DESIGNER CREDITS: ARAVIND AZHAGAPPA
Creator & Founder | Amore Italiano by Valentina
Founder | Lotus Club Italy
Project Manager | Miss Sri Lanka Italy
Sri Lankan Tours Coordinator
Travel & Food Blogger | colombobyvalentina.com
Born and brought up in Italy for 28 years, Valentina Gonsal, founder of Amore Italiano and Lotus Club Italy, currently lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Amore Italiano is a popular Italian, cooking class and catering company in Colombo, and Lotus Club Italy is an association of young Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and professionals.
Coffee With Stayzilla: A Conversation With Valentina Gonsal
1. You are an inspiration for many young women. What inspired you to host Miss Sri Lanka Italy?
In 2013, I found the Lotus Club, a club of young entrepreneurs and professionals from the second generation of Sri Lankans in Italy. I wanted to create a network between all the youth who are between the two cultures and sometimes they tend to forget their country of origin. I had a vision, to show the true values of our motherland to all the Italians not only through the touristic beauty but also bringing the contemporary Sri Lanka with fashion, music, art and cinema. Miss Sri Lanka Italy was the perfect bridge to create a wonderful network for all our inspirations and goals. Bring Sri Lanka to an international platform and give all the young woman the opportunity to be themselves and represent both their countries. My mother is a strong and charismatic lady behind the woman I am today, she has fought for her freedom and went to Italy to become the lady that she always wanted to be.
2. You had spent some time in India. Tell us about your experience.
I had visited India twice, by myself, because I wanted to experience the country and connect with the local people on a deeper level. I travelled the North by trains and by buses; saw breathtaking landscapes, encountered warm people and experienced great hospitality. I still remember how free I felt while I was travelling from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. The last time I visited India, my good friends hosted me and that was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I think it’s really important to understand and respect other cultures because it allows us to feel safe and responsible while we travel alone.
3. Italy or Sri Lanka? Which country would you choose and why?
Both countries are equally important to me. In Italy, I lived in a wonderful small town called Passo Corese, surrounded by olive trees, mountains, fresh fruits and vegetables; a quite life. In Sri Lanka, I live in Colombo, a modern city that offers so many opportunities and in Hikkaduwa, a marvelous town with tropical, golden beaches, palms and breathtaking sunsets. My home is where my family is and at the moment it’s Sri Lanka, so here I have found my freedom.
4. Which one would you choose and why?
Tree house | Jungle house | Boat house | Hill top house | Beach house | Tent | Skyscraper
Definitely a hill-top house; for the view, the quietness, the fresh air and somehow when I think about a hill-top house, I think about a wonderful garden full of flowers and watching the sunset with a cup of tea from the veranda (she smiles).
5. What’s your most memorable holiday stay experience other than a hotel?
I have always been very lucky because I have many friends around the world, and when I travel, I try to visit them and spend time with them and their families. There is one place that I truly love, and it’s my grandparents’ house in Paris. I have been visiting them each and every year since I was 15, and there is nothing better than eating the delicious French Raclette with the family on a rainy day (smiles).