The Bianco brothers, Alex and Thomas, currently live with their parents – Swiss mother and Italian father - in central Italy. They talk to swissinfo.ch about their passion for Switzerland and why they are so certain their future lies in the small alpine country.
swissinfo.ch: Why did your parents leave Switzerland?
Alex Bianco: I am Swiss via my mother’s side. She didn’t live for long in Switzerland and she’s now a Swiss citizen living abroad. She lived for four years in Switzerland, first in St Gallen, where she was at university. She then lived in Dietikon, where she worked. That was where she lived with my father, who originally comes from southern Italy, from the Puglia region. He had a permanent job in Italy, so in the 1990s my mother decided to move to La Spezia to join him.
swissinfo.ch: When did you realise that you are half Swiss? Why are you so interested in Switzerland?
A.B.: I’m interested in Switzerland as I’m Swiss. And I will definitely consider Switzerland in my future since I have the opportunity.
Thomas Bianco: I grew up knowing that I was Swiss. I’m very interested in Switzerland, because I see it as the place where I want to live and work in the future.
swissinfo.ch: What are your exact plans for the future?
T.B.: I see my future totally red, with a white cross in the middle. How can anyone turn down the opportunity of being able to live in Switzerland?
A.B.: I see my future in Switzerland. From January 2018, I have to complete ten months of military service in the Swiss army. I would then like to become a Swiss customs officer.
swissinfo.ch: Are you interested in Italian politics?
A.B.: No. In a year’s time I’ll be moving to Switzerland so I’m not that interested in it.
T.B.: I’m not that interested either, since I’ll be living in Switzerland in a couple of years.
swissinfo.ch: What’s life like in Italy? And the food?
T.B.: We live at the border between Liguria and Tuscany. For residents there is not much going on but for tourists it’s a paradise with beautiful castles, green rolling hills and super food.
A.B.: We live in Lunigiana, a small region near the Apuan Alps and the Tosco-Emiliano Apennines, north of Tuscany. The food is amazing. Each village and town have their own specialities. You can get everything, even awesome seafood!
swissinfo.ch: What things do you prefer about Italy compared to Switzerland?
T.B.: Italy is the ‘Bel Paese‘ [beautiful country] that offers everything: the sea, hills, mountains and pizza.
A.B.: In Italy we have everything, the sea, mountains; each region has its own history. In the south lived the Bourbons, people linked to the Crown of Aragon, and Arabs. In the north there were Austrians, and French royalists and in the centre the Papal State and Rome. Italy is a mixture of cultures and accents. I will miss it all.
swissinfo.ch: How do you feel about Switzerland?
A.B.: Switzerland is my country. It has mountains, good food like fondue, capuns [traditional food from canton Graubünden] and chocolate. But there is one problem: there is no sea!
T.B.: I love Switzerland. I love the cities, the people and the chocolate.
swissinfo.ch: Alex, you just turned 18. Have you ever voted in Switzerland?
A.B.: Yes. I voted for the first time in September 2016. Luckily, I knew all about the issues and could vote. I also knew what to do in the November votes.
swissinfo.ch: Are there things you miss about Switzerland when you return to Italy after your holidays?
T.B.: Of course. I miss the beautiful views, the clean fresh air and my grandmother who I see a couple times a year.
A.B.: I miss the cleanliness, Swiss precision and the feeling of being at home in Switzerland.
Give global Switzerland a face! Label your Instagram photos with the hashtag #WeAreSwissAbroadexternal link.
Here at swissinfo.ch, we’re eager to showcase you and your experiences in the form of portraits, videos and anecdotes. We’ll repost a selection of them via our Instagram account.
We hope to meet lots of interesting Swiss citizens abroad while browsing the #WeAreSwissAbroadexternal link stream.
swissinfo.ch (the interview was carried out by email)