From Bologna to Boden

Photo Mats Engfors/Fotographic

They had well-paid jobs, a nice apartment, friends and family in Italian Bologna. Roberta and Simonetta Barbieri left everything to create a new life in Boden – and make pasta.

Spouses Roberto, 51, and Simonetta, 53, come from Bologna in northern Italy. In the city of millions, they built successful careers at large companies in logistics and trade and worked 12-13 hours a day.

They also had a great interest that they shared, travel. A few years ago, they visited Sweden for the first time. They went to Västerbotten to fish and they were so delighted that they decided to travel here again. That time it was a winter holiday in Luleå.

– We fell in love with Sweden and decided to live here. We feel safe here, we love the people and we love nature. Fishing, picking berries and being in nature are very important to us. In Bologna we could rarely do that, we lived in the city and there are so many people, cars, exhaust fumes and chaos, says Simonetta.

A big life change

Life in the big city meant a lot of work and responsibility, but little time to socialize and do things they liked. The couple experienced that they were stuck in a rut that was difficult to get out of.

– We wanted to change our lives, be more together and work normal hours, says Simonetta.

But leaving everything and restarting was of course not a spontaneous act. The move required years of planning and preparation.

– Our friends do not understand how we could leave everything, but this is better for us, says Simonetta.

Before moving from Italy, the couple took evening classes and learned how to make handmade pasta, bake pizza and make really good coffee to have something else to do in the new life. They were looking for houses in Boden, Luleå and Piteå and when they found a large 60’s house on Sanden in Boden, they fell head over heels. There is room here both for Simonetta’s mother and for the couple’s new passion, the company Ibolognesi. In the basement, they have built their own pasta kitchen, where they make pasta by hand to order. They use ricotta, parmesan and special flour from Italy and are otherwise careful to choose local producers for as much as possible, such as vegetables and eggs.

– We follow our tradition but make personal pasta according to our customers’ wishes. We started at the end of November. Now we are working on marketing ourselves, says Simonetta.

Time for närhetsliv

Here in Boden, life is no longer just a job.

– Now our days are calm, we have time to go to school and learn Swedish, time for work and for leisure. Here, our lives are not stressed, it is a completely different lifestyle, much better for health and for the brain, says Simonetta. The climate here is much cooler than Italy, but it is not a problem for the Italians, on the contrary.

– I love winter! I would like to learn to ski, says Simonetta.

So this year, before the fishing and berry season starts, there will be many walks in the immediate area and in the forests around Boden with the dog Billie.

– Around 10 pm we go out with the dog but in Bologna it would be very dangerous, it is such a high crime rate.

Here we see children on the roads every day, says Roberto. He and Simonetta appreciate the security here but also the proximity to services such as grocery store and health center.

– And the people are so kind, we have very nice neighbors so we thrive here. We will never move back, says Simonetta.

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