From London to Puglia: a love letter for restarting from the pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has been and still is a very big shock to the entire world.

Thousands of people have been struggling between life and death and sadly many innocents have lost their battle.

Too many families are facing an unprecedented economic, social and psychological crisis, workers are finding themselves on the dole or homeless, even brutal riots are starting in the United States and United Kingdom.

However, as Churchill said, even in the darkest hour we shall fight and defend our values whatever the cost will be, we shall never surrender!

And thus, despite going through such a hardship, I am revealing a little secret that made me overjoyed, which I want to share with you and with all Hermione Homes’ followers: because of my humble contribution to the Italian and English community and the history that binds me and my family to the Apulian tradition and territory, the International Association of the Apulians in the World has nominated me their Honorary Member since last 29 April.

All my life spent packing suitcases and venturing around the world, but I’ve always been so proud of my Apulian origins, that today finding this unexpected recognition I’m really grateful!

The following is a short video of encouragement during the lockdown, which I addressed from the "small" island to my Locorotondesi friends (citizens of Locorotondo, a little and very cute town in Puglia, voted one of the 100 most beautiful “borghi” of Italy), but I wish to meet them in person once the emergency has passed.

I have always liked human contact, I have always loved community work especially to help those most vulnerable and less fortunate. For several years my family and I have supported Volunteers Foundation the Kenyan mission providing schooling programs to the children of Kibera in the Nairobi slums. Even during the lockdown which limited the movements of all of us, I tried what I could to reach others. During the pandemic I discovered the local Covid-19 support group very active in helping people from the delivery of food and medicines to the housebound to collecting people donations of essential goods for the NHS workers and the food bank. There were so many heroes in this group and was such an amazing discovery that you could feel even close to others in total isolation.

Anna Quaranta graphics interview

Two Italian newspapers reported my lockdown stories: La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno and Paese Vivrai. The latter also wanted to publish a full interview and sponsored a wonderful initiative called “I stay home”, where Apulians from every corner of the world were sending these special greetings to the distant community of their birthplace.

In fact, Antonella Girolamo and Valerio Convertini both contributors to the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno and Paese Vivrai asked me to give my perspective from London about the difficulties we faced in the City, the initial undervaluation by the Johnson’s Administration about the COVID-19 dangers, the following restrictions it had imposed, the aids it had implemented and the extraordinary response by the British people.

Further to that, together with Antonella Girolamo of Paese Vivrai, we went into my personal life, going through a detailed account of my family history. A history that clearly explains why I am still so proud of my Apulians ties!

If you want to discover more, here there’s the full translation of the interview to Paese Vivrai.

Thank you for your attention and… have a good reading!

Anna Quaranta, an account from England


By Antonella Girolamo

Anna Quaranta is a Locorotondese entrepreneur who lives in London. She reveals herself wholeheartedly and, in spite of her studies related to the cold Economy, she allows human warm and values conquer more and more her days. She tells her story by uncovering precious cut-outs from her family tree, stories of travels and experiences around the world and with a watchful eye on her daily life as a woman who knows how to be a mother, companion, entrepreneur, missionary.

Anna, how are you experiencing these months of physical slowdown and social distancing?

Oddly with great calm. I have channelled all my physical, emotional and intellectual energies into the human expression. Solidarity has allowed me to survive the great void left by the recent loss of my father, followed by the tragedy of the COVID-19 crisis and the exhausting lockdown that has forced us at home in the United Kingdom since last 23 March, just two weeks after Italy. My strength comes from responsibility I feel towards my children who, in their adolescence, are in a historical situation without precedents.

How and why, several years ago, did you choose London for your professional exploit?

It was not an actual plan. Probably the unfavourable socio-economic climate of Italy didn’t give me choice. The most serious problem of Italy is the flight of young people, for subsistence reasons. Half a million in the last year. In 1993 in Milan, while I was completing my final dissertation on project financing between the state and private sector, I worked at a SIM, the newly instituted type of brokerage agency in the Italian stock market. My salary was just enough to pay the rent of the flat I shared with two other graduate colleagues. I decided to expatriate, I was studying for the Chartered Accountant exam in Italy while also doing my admission test for the master degree for the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS). For my Master studies I ended up in France at the Hautes Ecoles des Etudes Economiques near Paris. With a specialisation in Business and International Financial Markets, I finally landed in the City of London, thanks to my internship with the London branch of Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) in Gresham Street. I have lived in London for twenty years with some years spent between Brussels and Singapore.

From financial sector expert in the City to manager of a real estate company. What pushed you towards this choice and what do you particularly like about this new adventure created four years ago?

I have always loved the economy and business management, so the entrepreneurial adventure had a great attraction on me and as a "fresher" entrepreneur I alternate sessions at the Cass Business School with The Insight Lab, a small laboratory for assistance to small businesses, with web meetings with landlords, tenants, suppliers, or conferences on investments because the financia