TRENTO \ aise \ – Trentino and with a degree in communication science in Siena, Simon Donini decides to move to Stockholm to become an interior and architecture photographer. He is given space by “Mondo Trentino”, the portal of the emigration office in the autonomous province of Trento, dedicated to other compatriots abroad.
Below is the full text of the interview.
“D. Who are you and where do you come from?
R. My name is Simon Donini and I am from Trento (although I was actually born in San Candido, but immediately after the birth we moved to the city of Trento).
D. What studies have you done and what education?
R. I received a technical high school from Buonarroti in Trento, a three-year course in communication science in Siena and a two-year course in graphic design and typography in Milan.
D. Where do you live now and what do you do?
R. I have now lived in Stockholm for 12 years and am a freelance photographer of interior and architecture.
D. Where did you start working? And why did you decide to leave Trentino and Italy?
R. The first “real” job after university and the course I did at a photo studio in Milan, working primarily with the fashion weeks. I traveled from Trentino primarily to study, but also to get more job opportunities. Trying to work as a graphic designer / photographer (I was a little unsure at first), in Milan there were obviously many more options. After only a year of VAT, I decided to give up everything and start over somewhere else ..
D. It was not easy to move to Sweden, get money, but a great desire to start over …?
R. In fact, it was easy to get going. I left with a backpack, no expectations, a room rented for three months and 2 thousand euros in my pocket. At first I thought about staying in Stockholm for a summer or a few months, just to see what Swedish life was like. Only since the summer of 2010 have I never returned.
D. What good have you found now in the place where you are, and what not?
R. The good thing is that everything is much more organized and simple. Stockholm, even though it is a capital city, is quiet and not noisy at all. The means of transport work really well, also at night (night buses during the week and metro all night Friday and Saturday). Everything is planned to make life easier for everyone (unlike Italy, where almost everything in practice becomes a problem).
The downside could be that the Swedes are not quite so sociable and spontaneous, everything has to be planned a few weeks in advance … also dinners with friends. In Stockholm city, for example, you have to plan and order, even when you have to wash clothes (each building shares one).
Another thing that is not very popular among immigrants in Sweden is winter. To give an idea, on the shortest day of the year, the sun rises at. 8.45 and goes down just before kl. 15. Until about ten years ago it also snowed a lot, now unfortunately it rarely happens and the winter temperatures are less stiff (in many cities in Trentino it is much colder than in Stockholm).
D. Do you want to explain how it also works at the administrative level to have a VAT number in Sweden, what are the differences from Italy?
R. It is very simple to open the Swedish VAT number. Just fill out the online form and it’s done (and it’s free). I reopened it in 2014, there were already online services that acted as accountant in exchange for a small percentage. Now I have been working full time freelance for over a year.
Unlike Italy, the Swedish game is only one. There is no subsidized VAT, lump sum and so on. And if one does not earn much, he pays less tax at the time of the final statement. And everything is obviously online, even the Swedish post office has halved the days of distributing letters, because now everything is sent by mail.
D. How are you in Stockholm from a social point of view, do you have many friends?
R. Before covid, I had a group that we had dinner with from time to time, but unfortunately they lost touch with the pandemic. In general, it is easier to make friends with other immigrants, the only drawback is that most of them are only temporarily in Stockholm. With the Swedes, it is a little harder to integrate, but I would also say that as a 40-year-old you do not make friends as you did when you were 20. And truth be told, even when I lived in Milan, I could count with “Milanese” friendships on one side.
D. Do you have any special hobbies or passions?
R. Fortunately, I work with what has been and still is my hobby. Then I have dozens of different interests, but they come and go: cooking, gardening, books and podcasts, documentaries and so on.
D. Do you like what you do? Do you have other plans for your future?
R. Yes, I really like it! Now I try to work more with real architecture and interior projects (so far I have mainly worked with the apartments for sale, I have photographed almost 2000) and to resume with a few personal projects that I had interrupted due to the pandemic. And then I would very much like to start working also in Italy and especially in Trentino.
D. Do you want to leave a message for all the people of Trentino and for the MondoTrentino community?
R. I recommend everyone to go on a solo trip, whether it is for a few days or a few years. In the worst case, we go home more willingly! ‘ (aise)