Draw strength from beauty

Editor’s letter, October 15, 2020

Helen Farrell
October 15, 2020 - 17:04

Draw strength from beauty.


On Tuesday, I stood, masked, on Ponte alla Carraia for 10 minutes between appointments and drank in all of Florence’s perpetual possibilities. Horace coined carpe diem back in 23 BC and now we seize today while doing our best to protect tomorrow. It’s tiring, we’re exhausted, I know. But standing astride the Arno and gazing upriver at Florence’s sculpted cityscape renewed my sense of purpose. While we’re destined to spend less time in company this winter, Italy is determined to drive forward, digitalizing the future, becoming greener and providing more opportunities for inclusion. I, for one, wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the midst of this pandemic, despite everything.



Florence, October 13, 2020 / ph. @marcobadiani



That starts now as the immigration quotas have opened at last for 2020, meaning that non-Europeans can apply for a visa to enter the country for the purposes of setting up a business and students already in Italy can apply to convert their visa to a work one. “Only 370 spots are available to convert student permits to stay in the whole of Italy and only 500 quotas are available for self-employed workers still living abroad, so you’ll have to move fast, better still with professional legal advice,” comments The Florentine’s legal columnist and international lawyer Michele Capecchi. This is the news that many of you have been waiting for, as witnessed by a massive spike in our online traffic when we published the news last night.


“How can I move to Italy?” is the question we’ve been asked over and over in recent months. In many ways, there’s never been a better time to take a sabbatical in Florence. The city has a long tradition of welcoming international visitors for long spells, after all. In the eighteenth century, spending time in Florence was a firm fixture of aristocratic education and many of the intellectual elite set up temporary (or permanent) home here. Henry James famously visited Italy 14 times and began to pen Portrait of a Lady in a hotel room overlooking the Arno river. Tchaikovsky was so inspired by his time in the Florentine hills, near Arcetri, that he composed his opera The Queen of Spades in just 44 days. This atmosphere still remains today with Florence’s singular ability to inspire and its unique international community.


Brits, like me, are grappling with the red tape to make sure that our rights are protected in Italy once the Transition Period comes to an end on December 31. In this article, lawyer David Cantor outlines how to obtain residency, tax planning considerations and what will happen after the Transition Period. On October 27 at 5pm, Jill Morris CMG, British Ambassador to Italy, will be joining me on TF Together (live on TF's Facebook and YouTube) to discuss the Transition Period and the rights of British citizens in Italy. 



Ask not (‘tis forbidden knowledge), what our destined term of years,
Mine and yours; nor scan the tables of your 
Babylonish seers.
Better far to bear the future, my Leuconoe, like the past,
Jove has many winters yet to give, or this our last;
This, that makes the Tyrrhene billows spend their strength against the shore.
Strain your wine and prove your wisdom; life is short; should hope be more?
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebb’d away.
Seize the present; trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.

—Horace, Odes 1.11




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