MAKING new friends was easy for the Dabizzi family, who moved from Tuscany to Killarney in 2008.
Marco, with his wife Antonella and daughter Greta, were looking for a change from life in Italy.
After spending three months in Australia on an extended holiday, they fell in love with Warrnambool and its surrounds.
“Warrnambool, I think, is a very great town,” Mr Dabizzi said.
“It offers you country lifestyle but with all the services and shops, restaurants, supermarkets.”
The family now runs their specialist café Slitti, on Bank Street in Port Fairy, offering the best hand-made chocolate and roasted coffee from their homeland.
Mr Dabizzi said starting the cafe was initially a way to get to know the local people.
“We were expecting just to have a nice little café to give us the opportunity to interact with the community, to learn the language,” Mr Dabizzi said.
“Then we discovered we were more lucky than expected, because Australians love coffee the Italian way, not the American way.”
Mr Dabizzi said his concerns about “fitting in” with the community soon proved unnecessary.
“One of the things that I find here is that it seems very easy to meet new people and have new friends,” he said.
“We were very worried, because when you decide to move, not just to another country but even another town, one of my worries was social life.
“You can live in the best country in the world but if you don’t have a good social life you are not happy.
“It was actually very easy, much easier than expected to meet very interesting people.”
Mr Dabizzi said living in Australia offered the best lifestyle in the world.
“I think Australia is 20 years behind Europe in a positive way, not a negative way.
“There is still a feel of sense of community, something that I think we lost in Tuscany.
“People are still willing to help.
“I can see at the school of my daughter — they organise working bees, they pull weeds, or help to build a sandpit.
“It feels safer, it seems much cleaner — the air.”
Outside of running the business, the Dabizzi family enjoys the beach, spending time with friends and cooking.
. Read more stories about why people love living in the south-west by picking up a copy of The Standard’s Live Work Invest magazine, available from local council offices.