Want ads in English bookstores or libraries are a good place to start looking for a job in Italy, but most of the jobs listed do not pay well, nor are they glamorous. I ignored these, waiting for a great job to appear, and checked the ads diligently.
After I had been in Italy for 2 months, and my savings had nearly dwindled away, I thought I’d found my Dream Job. I had spied a posting for “Villa Caretaker near Florence, Italy” and called right away before the job was snapped up.
The ad was in Italian, and the literal translation read:
“Responsible, honest person wanted to help keep large villa tidy. Free apartment, 1 meal a day and weekly cash allowance. Basic Italian okay, but must want to improve.”
I pictured myself in my spacious apartment in a Tuscan villa, dusting antiques and practicing my Italian with wealthy winemakers. “Perfetto”, I thought.
Claudia, the mistress of the house, hired me, and I brought my belongings over on the back of my bicycle.
A week later, I thought of Claudia as Cruela, and I had re-translated the ad to say:
“Scullery maid must enjoy long hours of physically demanding work while being treated like a useless moron. Free unheated room with original 14th century plumbing, 1 meal a day without dessert, plus $15.00 a week in mad money. Basic Italian okay, but you must quickly learn to conjugate the following verbs”:
- To scrub
- To polish
- To wax
- To hate
After a few months of secretly, desperately looking for a new place to live, I rode away on my bicycle singing “arrivederci stronza” which literally translated means “good-bye you bitch.” I pedaled and pedaled and never looked back.