We’re so happy to have you here! We’re Mario & Sheila the Small Town Stranieri. Stranieri is Italian for foreigners. We are both from small towns, and small-town people at heart. We love the charm of small-town life and the simplicity of small-town values. And we are blessed to divide life between two truly charming small Italian towns.
I (Sheila) am the author and maker of this blog, and technically not a foreigner, as I hold dual citizenship. I also feel that odd combination that many expats experience, of being a foreigner who feels perfectly at home in the adopted homeland. I was born and raised just outside a small town in the center of Michigan’s mitt.
I’m married to Super Mario, as his preschool kiddies call him. (He’s an ESL teacher.) He was born in a mountain village of southern Italy and raised in the Bronx by non English-speaking parents. He, on the other hand, has only Italian citizenship. We returned to Italy because of the burden he had for his people. And because his heart never really left his homeland.
We have 2 wonderful adult children, home-schooled in Italy. And 9 special grandchildren (ages 4-19). All of whom now (sadly) live in the USA.
Our years here
Along our long and varied path of shoestring-budget missionary living since 1989, we’ve moved over 50 times. And lived in everything from tarantula-infested campers (shudder) to a tent. And even in an old chicken coop, so cozy the chickens kept returning! We’ve gone without, been abundantly blessed, and learned countless lessons along the way. You can learn more about our missionary work at Mission Italia.
We count it a blessing to live in this beautiful land, a privilege to serve these wonderful people, and your visit here as an honor and joy! And we hope you’ll take a moment to introduce yourself!
But most of all we hope you’ll leave here feeling a bit closer to us and will share our burden for the work here in Italy.