Sara Milne took her post as director of the British Institute of Florence in March 2011. As the founder of the London-based company Science and Media, Milne worked with Britain's Science Museum to tap the commercial potential of its collection and intellectual property. She has a strong commitment to education as well as extensive experience in management and marketing. Milne is no stranger to Italy: she was born in Rome and has lived and worked in Italy at various times throughout her life and career. In January 2012, she will also become Britain's honorary consul in Florence.
You were born in Rome. How did your parents come to be in Italy?
My parents were musicians. My father, a pianist who trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and subsequently became a professor there, won a scholarship in the early 1960s to study at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena with maestro Guido Agosti. They lived between Siena and Rome, which is why I was born in Italy.
Do you feel a special bond with Italy?
I returned to England when I was a year old and was educated there. But I had an Italian godfather, and my parents often came back for summer holidays. As a teenager, I visited Lucca and the Garfagnana and have fond memories of these years. In fact, before taking up this post, my only experience of Florence was as a tourist. Curiously, that makes it more interesting because my eyes are wide open. I feel very fresh in my approach to the city.
Tell me something about your background. You were in business in England with a particular interest in science, the media and education.