Get to know our second member of the #myamericandolcevita campaign, Marco Elser, Vice President of the American Club of Rome. Half-American and half-Italian, Harvard student Marco Elser, after spending some years in the US, he decided to move to Italy...discover Marco's story, by reading the interview below:
Tell us about yourself.
I am Marco Maximilian Elser. I am half-American and half-Italian. I was born in Rome from an American father and a Roman mother. I attended the French Lycée in NY from 2nd grade to 8th grade and then obtained my Baccalauréat from Lycée Chateaubriand in Rome. I worked on Wall Street for a year before going to college at Harvard, where I graduated in 1981. After a few years in NY, I decided the US was no longer for me.
Why did you move to Italy?
A few years after college, I realized that NY was very focused on values that I did not share. I raised the white flag and moved to Rome. I was fortunate enough to work for a US-based investment bank (Merrill Lynch) in one of the most beautiful palaces in Rome (Palazzo Borghese).
Tell us about your profession.
I have been involved in the securities business all of my adult life. I would not change it for anything else in the world.
What do you like about living in Italy?
The quality of life is what convinced me to move here. I have been in Rome for nearly 40 years.
What challenges did you face during the move?
Ironically, the most painful part of the move was the annual renewal of the Permesso di Soggiorno. Now that I am married to an Italian (Flaminia Cuturi, also a member of the club), I have a permanent Carta di Soggiorno!
What is your relationship like with the locals?
Amazing. For all intents and purposes, I am considered a local (Romano!)
What is the US Community like in Italy?
The US community was very large until the 1980s. Most US companies hired US citizens to run their Italian Operations. One of the reasons was that not many Italians spoke English. Now that there are MANY Italians who have obtained their college degrees and MBAs from US universities, these companies tend to hire locally. Over the last twenty years, a significant increase in college students can be seen in Rome as many US universities have initiated programs with dorm facilities and classrooms. Temple University is an example of a program that has expanded its capacity. Notre Dame is another.
What do you miss the most about the US?
As I go to the US on a nearly monthly basis, I don’t really miss anything. Rather, I fill my suitcases with US goodies that cannot easily be found here (peanut butter, muffins, corn syrup, all sorts of candies and junk food!)
What are your plans for the future?
Enjoying life and showing young people what a beautiful country Italy is (notwithstanding the well-known Roma problems: traffic, dirtiness on the streets and general inefficiency).
Why did you decide to join ACR?
I joined in 1985 and believe I am one of the oldest continuous members.
What do you like about being an ACR member?
Participating in the happy hours and welcoming new Americans in Rome.
What makes ACR SPECIAL?
It is the oldest American Club in Italy, founded by the HUSBAND of the US ambassador to Italy (in 1953).