Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Italian Alps

Marmolada and Bindel Path. Copyright

Exactly two months ago I resigned from Kickpay and we packed our luggages, sold everything that did not fit in our car, gave back the keys of our home and started an amazing two months trip through the US and Caribbean.

Now that trip is over, and these are our last few days as full-time residents of San Francisco, the feelings are getting weird.

San Francisco has given us a lot. We both quit our jobs in Italy and moved here in the summer of 2011 with absolutely nothing.

It’s pretty unbelievable what we’ve done and experienced in this short 5 year period.

We met some wonderful people, brought an amazing new person into the world, changed a lot, achieved a lot professionally, and made lasting friendships that will be with us forever and shape our lives.

But, sometimes, you have to change.

Sometimes, you have to realize what is the most important thing in your life and why you’re doing what you’re doing: for us, that is family.

We realized that having kids and being only childs with older parents 10,000km away is a bad decision for all parties.

Life happens for everyone, and the regret of not being close to family when it does is just too big.

So we’re packing our bags and moving to Trento, Italy!

London, Berlin, Paris and Milan all less than 3 hours away.

Why Trento? The list of reasons is endless, but we like to sum it as “Italy not in Italy”.

  • Trento is an autonomous Province which gets to reinvest 90% of its taxes, which it does very well.
  • Easily connected to Milan and Rome with high-speed trains, airport is 1h away.
  • Nature without equals: the most beautiful mountains in the world.
  • Very sport-y culture: ski, mountain bike, kite surf, etc.
  • Hundreds of lakes, including Garda, Levico, Caldonazzo, Ledro and more.
  • Extreme focus on the “territorio”, which means a mix of nature and the social structures present.
  • Very community-focused.
  • Part of “Triveneto”, highest industrial output in Italy.
  • Most innovative district it Italy, with very heavy innovation investments.
  • Amazing schools, bilingual in english and a lot of german.
  • Great food and our favorite wines.
  • Tons of parks in urban areas.
  • Tons of kids-focused events regarding innovation and nature.
  • Optic fiber in town and a plan to bring it to everyone soon.
  • Consistently rated for highest quality of life in Italy.
  • Very very decent weather with tons of sunshine (but much more rain than SF).

San Francisco is a pretty amazing city, but if you have kids, I don’t think you could design a better place.

Where we’ll spend our first month and a half

We’ll miss San Francisco though.

There are a lot of things we will miss about San Francisco, and we’re going to find so many more after we’ll have been away for a while.

Most of all, I will miss working on Kickpay. Leaving a company you’ve founded and poured all of your effort into is very hard. Fortunately, my two co-founders are awesome and will continue to work to bring our vision to life.

We will also miss all of our SF friends, who have become as a family away from home.

And then YC; having meetings every single day with amazing people; the public parks, free tennis courts and amazing playgrounds; the weather; the scooter commute; cheap gas; being “the one who left everything and flew all the way across the globe”.. etc.

But we’re insanely excited about getting to raise our child in Trento, in Italy and in Europe.

We are excited about:

  • being able to afford any additional children;
  • having infinite small nice towns around;
  • living in real nice houses not built of cardboard;
  • eating good genuine food with no crap and infinite ingredients lists;
  • cheap rent;
  • free childcare and good public schools;
  • free healthcare and no insurance stress;
  • not having to worry about paying for college;
  • a lot of beautiful and affordable mountain lodges (“rifugi”);
  • being close to the sea (where you can actually bathe);
  • obviously real espresso, gelato and pizza;
  • and so much more!

We are also extremely excited about getting back into a young and emerging tech scene where we can have real impact by bringing back what we’ve learned in Silicon Valley as well as continuing to invest in more awesome founders with Mission and Market.

Being at a stone’s throw from Berlin, London, Paris and any other amazing European is the icing on the cake. More on this on another post.

Related to this, I’m also very excited about the work I’ll get to do at my new job, which I’ll announce in the coming weeks.

Not running a startup full-time, other than enabling me to spend more time in nature and with my family, will also enable me to start writing more — so expect a lot more posts coming in the next months as we settle down.

If you’re in Europe and want to meet, say hi!

What do you think about it?