I am a freelance Italian-Spanish/English translator and live in Twickenham, but try to spend as much time as possible in my house in Capena, near Rome in Italy. I'm very lucky because my job does not tie me to any particular place.
I first went to Capena when teaching English in Rome in the early 1980s, captivated by its charm and friendliness. People still used donkeys and did all their washing at the communal washing place.
Everyone made wine and you could not pass an open cantina door without being beckoned in to share a cool glass. Weekend visits evolved into permanent residence for about two years, when I enjoyed the yearly rhythm of village life and all the festivals - while still within easy reach of Rome for work.
About 12 or so years ago, I went back to Capena with my two small boys. We were welcomed with open arms and within hours a trestle table had been spread in the piazza for an impromptu party. Later, a local builder friend found and restored my incredible house - and the rest is history.