Claudio Ghizzo was born in Italy to a Swiss mother. The 32-year-old nurse works in Italy and believes his Swiss origins have influenced his way of thinking and civic spirit, but he is also very much attached to the landscape of the Dolomites.
swissinfo.ch: Have you ever thought of living in Switzerland?
Claudio Ghizzo: The wish to live permanently in Switzerland is a recurrent thought – but it’s not easy to change your whole life just like that.
swissinfo.ch: What do you do for a living? When did you get your job? How are things going for you career-wise?
C.G.: I’m a nurse with a degree and I work in a hospital near where I live. I got this job by going to university and passing a state exam to become a public service employee. Career-wise things could be better, as my profession is not very well recognised at the political and social level. I think in Switzerland the work I do would be more highly valued.
swissinfo.ch: Where do you live at the moment? How is the lifestyle and the cuisine there?
C.G.: I live among the Dolomites mountain range, in the province of Belluno. Life is quiet and relaxed, and public services all work well here – which is not the case in some other parts of the country. Belluno is tops in terms of quality of life in Italy. Traditional cuisine here is rural in character, as is the cuisine in canton Ticino: polenta, beans, and “pastin”, which is the salami mixture cooked like a sausage.
swissinfo.ch: I hear you are a keen amateur photographer. What is the particular fascination of that hobby for you?
C.G.: I was born within sight of the mountains, so when I wanted to develop my artistic side through photography, I was mostly drawn by nature photography. That kind of photography is not easy – it feels more like hunting than art, really – but it lets you experience unique moments of closeness to nature and see sights that many people don’t get to see.
My hope is that my photography, along with the work of others who share this passion, will succeed in raising people’s awareness through beauty, so that they become more respectful in dealing with nature. Do you know what animal I like to photograph the most? The Alpine ibex! It’s the symbol of canton Graubünden of course, and therefore of my origins, and a real denizen of the Alps. Whenever I manage to spot one, it’s an extraordinary “inscunter” [Romansh word for encounter].
swissinfo.ch: Where you live, what’s better than in Switzerland?
C.G.: The Dolomites! There’s nothing like those mountains in the whole world.
swissinfo.ch: What do you think about Switzerland looking at it from the outside?
C.G.: It’s the model I always refer to as an example of civility and ethics.
swissinfo.ch: Do you feel like a foreigner or are you well integrated?
C.G.: Since I was born here in Italy I could hardly not be integrated, but sometimes I do think that my way of thinking, my civic spirit and my upbringing are not quite the same as those of the place where I live.
swissinfo.ch: What cultural differences bother you the most?
C.G.: The supremacy of individualism here in Italy. You just think of your own individual welfare and not much of the collective welfare. There’s a lack of national cohesiveness. This includes the general public as well as the politicians.
swissinfo.ch: What do you like most about living where you do?
C.G.: The mountains, for they are truly a place of peace and refuge.
swissinfo.ch: What do you miss the most about Switzerland?
C.G.: The orderliness, the collective civic spirit, grassroots democracy, the roads, the scent of the place, and the feeling of belonging to the homeland.
Are you a Swiss citizen living abroad? If so add #WeAreSwissAbroadexternal link to your photos on Instagram.
The points of view stated in this article, especially about the host country and its politics, are the interviewee’s points of view and are not necessarily in line with swissinfo.ch’s position.end of infobox
(Translated from German by Terence MacNamee), swissinfo.ch (the interview was carried out in writing)