Living in Italy: the Real Deal - Hilarious Expat Adventures

Genre: Humour, Non Fiction, Short Stories

For Fans Of

Frances Mayes, Tim Parks, Michelle Damiani, Ivanka di Felice, Paul Wright, Katherine Wilson, Gerald Durrell, Bill Bryson

Book Summary

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.

DOWNLOAD the FREE Preview of 30% (80 pages) of the book HERE!

For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories.

Glossary of Italian words included! Learn the true meaning of Italian phrases and expressions like "non ci sono problemi", "di fiducia", "persone serie", "tutto a norma" and many more. Learn a bit of the foreign language before going to Italy.



  • "a comical, often downright hilarious account" Reader's Favorite Review ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
  • "Smulders' storytelling artistry is wildly entertaining" Blogcritics/Reader Views ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
  • "Stef Smulders ... does what a good writer does: He writes what he observes and leaves the judgement to you, the reader. No constant bellyaching from Mr. Smulders. I like that. I really like that." James Martin, Italy expert,
  • "Fantastico! I am a tough critic and have nothing but kudos for this book. Buy this book!!" Elliana on Amazon
  • "There is more of the flavor of Italy in this book than in ... Frances Mayes' 'Under the Tuscan Sun'" Amazon review by Grady Harp HALL OF FAME TOP 100
  • "now I can add Stef Smulders to the list of my favorite expat authors" N.N. Light

In 2008 Stef Smulders, his partner Nico and their dog Saar emigrated to Italy to start a new life and set up their B&B Villa I Due Padroni. They sold their home, left their friends and family behind and took a leap into the unknown. Now Stef shares his experiences in a collection of witty short stories. The book treats the trials and tribulations of an emigration.

The reader is introduced to a full range of Italian characters, from the trustworthy to the rogue, from the gentle to the shameless, flesh and blood Italians. Some are stereotype, others unexpectedly original. Yet they never fail to amuse and entertain.

Lovers of books I loved like

Michelle Damiani's Il Bel Centro
Katherine Wilson's Only in Naples
Tim Parks' Italian Ways & Italian Neighbours
Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun & Bella Tuscany
Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy
Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There & The Road to Little Dribbling

will probably love this book as well.


"Stef Smulders ... does what a good writer does: He writes what he observes and leaves the judgement to you, the reader. No constant bellyaching from Mr. Smulders. I like that. I really like that." James Martin, Italy expert,

Reader's Favorite Five Stars Review ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

  • Stef Smulders' Living in Italy: The Real Deal is a thoroughly entertaining read and a unique introduction to 'the Italian way'! 
  • The book is a comical, often downright hilarious account of the setbacks and unforeseen obstacles Stef and Nico encounter while they navigate through the endless red tape of the stressful Italian bureaucracy and become acquainted with the Italian lifestyle.

Blogcricics and ReaderViews Five Stars Review ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

  • Crisp, concise chapters take the form of short stories and weavetogether seamlessly to create a whimsical, light-hearted, and refreshing memoire of the author's complete Italian experience.
  • The characters are delightful and I laughedaloud throughout the reading at some of the obvious stereotypicalcharacteristics of Italians, like the obsession with their health, theirfashion sense, and the overall chaos that surrounds the average person.

Feathered Quill review:

  • For those who wish to laugh and see a more up-close-and-personal Italy, this is most definitely the book for you!

Click here to see more testimonials

About the Author

Stef is a Dutch expat who moved to Italy in 2008, accompanied by his husband and dog, to start their bed and breakfast Villa I Due Padroni in the Oltrepo Pavese wine region, just 50 km (30 miles) south of Milan. In 2014 Stef published his first book (in Dutch) about their life in Italy.

The English translation is available from November 2016 as "Living in Italy: the Real Deal - How to survive the Good Life" and has had raving reviews from editorial websites and readers alike.

For a sneak preview of several chapters visit

It starts like this:

"When we bought our home nine months ago it was ready to move into. And now?

We are shipwrecked in the kitchen of the downstairs apartment. A single sheet of plastic between the hall and the sitting room is the only thing that protects us from the heavy dust of the building site. All day, we are assaulted by the sound of workmen shouting, drilling and hammering. A couple of hours ago the electricity cut out and it’s starting to get chilly in here. Every evening we escape upstairs via the dusty, grimy staircase, where we try to find solace by watching TV in our future living room. The living room is also separated by a sheet of plastic from the kitchen, the bedroom and the office. There are gaping holes in the walls in all of these three rooms, made weeks ago in preparation for the doors and a new window. Now they are serving as tunnels bringing in the draught and the cold. Exhausted and numbed from the endless turmoil surrounding us, we are staring out into space in silence. We are hardly aware of what’s on the screen.


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