Taking pleasure in every aspect of life. This is what the concept of the Dolce Vita lifestyle is all about – enjoy family time, good food, art, nature and have fun. Italian expats living in Mauritius share with News on Sunday how they are living the Dolce Vita on our tropical island.
Fabio Sframeli: “My personal interpretation of the Dolce Vita is light heartedness, conviviality, harmony and peace”
Fabio Sframeli has been living in Mauritius for more than eight years with his wife and their three kids. The Italian couple’s last child was in fact born on the island. The expat shares that he chose to move to Mauritius as it was his dream to live on a tropical island.
“I always dreamed of living on a tropical island and since we got married 25 years ago, we have visited many countries and tropical islands looking for the ideal place. Back in Italy I got to know nice people belonging to the conspicuous Mauritian community who were living in Sicily, which is where I come from. And these friendships have definitely influenced my choice regarding which tropical island was more attractive to me,” he explains.
The Scillian man who grew up in a family of carpenters shares that he decided to follow the same pathway as his ancestors when it comes to professional career. “I trained at the high school of fine arts, specializing in antiques restoration and ceramics and I have always worked in the world of furniture. I had my own carpentry shop in Italy. When we moved to Mauritius, I founded my own carpentry workshop and showroom named “Menuiserie Italienne” which is in Arsenal.”
Fabio affirms that Mauritius has opened many doors for him. “It is indisputable that the beauty, line and knowledge of Italian craftsmanship are appreciated throughout the world. Therefore, as a legit representative of the Italian knowhow my work is appreciated and sought after in Mauritius, giving me the opportunity to boast many job satisfactions and growing and expanding my local company. Furthermore, my children are growing up in a multicultural environment from which we want them to learn tolerance, peaceful coexistence and respect. I would therefore say that my life in Mauritius is pleasantly full of work and family satisfactions. What more could I want?” he states.
But has he found his Dolce Vita lifestyle in Mauritius? “Let's say that the desire for carefreeness is a common denominator in human nature, therefore also in Mauritius, it is an objective for its residents and for the majority of expats from all over the world who settle on the island. There is a desire for lightness, frivolity and there is no shortage of private social events to which everyone contributes according to the characteristics of their own cultural identity. Let's therefore say that we contribute to the local search for the Dolce Vita according to our standards,” declares Fabio.
The Italian expats states that he has his own interpretation of Dolce Vita. “My interpretation of Dolce Vita differs from the debauchery of the meaning that arises from Fellini's film, which although it is a cinematic masterpiece, is not necessarily shareable. My lifestyle is very simple: I love spending free time with family, with good friends, cultivating good relationships with the people I meet, joking, diving, hiking, sitting at sunset on the beach. All this helps me create my personal interpretation of the Dolce Vita which is light heartedness, conviviality, harmony and peace.”
According to Fabio, there is an aspect of the Dolce Vita lifestyle that is missing in Mauritius. “I believe there is a need to implement public places and events on the island. I am thinking, for example, of a seafront equipped with a sidewalk and lighting, where street artists and street food markets contribute to a general sense of well-being for locals and tourists,” he utters.
He is however content that he has found a few Italian friends in Mauritius. “We do have a circle of Italian friends and we do organise activities, parties or simply meeting at the beach just for the sake of spending time together or for celebrating Italian or religious events, where any occasion is always a good opportunity to enjoy “bring and share” of Italian delicacies, and listening to Italian music.”
Speaking about the famous Italian cuisine, the expat tells that he is happy that there are now so many Italian restaurants now in Mauritius. “However, we also do love cooking our own meals and enjoying our own traditional dishes, so we spend hours looking for the right ingredients, cooking and passing on to our kids our food identity as essential aspect of our Italianness,” he asserts. Indeed, despite being away from his motherland, Fabio still makes it a duty to pass on some Italian traditions to his children. “The most important Italian tradition we celebrate and pass on to our kids are the importance of the family and the love for traditional Italian cuisine and products and the memory of the historical or folkloric origins of some traditional Sicilian dishes. We also try to keep the use of the Sicilian dialect alive at home.”
His advice to expats looking forward to coming to Mauritius is to make the most of the natural beauty of the island and integrate into the local community to truly get to know the Mauritians, their history, traditions, food, music and their fascinating peculiarities.
Adriana Fiori: “For us Dolce Vita is the chance of spending time with our kids”
Born in Rome, Italy, Adriana moved to Mauritius in August 2022. The 50-year-old came with her partner who is a Swiss national and her two children, aged 7 and 9, who were born in France. The expat confides that it is only after a short stay that they decided to make Mauritius their new home.
“We travelled quite a lot and we lived in France, Italy, Thailand and Panama. We chose Mauritius after a 2 weeks vacations in April 2022. We realized that even though it is a very small Island it offers most of the things we were looking for… amazing nature and beaches, good schools (my kids go to the French school), no language barrier as everybody speaks English and French on the island, good private hospital and healthcare and wide choice of European supermarkets so you can find also your ‘homy’ food,” she explains.
After a fruitful career in the marketing sector, Adriana now works remotely. “I used to be International Marketing Manager for a big Medical Multinational Company. I loved my job and used to travel around the world for work reasons 70% of my time. After 15 years of this amazing career, I decided to stop to grow my family and start a brand-new adventure with my husband developing an App that we will launch soon. As we work remotely now, we could choose to live anywhere in the world.”
When it comes to work and life balance, our Italian woman asserts that Mauritius offers many advantages as well certain challenges. “For us, Mauritius answers to most of the criteria we had listed and we wanted for our family which are: safety, good health private system, international schools, small time difference with Europe, among others. Of course, there are some drawbacks like in any other country. In Mauritius traffic can be crazy in some areas as the roads are pretty narrow but as we work remotely, we do not have to go through this hassle. Also, service can be an issue. It is not easy to find specialized and reliable workers,” she utters.
Nevertheless, the Italian expat and her family have found their own Dolce Vita lifestyle in Mauritius. “We decided to settle in the North where there is a big community of expat coming from all over the world; kids are enjoying their life in the open air, play lots of sports, water sports, we enjoy our beach time after school and on the weekends. We have made lots of new friends and we can work remotely as the internet is very good and we are only a two-hour time difference with Europe. All in all, it is a very easy expatriation compared to our previous experiences in Thailand and Panama. Local people are very kind and so far, we felt well accepted,” she states.
For Adriana and her family, the Dolce Vita concept is a simple one. “For us Dolce Vita is the chance of spending time with our kids in such a nice setting, offer our kids the chance of knowing different people and learn about different cultures. But we also wanted them to attend a recognised French school with IB system that will empower them to be ready to be citizens of this changing world. We love our new standard of living; we live by the beach in a safe community with many other families from many parts of the world. The island is perfect for people like us who enjoy hikes, water sports, fishing, and nature in general and some good international cuisine but also the local food in the small restaurant by the beach.”
She confides that it is in fact thanks to an Italian friend that she got to know about Mauritius. “We have a few Italian friends and actually we moved here thanks to an Italian friend who had been living in Mauritius for eight years and talked highly about this beautiful country. As our family is pretty international, we also look for international friends and since we arrived here, we made friends with family from Mauritius, Italy, France, South Africa, Russia, Ivory Coast, India. Mauritius is a real melting pot,” she says.
But when it comes to Italian cuisine, there are no chances to eat out with Adriana as she prefers to prepare her own Italian meals at home. “As a spoiled Italian of course, I prefer to make my own Italian food at home as it is not easy to find real Italian dishes at the restaurants. There is always some sort of international tweak to them. The real problem is the cost of Italian raw products and the fact that they are not easy to be found here. But we found some nice pizzerias run by Italians where we love to go to - like the Pappagallo and the Golosona - to make our kids happy and enjoy some real Italian flavours.”
And if there is a tradition which Adriana makes sure to follow is keeping her mother tongue alive in her house. “I speak Italian at home so my kids do not forget their mother tongue and we eat mainly Italian food at home. Of course, we keep on following our traditions celebrating Christmas, the Befana, Easter, among others.”
She advises expats who are thinking about moving to a new country to always keep an open mind. “They should be aware that they might most probably fall in love with the beauty of the island and the kindness of the people. But they should also keep in mind that there will be some drawbacks to cope with so they should be ready to adapt to the rhythm and rules of Mauritius,” she declares.
Edoardo Borrelli: “I found my Dolce Vita lifestyle and I adapted to the Mauritian context”
Originally from Rome, Edoardo settled in Mauritius six years ago. “The first time I came to Mauritius was in 2009 and, in 2017, I decided to live here for several reasons. First of all, it’s for the quality of life. The quality of life here is very good and safe, plus there are many outdoor activities. It’s amazing! Another reason I chose Mauritius is its economy and its tax system. The economy is very stable. The island has grown a lot both in terms of services and structures and the taxi system is really good here,” he states.
The Italian man, who has a bachelor degree, master degree and PhD in Psychology, and specialised in developmental psychology, shares that from when he was a teenager, he always wanted to work abroad and to travel the world. “After my degree, I started to work with kids and family. By the end of 2017, luckily, I had an opportunity to come to work in Mauritius. I’m the manager of the Italian restaurant in Grand Baie - Max Mamma Mia.” He adds that the island has offered him many great opportunities. “I learned a lot of things, improved my English and I found my girlfriend. I’ll describe my life in Mauritius like a quiet life good life which revolves around work and family time. I have found the right work life balance,” he asserts.
Indeed, when it comes to living the Dolce Vita lifestyle in Mauritius, Edoardo confides that he has also found the perfect balance. “Let’s say both. I found my Dolce Vita lifestyle and I adapted to the Mauritian context,” he utters. What makes a true Dolce Vita lifestyle according to him? “For me the most important point is to live well with yourself and take your space. It is very important to have a good relationship with your partner, and balance the work commitments with the family needs. During my free time, I spend time with my family choosing what activities to do or where to eat, etc.”
For the Italian man, Mauritius has it all in terms of offering the Dolce Vita life. “As at today, I can’t really tell what we miss here. The island has grown a lot in the last decade and it is continuing to grow. We have sport activity, sea activity, hiking activity, a lot of restaurants, malls, cinemas.”
Edoardo shares that he glad that the Italian community is also growing in Mauritius. “Today, there are quite a lot of Italians working in Mauritius. I have a circle of Italian and we organize activities. unfortunately, I work at the restaurant so our free time does not match. Normally we meet for dinner at my restaurant,” he declares. Speaking about restaurant and food, the Italian expat trusts that it is a good thing that Italian food is much appreciated in Mauritius. “There Is a lot of Italian restaurants in the island. What I think about this? I think that’s great as people all over the world like Mediterranean cuisine. I eat Italian food every day, so at home I eat something different normally.” The only thing that he misses is some authentic Italian dish. “I really miss the suppli’ and the arancini. Suppli’ is a ball of rice with tomato and mozzarella cheese. Arancini is a ball of rice with mozzarella, beef and peas,” he explains. Edoardo plans to pass down his Italian tradition and culture to his kids one day. His advice to expats looking forward to come to Mauritius is to adapt themselves with the local culture.
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