American writer Amy Selwyn has been living in our home from January through July 2004.

She is a fantastic person (as you will understand through these pages) and during her staying, she started writing a small "newsletter" to her friends about her Roman life and experiences. After a while the number of readers grew over hundred, with people even asking to pay to get on the list.. This was way before blogs and podcasting, of course, and it should be published as a paperbook someday .

Amy's Dolce Vita is the most exilarating (and true) guide to Italian lifestyle we ever came across. We really thank her again and again to share with us her thoughts and, last but not least, to have become one of our best friends!

There you go, Amy...

Dear all,

First off, don't panic. This is NOT one of those horrible group newsletters alerting you to all of the wonderful things that have happened to me and my family over the year ("...after much to-ing and fro-ing, Bob and I decided to take the plunge and buy the condo in Hilton Head!!!! Schuyler, who is captain of the girls' golf team, just heard from Princeton and, yes, it's a go!!! Bob and I couldn't be prouder. She's pre-med, of course, just like Ashton, who's doing beautifully at Yale and MAY soon be popping the question to Piper Pierce Perkins of the Delaware Perkins'. We are BLESSED!!!!...").

No way. Instead, I simply want to share my thoughts about a new life here in Rome. Last September, I resigned from the BBC, sold my flat and committed myself to a midlife reawakening. I had no idea what I was going to do, exactly. But I knew that I needed a change. I needed to find myself again: to rediscover the joy in life, if that doesn’t sound too New Age-y. I’m not a millionaire. Truth is, I’m going to have to go back to work at some point. Sooner rather than later, I expect. But hearing father utter these fateful words from his death bed, “I never stopped to smell the roses,” I determined that I would not simply walk through life and work and love agog with indifference.

So, here goes. I’m moving to Rome. I’m not even sure how or why I chose that city, except to say that I needed to experience Italy and I’m not the farmhouse and olive grove type. I’m a city chick. Rome appeals, though I’ve only ever been there twice. Crazy, I know. I’ve rented a flat via the Internet. I’ve wired in the Euros. I’ve put everything I own into storage --- save a few select black sweaters and a full-length brown velvet coat (hey, you never know) --- and said my farewells. I expect to be back in about 8 months’ time.

This is My Dolce Vita.

© Copyright Amy Selwyn 2004