Kacie Burns is an American actor and dancer from Canton, Michigan, who has been documenting her daily adventures in Italy. She moved to Florence, the birth city of Renaissance, which resembles a museum under the sky, after falling in love with her boyfriend Dario on her first solo trip two years ago. Their love blossomed and Kacie is now a proud Florentine, appreciating all the new cultural quirks that come at her.
Kacie is now busy making a series of fun and lighthearted cultural shock videos on her TikTok with each going viral and amassing her a whopping 9.6M likes in total. So let’s see what cultural differences she has spotted between America and Italy below that put living in these two countries in a whole different perspective.
Also, if you’re an American living the Italian dream, be sure to share your experience and hit us in the comment section below!
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Bored Panda reached out to Kacie Burns, an American actress, dancer, and singer currently living in Florence, Italy who went viral for her fun and lighthearted TikTok videos on cultural quirks of the birthplace of Renaissance. Kacie grew up in Canton, Michigan and moved to NYC when she was 17 for college. In 2018, she decided to take a solo trip to Italy, where she fell in love with the food, the culture, and a boy.
“We were long distance for a year, and then he came to live in NYC on a year-long visa,” Kacie said and added: “I was a professional dancer/actress in NYC, and when COVID shut down my industry, I decided to pursue other big dreams of mine, which were living abroad and traveling—so Dario and I made the move to Italy in January 2021!”
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“I love that now I get to share travel tips, life in Italy, and all the fun and interesting things I learn as an American living here with so many people,” she told us.
When asked about whether she has grown accustomed to the initial culture shocks she experienced after moving to Florence, Kacie said that “other than the 'no-tipping' thing (it still feels very weird to not leave a tip!) I'd say for the most part I've gotten used to them—but I also find new things out everyday that shock me all over again.”
The social media star and actress assured us that “At the end of the day, though, I love them. Culture differences are so cool and so interesting to learn.”
But there are numerous American things that Kacie really misses. “I love Italian coffee but sometimes I miss walking around and sipping a large to-go American coffee. I used Apple Pay all the time in NYC, but here Apple Pay isn't a thing! 'One-stop shops' like Target and Walmart don't exist here, so I had to adjust to going to multiple stores to get the things I needed.”
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“Like a true American, I put ranch dressing on everything, and you can't find ranch here (But actually one of my amazing followers sent me an entire box of it! So sweet). And Cheetos... I miss Cheetos so much,” Kacie said.
When asked about the American expat community in Florence, Kacie said that it’s indeed “a great little community here of American expats, which definitely helped make the transition living away from home easier.”
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It’s no secret that Florence is a cultural playground for the international rich and has been since the 17th and 18th centuries when it was a highlight on the European Grand Tour. Today, the city that’s often called an open-air museum under the sky is loved by international expats, especially fellow Americans.
According to Celeste Oliphant, a luxury property consultant, “Florence has everything that the foreigner wants from Italy: art, culture, food, and the beautiful countryside of Tuscany on its doorstep.” Plus, she says it’s “less intimidating than southern Italy: it’s clean and there is less chaos.”
Many Americans come to the idyllic city to study and there are more English-speaking education institutions that you could imagine. But due to the covid pandemic, the future of the American students is now unclear as many left and flew back to their home countries for quarantine, where they completed their courses online. The question is whether they will ever return to Florence for studies.
It turns out that the sizable population of American students in the Florence and Tuscany area has a much bigger impact on the region's economy than you could think. According to Fabrizio Ricciardelli, a secretary-treasurer of the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI), “An average of 15,000 students are hosted by North American and Australian study abroad programs in the Florence and Prato areas, creating an added value of 200 million euro in expenditures that benefit the region, along with 5,000 jobs.”
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Try combining losing this all value and putting tourism on hold due to the pandemic, causing economic uncertainties far greater than the region could afford. After all, the number of tourist overnight stays in the city of Florence has been growing over the last years, from 12.2 million in 2012 to roughly 15.8 million in 2019. But according to the recent data, tourist arrivals, including both international and domestic tourists, decreased by roughly 71.5 percent in this city in 2020.