Kacie Rose Burns walked into the Florence jazz bar, alone.
“I’ll go for one music and suss it out,” she thought, attempting to quieten her nerves.
Kacie slipped in on the again. The membership was darkish and busy, a number of wall lights and neon indicators illuminating individuals ingesting, dancing and chatting. Earlier than she might even take within the musicians on stage, Kacie’s eyes landed on a tall man sitting on the bar.
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“I walked in and he was there,” Kacie advised CNN journey. “We locked eyes.”
“Ciao,” mentioned the stranger, smiling.
“Ciao,” Kacie mentioned again, earlier than including apologetically: “That’s all of the Italian I’ve received for you.”
It was October 2018. Kacie was a 24-year-old New Yorker on trip in Florence. It was her first time in Italy and her first time touring solo. It was an thrilling — and terrifying — expertise.
“I used to be an expert dancer in New York,” Kacie explains. “A really exhausting profession — there’s lots of toxicity, lots of rejection, there’s lots of politics that come into play — and I used to be feeling a bit of caught, a bit of sad, a bit of, simply, stagnant, if you’ll.”
Kacie spent her days auditioning, travelling for gigs and moonlighting at a clothes retailer. She wanted a break, and she or he’d lengthy felt a “pull” to Italy and dreamed of an Italian trip.
“I stored saying, ‘I’ll anticipate anyone to go along with, I’ll wait, I’ll wait’. After which I used to be ready for years. And so then one evening — at two within the morning — I used to be like, ‘What am I ready for? Life is simply too quick.’ So I booked a solo journey to Italy.”
Kacie deliberate to spend the vast majority of her time in Rome and Venice, and simply a few days in Florence. However within the lead-up to the journey, she was chatting to a buyer on the retailer she labored at. This lady had lived in Florence for 5 years and persuaded Kacie so as to add an additional day to her Florence keep.
And that’s how Kacie and the Italian stranger occurred to be within the jazz membership on the identical night.
“I’m actually glad I listened to her,” Kacie says. “That’s the one purpose we met on the primary evening that I used to be in Florence, on that earlier day that I wasn’t initially speculated to be there.”
A Florence assembly
The person Kacie crossed paths with within the jazz bar was 26-year-old Dario Nencetti, a chef in a Florence lodge who normally labored nights. It simply so occurred that was the one night he had off that week.
The jazz bar, known as Jazz Membership Firenze, was one in all Dario’s favourite hangouts. He liked the music, the underground atmosphere and the actual fact the bar inspired punters to enroll in jam classes.
“That place is, let’s say, unconventional for Florence,” Dario tells CNN Journey. “Normally in Florence, there’s like a desk for 2 or three or 4 individuals. Within the jazz membership, there are huge tables, so you’ll be able to sit with strangers and stuff, which I really like.”
When Dario realised Kacie didn’t know a lot Italian past “ciao,” they switched to English. Dario advised Kacie he’d lived in Scotland for a yr, they usually received speaking about journey. Kacie talked about she was on her first solo journey and Dario mentioned he’d launched into the same journey to Japan earlier that yr.
“We bonded from the start,” says Dario. “It was actually pure, very easy dialog.”
“I keep in mind he made me chortle,” says Kacie. “And I used to be like, ‘Oh, this man’s attention-grabbing’. So many individuals ask us, ‘How do you know?’ And I don’t understand how I knew. I used to be similar to, ‘Oh, that is one thing completely different’.”
Kacie and Dario stayed on the jazz bar speaking into the early hours of the morning. Then they spent as a lot time as attainable collectively over the subsequent two days.
“He would meet me after his work — each evening he received off at 11pm. And we’d exit and we’d simply speak,” recollects Kacie. “I immediately fell in love with Florence. It’s a really romantic metropolis — cobblestone streets and medieval buildings. It appears like a portray in every single place you look.”
It was a whirlwind two days. One night they sat by Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge and talked till 3am or 4am. It was as if Kacie was in a movie — someplace between each millennial’s favorite The Lizzie McGuire Film and the traditional Florentine romance, A Room With A View.
Then, the 2 days have been up and Kacie needed to proceed onto the subsequent leg of her journey. It was nonetheless like one thing from a film — and though it wasn’t apparent on the time, it was one with a contented ending.
“I received on the practice and he was standing on the platform. And I keep in mind looking of the practice and I used to be so unhappy,” she says.
Because the practice pulled away from the station, Kacie wiped away tears and messaged her finest buddy again dwelling in New York.
“I simply met my future husband in Florence,” she wrote. “That’s the man I’m gonna marry. I’m by no means gonna see him once more.”
Her buddy tried to cheer her up.
“You’re going to Rome,” she wrote. “You’ll meet a gladiator!”
However Kacie knew what she had with Dario wasn’t replaceable.
“We by no means stopped speaking. We FaceTimed each single day,” she says.
This continued when Kacie was again within the US. And earlier than lengthy, Dario was planning a visit to go to New York.
A New York minute
On December 8, 2018, Dario arrived within the US. Kacie spent per week introducing Dario to her life in New York.
“It was actually cool to see it by means of his eyes,” she says.
“She confirmed me the true metropolis,” says Dario.
Then the couple flew to Miami for per week’s trip.
For Kacie and Dario, there was by no means a particular second after they determined to embark on a relationship.
“It was by no means a call to be made,” says Kacie.
“It simply went with out saying,” agrees Dario. “However I can’t cover it, lengthy distance was onerous.”
The 2 struggled with time zones and their busy jobs that left them with little downtime, however tried to go to one another every time they may.
Reduce to September 2019. Dario was again in New York visiting Kacie.
“Why don’t I transfer right here?” he steered. He’d liked the vibrancy of the town from the get-go and will see himself there. The restaurant scene was unimaginable. If he might discover a job and organise the visa, it appeared like the best situation.
Kacie thought so too, so Dario began asking round. He was finally employed as a chef at an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. After a few months in limbo, his visa was permitted.
“Up till that time, each time that we needed to say goodbye it was borderline traumatic — we had spent this week collectively, and we knew that this was it for one another,” says Kacie. “Saying goodbye in airports sucked. It could take, like, per week to get well.”
However now the airport goodbyes have been consigned to the previous.
“It was actually thrilling,” says Dario.
Transferring ahead collectively
Kacie and Dario spent three months in New York collectively, giddy with happiness to be in the identical nation and the identical metropolis.
Then the pandemic hit. New York Metropolis’s performing arts and restaurant industries floor to a halt. Caught at dwelling, Kacie and Dario discovered solace and assist in each other.
As Kacie places it, she and Dario discovered “many silver linings” on this robust time. Dario taught Kacie the best way to make pasta. They cat-sat. They spent lengthy evenings chatting.
However as 2020 rolled on, the couple have been conscious there was a deadline hanging over them. Dario’s visa was set to expire in December and, within the wake of the pandemic, renewal was out of the query.
For Kacie and Dario, it appeared like there have been solely three viable decisions: return to lengthy distance, get married or transfer to Italy.
Going again to lengthy distance would imply the return of these airport goodbyes, the very last thing both of them needed. And whereas Kacie and Dario thought marriage was of their future, they didn’t really feel it was proper for them at that time. That left transferring to Italy.
Kacie considered her profession in New York. Performing was off the desk and there was no return date in sight. And whereas her mates have been often posting on social media about how a lot they missed dancing, Kacie solely felt “reduction” that her days have been now not outlined by auditioning and uncertainty.
“That was a reasonably large wake-up name,” she says. “I had gotten to a degree the place I wanted to take a bit of step again from performing.”
On high of this, Kacie’s New York house lease was up. If there was ever a time to relocate to Italy, it was now.
“Every part type of fell into place,” she says.
Kacie researched on-line and located a language academy in Florence providing research visas. She utilized, enrolling in Italian classes. Then, Kacie and Dario packed up their life in New York and received prepared to maneuver throughout the Atlantic.
Earlier than stepping on the airplane in January 2021, Kacie posted a video to TikTok about assembly Dario and the transfer to Italy. She’d by no means posted a lot on the platform earlier than, however felt impressed to mark this important life step.
When she stepped off the airplane and related to Wi-Fi, her cellphone was blowing up.
“It went viral,” says Kacie.
Whereas caught inside throughout necessary two-week quarantine, Kacie continued posting TikTok movies. Her following continued to develop.
Whereas her social media presence was getting greater, for the primary few months in Florence, Kacie and Dario’s IRL world remained small. Italy was nonetheless within the thrall of COVID, with strict restrictions.
However as Kacie studied for her Italian classes and taught English on-line and Dario regarded for restaurant work, Florence began to slowly reopen.
“I keep in mind the primary time going to the Duomo. And there was no person there,” says Kacie. “Which is loopy, as a result of it’s like the primary focus level of Florence. And there’s no person within the piazza and I keep in mind how weird that was.”
Whereas that second was surreal — even unhappy — Kacie and Dario nonetheless felt grateful to be on the Florentine landmark collectively. They’d come a great distance, they usually have been excited for his or her new life collectively in Italy.
Acclimatising to Italian life was made simpler for Kacie by Dario’s household, who welcomed her wholeheartedly — even when, within the early days, Kacie struggled with Italian and Dario’s mom didn’t know a lot English.
The 2 girls made communication work through the use of Google Translate on their cell telephones.
“They bonded instantly,” says Dario.
Kacie continued to put up on social media, and her following ballooned. After about six months, she stopped instructing English on-line and determined to do social media full-time.
Dario inspired this step.
“I feel it was a extremely good concept diving into it,” he says immediately. “It was the appropriate second, the appropriate time, and I believed in her from the primary second.”
A life collectively in Italy
Virtually 4 years later, Kacie’s expanded her social media presence right into a journey firm, operating group excursions round Italy and publishing her personal journey guides. In the meantime, Dario continues to be captivated with cooking and now works as a fantastic eating chef at a Florence restaurant.
“I actually love the life we’ve created right here,” says Kacie. “We reside in a stupendous place with nice meals and he’s received so many superior issues going for him and similar with me.”
The couple encourage one another of their respective careers and endeavours, however additionally they savour their downtime. They love residing in Florence and exploring Italy collectively.
Dario and Kacie are settled in Florence for now, though they don’t rule out a transfer elsewhere sooner or later.
“We’re having fun with the second,” says Dario.
“The strong factor is the truth that we all know we’re in it collectively. And that’s what makes it so nice,” says Kacie.
She tells Dario: “I’m not nervous for what the longer term holds. As a result of I’ve received you.”
Wanting again, Kacie finds it serendipitous and surreal to assume her spontaneous determination to journey solo in Italy led her to discover a new profession, a brand new dwelling and the love of her life.
“There have been so many issues that needed to occur for it to truly occur, however it simply felt regular and pure — like after all that is proper and this was speculated to occur,” she says.
“You by no means actually know what life has deliberate for you. There’s so many good issues ready. You simply must belief it,” provides Kacie. “Belief within the course of. And the trail that’s meant for you’ll occur, even when it’s not the trail that you simply meant to take for your self.”
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