing with being away from family, or dealing with children behavior just to name a few examples many expats go through.  Click and  Submit your questions.   *your question can be submitted anonymously

If you need to contact him directly for an appointment here is his information:

Paolo molinoDr. Paolo Molino, psychotherapist,
Piazza Cesare Beccaria Area, Firenze.
Cell 331-1064726
email: paolomolino@gmail.com.
Website: http://www.paolomolino.com

OMG I cracked a tooth a day before vacation

All fixed

All fixed

This is not what you want to have happen, especially one day before going on vacation. You are all packed and ready to leave the next morning. You got up out of bed, hit your chin and wham, you knocked your front tooth in half. Of course this was a tooth that you already cracked off when you were 12 years old by a softball. After all these years it falls out with a slight hit of the chin.  Anyway, you need to find someone fast and reliable.

This is what happened to me, so I called up the dentist that I had to quickly find when my back molar cracked and had a big hole in the base of my tooth. That tooth had to be completely extracted.  I had so many worries because I have special issues being immunosuppressed with my medicines I take for my autoimmune disease.  So I needed a doctor close to home, spoke English (not a need but really helps in an emergency situation), and knew about people with my health condition.

I asked in the Firenze Moms 4 Moms Expat Mom’s Club where I could find such a dentist.  I was lucky to have found the right person.  He not only extracted my molar when that cracked, but he also was available at a quick notice with my broken tooth a day before my vacation.

He is a husband of a mom in the group, but a great guy that does dental work on children as well as adults. He is very professional, obviously knowledgeable of the new dental procedures, along with knowing about dental issues in people with autoimmune disease.  Many thanks goes to Dr. Niccolò Trentanove for being there to help me out with my many dental emergencies, that seem to happen at odd times, out of nowhere.

His office is very easy to get too and located just outside the main center.  He provides the following services: repair dentures, orthodontics, dental root canal treatment, oral hygiene treatment, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, implant dentistry, extraction surgery, implant surgery and teeth whitening.

His contact information is:

Dr. Niccolò Trentanove
Via Senese 12 – 50124 Firenze (FI)
tel: 055 2298271
partita iva: 02282030481

Obstetrician Doctors Here and Weight Gain


So why is it that the Obstetrician doctors here have big issues with weight gain during pregnancy for expat moms?  I am not talking weight gain above the standards of other countries. Here you can find an example of what doctors follow in the US for standards of weight gain during pregnancy. click here  In Firenze, I am finding many expat mothers (myself included) built with a broad structure, because of our genetics, are being treated on a weight scale as some small Italian women.  I am not trying to be stereotypical or racist, but genetics in different cultures do create different size women.  The standards for them are going to be different then an average Italian woman.  I see it already in the cloth sizes, where I have to get many of my clothes from the UK because the sizes here are disproportionately small and short.

I had a healthy pregnancy with my first child. I gained a good amount of weight (40 lbs. (20kg) by the end of my pregnancy) most water and baby (my boy was 10.4lbs (5kgs)) when born. This was 2 weeks after due date.  A very big baby but not because I was gaining weight. My sugar levels were fine with my first and no problems at all during pregnancy.  Now my second, conceived and born here also was a big baby (9.5lbs (4.9kg)). The first doctor I went to in the public system was going off about my weight gain at the end of first trimester.  I was starting my second trimester and I was showing quickly already.  I knew I was doing the same as my first child. I knew that I felt good and my blood work was normal as well.  Therefore, I switched doctors to a private doctor that took into consideration and looked at my levels of weight etc. from my first pregnancy.  As long as I stayed like my first pregnancy and blood work and tests came back normal; then all was OK.  In fact, I delivered a healthy baby without problems.  It was another C-section but that was because my first was born by C-section.  I was not allowed to go natural again after one C-section.

Anyway, did any of you have issues with doctors and weight in pregnancy here?


Dear Moms,
Make a present to your kids by planning their best summer yet, with an awesome summer camp right in the hearth of Florence city center! Here at Sunflower Florence we are all ready to have fun with them, taking them on a magic trip through art, theatre, music, art crafts and much more. The only things we ask them to bring are: enthusiasm, happiness and a lot of will to make new friends!
We will take care of all the rest in a cozy and friendly atmosphere.
The Sunflower Staff


summer camp sunflower

What do you do with your children?

I am wondering what you do with your children when school is out and you have to work. 

work children

summerI know a few things moms do here.  Some send to Nonni (Grandparents).  Some send to Summer camps/schools.  Some take off work using vacation time and other times they can use.  But what do you do? Comment below and let us know what you do.  This is a tough situation for many with children and of course need to work.

Florence unfriendly to children? Not to my child

2014-10-09 11.39.16Florence can seem as a child unfriendly city for many, mostly because of its famous history and rather large, constant flow of tourists. The image of a toddler running around and chasing pigeons on the rocky beach in front of Palazzo Pitti for example, just doesn’t fit the picture somehow, but I can honestly tell you there is nothing more beautiful than seeing the future playing on the stones of the past.
When we had our daughter, my husband and I were constantly asking ourselves about places where we can take her, so we can all have fun together. We have tried numerous things, from going to aperitivos at child friendly bars to taking her to playgrounds and specially designed entertainment centers (ludoteche), but none of them ever made her as happy as the bar from the corner of our street. Ephia as any toddler has a lot of friends on our street: the people from the bakery, the people from the tobacco shop, the people from the pharmacy, but her favorites are the family that owns the bar, especially their son, the bartender. He is the kind of guy that every kid would love and he knows exactly what to say and how to act around them which makes his bar be filled with children and happy parents all the time. He became my daughter’s best friend and every day when we go for our walk she drags me there, just to see him and give him the perfect smile and “Ciao!”. On some days, when he is not around, we get to the door, she begins searching for him and when she realizes that he is not there, her lower lip starts to tremble, her chin gets pushed into her chest and then she takes my hand asking to leave the place instantly. Yup, that seems like real friendship to me and as I have seen, this is the story of any child that goes into that space.
The first thing you can notice when going inside are the dozens of drawings on the right wall, which have been made by all the children who stepped foot in there, as a present for the bartender. The bar is called Torello and although it’s rather far from the center of Florence, near the Scandicci area, I would highly recommend this place to any parent who wants to enjoy their cup of coffee, one of the best cappuccinos in town or just a nice evening aperitivo, while watching their children having fun and constantly smiling. This man is like a magician and has that vibe that fascinates and draws kids his way, always having a smile on his face and a joke on his lips. Maybe we all should have a bartender like that in our neighborhood, just to make our mornings a bit more smiley.

Article written by  Ela Vasilescu



About the Author:

Ela Vasilescu is a published writer and a freelance journalist based in Florence, Italy. She is currently working on her new book of short stories and is part of the Writers Group in Florence.  She has created and conducted the journalistic project The human behind the artist which consists in interviews with English speaking artists living in Florence.

Because she believes that stories can make us look inward and explore our emotions better, she is always on a quest to finding those stories which cannot be seen with the naked eye. She has conducted a series of theater workshops and this year she has created a storytelling workshop for children “Let’s invent stories together!”. She is also collaborating with F.E.S.T.A Theater and the Canadian Island kindergarten at the moment teaching various theater and English workshops. www.writerinflorence.com

 Related Articles on the Blog:

“Using words and images to capture your audience”
Story Telling Workshops

My Story: Mary Loscerbo

FMs4Ms Members: My Story

Mary Loscerbo_foto2

Mary Loscerbo moved to Firenze Italy in 1990 from Canada after receiving a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the U of Toronto, She traveled all this way, because she was granted a scholarship to learn Italian and study with a renowned singing teacher.  Living here in Italy for 23 years, she has fallen in love with the Italian lifestyle, climate and food.  While pursuing her career of Music, she fell in love with her husband from Basilicata, got married, and soon after she delivered her two wonderful boys.     


Looking for a great café? Go to “La Sosta de’ Golosi” in the center which is owned by Mary and her husband. Mary does the accounting for the café and is sometimes needed to help out in the kitchen, but she has pursued her real passion of singing and songwriting.  Along with writing her own songs, Mary has recorded commercial jingles, dance recordings, and music for documentaries.  Though majoring in classical music at college, she is not limited to this and sings a wide genre from Pop, Jazz, Soul, and Dance.  You can see some of her performances at the Goldenview Open Bar on Via de’ Bardi.  Summertime she is extremely busy performing with her band for mostly destination weddings, conventions and private functions.

Health system:

Both the private and public health system here in Italy have been utilized by Mary and she really likes the fact that the public health system is entitled for all residence and citizens of Italy. In comparing Canada’s health system to Italy’s, she expresses that in Italy there is not a ridiculously long wait to see the doctors which you deal with in Canada. She declared that Italy has the best system by usage of the two tier structure.  To quote Mary, “If you don’t want to wait, all you have to do is go to a private clinic and pay for it (and the prices are very reasonable) In Canada we don’t even have that option.  Either you take out a mortgage to pay for it in the States or you wait and hope to God it doesn’t get any worse.”

Through the process of natural childbirth, Mary delivered both her lovely boys in Firenze at two different public hospitals. Her first child was born in Santa Maria Annunziata (Antella) and her second child at San Giovanni di Dio (Scandicci).   She claims both her delivery experiences were fabulous ones.  She asserts, “the nurses where very helpful with breastfeeding and wouldn’t let me leave the hospital until I was sure how to breastfeed properly.  They showed us how to change diapers and how to bathe our babies.  I couldn’t have hoped for better and I had both children in different hospitals.”

Mary Loscerbo_fotoWhen her babies were born, she sustained Maternity Leave from her husband’s café because she was classified as a “dipendente familiare” in her husband’s business.  She does not get an actual wage but the business pays for “contributi” that go towards her pension and health system. 


Both her children attend the public school here in Firenze.  She declares, “I think it is quite good.  A lot more advanced than in Canada but way too much homework!”

Driving in Italy:

Mary talked about that the driving exams in Italy as being extremely hard with lots of studying and learning of unexpected facts like the mechanics of the car.  Despite the complicated multiple choice test, Mary did complete the exams to get the Italian License to drive.  She states, “It is like getting a mini mechanics license!  I failed the first written exam.  Then I found out at the time that I could do it orally and I passed that.  I passed the first time on my actual driver’s exam.”

Driving in Italy was a scary experience for her.  The road rules in Canada which she was accustomed too were very different than the rules here in Italy, which created a bit of confusion at times.  On top of learning the new rules of the road, she had to study how to drive a manual shift car which was a huge task in itself. The erudition did pay off and she states she is a wicked parallel parker, which is something you really require in the city streets.

Renting or Owning Your House:

No renting for Mary, since she owns her home here in Firenze.  In comparison to buying in Canada, her impression is that it is just as complicated.  You can find an article Mary has written for FMs4Ms Newsletter a few years ago on buying a home in Italy. Here is the link to her experience: Becoming A Home Owner In Florence

Miss From Your Home Country:

Because of her love for Italy, Mary adapted very easily to life here, but she, of course, still misses her family and friends back in Canada.  Some things she wishes Canada had from Italy are the climate, food, lifestyle along with the two tier health system.  Like many though, she hates the bureaucracy in Italy and the long complicated requirements you need to do to complete just simple tasks. 

Economic crisis:

The Economic crisis has not really caused any issues for Mary living here.  There are no uncertainties because, she always has the opportunity to go back to Canada if need be, ever since both her children attained double citizenship.  She says, “I am just grateful that I HAVE that option if things really get rough here.  If I go back to Canada I don’t think I’d have problems finding work in my field.”

Firenze Moms 4 Moms Network:

“When my children were young it helped to have the support group.  Meeting other anglo speaking people in the same boat as you are.  As the group has developed over the years at times I feel that it is more of a place to vent, which can be good to have at times, but I would prefer it to also be a place for women to feel empowered. I would like to see more women supporting women that work here. Networking more not just socially but on a professional level.  Moms just don’t live for their kids; they also have their own lives and careers.  I’d love to know what other women do. “




Firenze Tap Water

tapFirenze Tap Water by Kimberly

From FMs4Ms Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 1 December 2009

I read the article Don’t be a drip by Melissa  Morozzo in The Florentine, and though it very informative about being green.  There is a big problem.  The water might be safe from the Anconella plant for drinking; it might not be safe in the tap at your home.  I for one know I have lead pipes.  It is a very old house like most houses in Florence. She stresses not using filtered water because of lose of minerals. Drinking lead causes many adverse health effects, especially for infants and young children along with adults.  But filling a baby bottle with water containing lead is very dangerous.  (*note I did write a letter to the Editor in 2009 about this point, unfortunately this letter is not online anymore on The Florentine website)

In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.” Taken from www.epa.gov

I as coordinator for the Firenze Moms 4 Moms Network, I had to speak up on this.  There are many steps to take to clear out the pipes before use.  I have copied and pasted the recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

How can I reduce lead in drinking water at home?

Flush your pipes before drinking, and only use cold water for consumption. The more time water has been sitting in your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain.  Anytime the water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, “flush” your cold-water pipes by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get. This could take as little as five to thirty seconds if there has been recent heavy water use such as showering or toilet flushing. Otherwise, it could take two minutes or longer.  Your water utility will inform you if longer flushing times are needed to respond to local conditions.

Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead. The two actions recommended above are very important to the health of your family. They will probably be effective in reducing lead levels because most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply