We are interested in hearing Roberto's story and perspective because of his experience of having left and subsequently returned to Southern Italy. What’s more, he has not only returned, but has forged his own path, working creatively to bring unique and empathetic experiences to visitors in a sector that seems quite novel and innovative.
PYMWYMI: What initiated your decision to live and work outside of Sicily / Italy?
Roberto: In Sicily I felt caged. I wasn’t able to express my artistic capacity professionally. I decided to leave in order to grow and to discover. When I began to work abroad I saw how diverse the world of photography is. I learned to have my own style and to know how to obtain what I wanted. In Sicily I would not have been able to grow in this way.
What motivated your decision to return to Siracusa?
When I returned to Siracusa for vacation I became enamored with my homeland all over again. At the time I was living in London. A magnificent place but also chaotic and often difficult for someone with my character. I chose “quality over quantity” - Sicily and her beauty were beckoning me. I knew I would have a difficult and hazardous undertaking, but like a good climber I understand that if you have fears about the path ahead you’ll never be able to scale a mountain.
Your business is interesting and the idea seems innovative. Can you elaborate on the idea?
Of course. It is a photography school that offers photographic trips and tours in Sicily. I wanted the visitor to be able to discover Sicily through my eyes and not through those of the typical guided tours. The photographic tours and trips allow you to experience the place in a manner that is more sincere and true to the destination. In addition the visitors are offered the opportunity to learn an art and to bring home wonderful photographs. Apart from the tours I offer workshops and personal photography courses.
What are some barriers to the success of your work that you confront due to the choice of working in Sicily instead of abroad?
Without doubt the largest barrier is the difficulty of working within a society that is frequently confronting problems associated with antiquated and dysfunctional economic models. Sicily is as marvelous as it is slow, sometimes. The second problem is tied to bureaucracy and taxation. Italy is horrible and doesn’t help new businesses. However I am certain that with determination everything can be resolved.
How can PYMWYMI support your work?
By introducing the project to the whole world! Together we could organize some photographic tours in Sicily (PYMWYMI can't wait!).
Do you have any recommendations for visitors in Sicily, Italy, or tourists in general?
Relax, let go and loosen up. Abandon the classically guided tours, ask for advice from locals, smile, and you will see that your trip will have different results.
Interested in learning more about Roberto's business? Check out Slow Motion Travels here.