Tell us something about yourself, who are you, what do you do and what brought you here?
I am an Italian researcher working for a project dealing with sustainable agriculture in Europe and specifically how to make the best of our land from a soil perspective (yes soil, the dirty ground under your feet :).
Ljubljana soil at the Ljubljana castle
How did you become part of the Jozef Stefan story?
The Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI) is one of the 22 partners of this European funded research project I am working for. Some months ago my JSI colleagues agreed with the Dutch project coordinator that it would have been a good idea to send me to Ljubljana for few months as a visiting scientist in order to complement their activities and get some mutual benefits... And apparently it works!
Do you like living here?
I have lived in quite a number of countries due to my job, but I have to say that Ljubljana and Slovenia in general climbed quite rapidly to the top, and made me not too nostalgic about my mother country.I personally like Ljubljana for its size small, while still a capital – mostly I love the quick access to any kind of ecosystem (sea, lake, and mountain, both for summer hikes and for winter sports, rafting rivers, wine valleys, easy trips to other cities, like Zagreb...and the airport!).
The hidden Kozjak waterfall, Kobarid
What are some of the good and bad sides of living in Ljubljana?
One good things is the safe feeling of walking in the centre any time of the day and night, and being so close to my hometown in the province of Venice. Also the sporty attitude of everybody, and many Slovenians play my beloved volleyball.
One of the bad things is the fog that sometimes recalls my Pianura Padana [the Po Valley, in Italy], but I learnt from wise Slovenians that it is enough to take a car and drive 20 minutes outside Ljubljana to escape the fog, and even to reach some rays of sun. Another thing I experienced, and it took me some time to adapt, are the frigid temperatures of January and February, and the emptiness of the city, probably due to the post-Christmas happiness and the ski season. Luckily, I like skiing too.
Where is a place you go to relax in Ljubljana, or what do you do to relax?
I actually walk a lot in the centre, along Ljubljanica river, in Tivoli park and Rožnik. Špica corner is quite nice for a rest, too. Also biking along the Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship it is great, and easy to access.
Ljubljana's Trnovo District veggies and flowers
What do you think about Ljubljana’s cultural scene?
I am not very demanding in terms of cultural offers, being more of a sports person. I do like to scroll down the events posted on the Visit Ljubljana website and Facebook, and go to some concerts. In the worst-case scenario, if there’s nothing on here then Zagreb or Trieste are always good escapes.