Swim Coaching in the Province of Venice: An Australian Expat's Tale of Living in Italy

To learn a new language and re-discover his heritage are two of the reasons for Laurence's decision to move to Italy. Here, this swim coach describes his expat life in Italy, the attitudes of the people in his region, and his favorite activities there.

Laurence Gagno

-Where were you born?

Brisbane, Australia

-In which country and city are you living now?


-Are you living alone or with your family?

With my Italian girlfriend

-How long have you been living in Italy?

4 years

-What is your age?


-When did you come up with the idea of living in Italy?

Learn another language and to have a second identity; discover family history heritage

-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?

No, I had already acquired Italian citizenship.

-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?


-How do you make your living in Italy? Do you have any type of income generated? 

I work as a swim coach and now manage the swimming complex. The first year I did manual labour. It took a year to find a job coaching, I had to work for 3 months without pay before I received any income; I was living on my savings. I found the swim coach job by talking to locals who had work connections.

-Do you speak Italian and do you think it's important to speak the local language? Please add your thoughts on local customs and whether it's important for expats to respect/observe local customs.

I speak the language, but they also speak Venetian here which in many districts is more common than Italian. Respect for their customs is very important here and displaying a will to contribute positively by working hard and respecting the laws is very important. Italy is a mixture of several states blended into one. The Italians I live next to don't consider themselves Italian but Venetian and have a completely different mentality to the southern Italians.

-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.

Yes, I miss my family a lot. I cycle everywhere, because cycling is very popular here.

-Do you have other plans for the future? 

Travel every year to a different European country.

-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?

I have bought an old farmhouse which I plan to demolish and build something new with better insulation.

-What is the cost of living in Italy?

340 euros monthly for a 2-bedroom apartment

-What do you think about the locals? 

I live right in the heart of the Northern League, which is a local indigenous movement against foreign immigration. These people claim to be the first inhabitants of the region.

-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Italy?

Positive experiences: doing something a lot of people would or could not be able to do. I rarely get to speak English except on the phone when speaking to relatives in Australia.

-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Italy?

Try to find work other than teaching English; the experience is far richer.

-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Italy?

No, nothing. Thank you.

i found coaching italian

laurence gagno's picture

i found coaching italian children and adults a challegeing experience, In this provence numbers through the door is more important than quality of coachin,g its not uncommon to have 10 swimmers per lane in a 25 metre pool. italian children talk incessantly and make alot of noise,. im sure they are capable of talking under water with a mouth full of concrete. the mothers remain next to the pool deck for the entire lesson and observe every action you make and listen to every word you utter to the children.