Ok, so those were Iris’ words from the movie The Holiday, not mine, but they might as well be because they serve as the perfect introduction to today’s love story. Especially the last line. Sometimes love is simply lost. And that doesn’t make it any less worthy of sharing. Where there was love, there was something good and pure. While we might break up and not make up, the people that we love shape us and the memories will stay with us all the days of our lives. Today I would like to share a story that is a testament to this, Caroline and Lorenzo are no longer together but I hope that their love story can still remain a happy memory and can still inspire you readers to dare to love, to take the leap into the abyss. Sometimes you land on your feet and other times not so gracefully, but stories like these promise that in either case, you'll look back and see how far you've come and hopefully, know that it was worth it.
Where are you from and where is your significant other from?
I (Caroline) grew up in Omaha, Nebraska in the USA and Lorenzo was born and raised in Italy in Monterosso al Mare, a small village of 1,500 people on the sea and one of the five towns of the famous Cinque Terre.
Where and when did you meet your significant other?
My mom actually met Lorenzo's parents years ago when she ate at their family restaurant in her 20s on a weekend trip to Monterosso while studying abroad in Florence. She fell totally in love with Monterosso and actually lived there with her college roommate for 6 months after graduating. She came back several times before getting married and having kids. I was 5 years old the first time I ever visited Monterosso but it wasn’t until I was 16 that Lorenzo and I were actually introduced.
That was the summer of 2011 when my family spent a month in Monterosso. I remember the first day I met Lorenzo so clearly. It was a rainy morning and we had just arrived the day before so my mom and I decided to wander around town a bit. I still remember what I was wearing: some funky turquoise rain boots, dark skinny jeans & a striped navy blue and white top. My mom needed some olive oil so she decided to stop in Lorenzo’s family wine shop, which is connected to their restaurant, and Lorenzo happened to be working in the shop that morning.
When we ducked into the wine shop, I noticed Lorenzo immediately behind the counter. He was wearing a cozy blue hoodie and jeans. I could feel his eyes on me while we browsed around his shop and I remember feeling this strange unexplainable pull towards him. We got our olive oil, went to check out at the register, and on our way over Lorenzo’s dad happened to walk in. My mom started talking to him in Italian and at the time I didn’t speak almost any Italian so I just stood there smiling knowing my mom would translate later. I definitely picked up that they were talking about me since Lorenzo was blushing and kept looking at me with a shy grin.
As soon as we stepped out of the shop I asked my mom to spill the tea. She said that Lorenzo’s dad was talking about how Lorenzo was single and needed a beautiful American girlfriend. He then pointed to me and said I would be perfect for him! Lorenzo asked how old I was and realized he was quite a bit older than me so he said I was way too young for him. Then his dad said “What do you mean too young? My wife was 10 years younger than me when we fell in love!” Lorenzo blushed and said he would see me around. That was the end of our first official meeting but I remember leaving with so many butterflies in my stomach. I had never been in love before so it was a foreign feeling to me but I knew one thing, I wanted more!
Who made the first move?
I actually made the first move since Lorenzo was pretty shy and I could tell he was hesitant because of our age difference. I’ve always felt much older than my age so I guess that didn’t bother me as much. Plus something about him felt different and I couldn’t help that magnetic pull I felt towards him. After meeting Lorenzo that first rainy morning I actually got right to work and told one of my mom’s friends in the village that I thought he was the cutest guy in Monterosso. Word spreads pretty quickly in such a small town so it wasn’t long before she came back to me saying Lorenzo was interested and told me to stop by his wine shop the next day.
It took all of my courage to walk in there and talk to him the first time. I think I walked by his shop about ten times before I finally had the guts to go inside. We chatted very briefly and exchanged phone numbers. After that I made stops at his wine shop everyday and we slowly started getting to know each other. I was spending a month in Monterosso so I wasn’t in a hurry and we really took our time opening up. The language barrier made it a bit more difficult but we made it work. Lorenzo had a little pocket dictionary so whenever he didn’t know a word he would pull it out. I loved his thick Italian accent and found his English errors so endearing. I would visit him at the wine shop almost everyday but it wasn’t until a few weeks into my stay that we actually had our first date.
Where did he think you were from?
I guess I was technically the “foreigner” in our situation since I was the one visiting Italy. Lorenzo said he could tell I was American right away from the way I was dressed, haha!
What was your first impression of him?
I thought Lorenzo was shy but there was something really cute about it. It wasn’t an offputting kind of shy, it was more like an “I want to get to know this mysterious guy” kind of shy. I could tell he was a good person right away after our very first conversation. He was very respectful and always made me feel safe. He made me laugh a lot and had such warm energy. He really drew me in from the start.
Dish on the first kiss!
That first summer we met in 2011 both of us were pretty shy. Lorenzo was embarrassed about his English and I was so young and just had no idea how to interact with a boy. We let weeks roll by without anything happening until the very last week of my stay in Monterosso. At that point I finally got the nerve to text him and make something happen since I wanted to leave Monterosso with no regrets. I texted him asking if he knew a good spot to look at the stars in Monterosso together and that’s where it all began.
That night around 11pm we met up once he finished his shift at his family’s restaurant. I was so nervous and had so many butterflies in my stomach. I walked to the piazza where we decided to meet and found him sitting on a bench looking so cute and very Italian. He had on a tight fitted striped blue and white hoodie, light washed jeans & nike shoes. I was wearing a dark green summer dress and sandals. He smiled when he saw me and told me to follow him. We walked up the street and arrived at a huge gate. He pulled the gate open and told me to go ahead. Once he closed the gate behind us, for a split second I was having second thoughts. It was dark and nobody was around. I really didn’t know much about this guy besides our chats in his wine shop. I impulsively told him not to try anything he would regret and he laughed nervously and said he wasn’t like that. My gut told me I could trust him so we went ahead.
It was dark so he held my hand to guide me. He led me up some steps, opened another gate, and I realized we were in a lemon grove surrounded by lemon trees! (See photo below). He led me up a spiral stone staircase and from the top we had a beautiful view of Monterosso all lit up at night. He told me to look up at the stars and they were so bright above us. The town was so quiet that we could hear the waves crashing on the shore down the street.
He hugged me and I remember thinking that he felt so warm. It was so nice to finally be alone with him. Then he started to touch my face and I got so nervous because I knew the kiss was coming. I turned away and said “Wow the stars are so beautiful!”. He didn’t waste any time and just took my face in his hands and kissed me. We kissed and kissed and kissed. Then he led me up some more stairs with an even better view of the town and the stars and we kissed some more. I have no idea how long we were together but it felt like hours. I actually ended up losing an earring that night in the lemon grove and once I left for America a week later Lorenzo happened to find it. He sent me a picture and said he would keep it for me until I came back to Monterosso. Two years later when I did come back he still had it for me!
Where do you live now?
We currently live in Lorenzo’s hometown in Monterosso since he has taken on his family’s restaurant and wine shop. We have been together a little over 6 years now. We met each other when I was 16 but just had a small fling that summer. We stayed in touch as friends and it wasn’t until I was 18 that we officially started dating. We did long distance for a year and I officially moved to Italy to finish school in Florence when I was 19. That way I could visit him on the weekends and the distance was much more bearable. I graduated in 2017 and have lived in Monterosso ever since. I was able to get my dual citizenship through my Italian great-grandfather which allows me to live and work in Italy as a legal resident so I am very grateful for my Italian roots!
The wonderful thing about living in Monterosso is that we are a seasonal village. We only work in the sunny months since that’s when we get all of the visiting tourists. It has gotten quite famous in recent years so we see hundreds of thousands of tourists here every summer. Then in the winters we totally close down all of the businesses in town from November to March which means 5 months of vacation every year. This has allowed Lorenzo and I to travel the world together in the off-season and we’ve made so many incredible memories together.
Have you learned each other's languages?
I actually majored in Italian Language at my university in Florence, Italy so I have been fluent in Italian for a few years now. Lorenzo spoke pretty broken English at the beginning of our relationship but now he’s completely fluent after 6 years speaking primarily English with each other. We have always spoken English as a couple since I didn’t know Italian when we first started dating. That’s the language we fell in love in so it still feels like the most natural language to speak together.
Any advice for mixed/long-distance couples?
Lorenzo and I did one year of long distance while I was studying in Chicago before I decided to move to Italy. We always made each other a priority during that time and we knew we could trust each other completely. Long distance is HARD and you have to be willing to put in the effort to make it work. We would send care packages and hand written letters back and forth. We Skyped almost daily and always checked in with each other. We also were working with a 7 hour time difference which could be difficult but when there’s a will there’s a way and neither of us ever had a doubt about the other’s commitment. Lorenzo visited me twice while I was studying in Chicago in 2013/14 and I spent Christmas with him and his family that year in Italy.
We always did sweet little things for each other during our time apart. For his birthday in February we had tons of snow in Chicago. I asked a friend to come with me to the lake (I was lucky enough to have my campus right on Lake Michigan) and I wrote Happy Birthday in giant letters in the snow and posted it on his Facebook wall. He was so surprised and he could tell that I made a big effort to send him that message. The big gestures like that really helped keep our relationship alive despite the distance between us. We were constantly showing up for each other in the relationship and although the months spent apart were incredibly difficult I think they made us stronger in the end.
Submitted by Caroline.
Here's how you can connect with her:
YOUTUBE: Riviera Dreamer
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Caroline and Lorenzo. Though life has taken you down separate paths, I hope that you will look back on your time together and see it just as my readers and I have while reading this – beautiful. Thank you and I wish you both the very best.
There are so many amazing stories to read so make sure you're all caught up. And should you want to share your own story or know of a couple who would, please get in touch. The majority of these stories have been brought to me through word-of-mouth, so let's keep spreading the love.
Here are our past Love Stories in no particular order:
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Elka and Gabriele
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Godberg and Gloria
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Kelly and Michele
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Sonja and Ricky
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Loriana and Giancarlo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Nina and Enzo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Chiara and Andrea
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Marlena and Fernando
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Sherry and Andre
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Faith and Valerio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Bianca and Luca
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Paula and Pontus
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Alicha and Dennis
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Arachi and Ciro
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Genia and Mattia
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Amanda and Michelangelo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Carmela and Paolo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Evelyn and Fabio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Margarita and Andrea
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Viki and Que
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Athena and André
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Rosa and Rocco
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Hayley and Mike
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Philippa and Nick
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Camie and Marco
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Alannah and Eros
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LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jade and Daniele
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Chloe and Andrea
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