Xpat Interview: Alessandro Farina, Owner, ITL Group Kft.

  • 6 Oct 2005 12:00 PM
Xpat Interview: Alessandro Farina, Owner, ITL Group Kft.
Alessandro Farina arrived in Budapest in 1992 expecting to stay for one year. Now thirteen years and two businesses later, he finds himself a Budapest mainstay. Through his consulting firm, ITL Group, Alessandro guides and advises Italian investors and businessmen looking to establish themselves in Hungary.

In 1997, Alessandro was able to turn his passionate interest in fashion into a career when he partnered in Nervesa, a men’s clothing store. This year, the decision was made to renovate the store and to expand the lines.

The newly opened Alessandro & Company, located at Lánchid Utca 5 near Clark Adam Tér, is a full service gentlemen‘s clothier which features classic Italian designs. Both the shop, with a magnificent view of the Chain Bridge, and the merchandise, reflect Alessandro’s philosophy that luxury and comfort are inseparable qualities.

When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I arrived in 1992. I came to Budapest just after finishing University expecting to stay just one year to fulfill my obligations in a junior position for an English consulting firm. I had so much fun, both personally and professionally, that I decided to stay a second year, which soon became a third year… I am still here. I was surprised to find myself captured by the atmosphere of this changing city and the constant business challenges and opportunities it presented.

Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

What do you hope to accomplish, personally or career-wise, during your stay in Hungary?
It is difficult to tell. Every few years, if you look back, you can decide if you have achieved what you thought your goal was. But, as you diversify your business interests, the goals are constantly shifting. The bottom line is that I hope to have achieved a high level of visibility for my various business ventures. And to be a happy man.

What surprised you most about Hungary?
The ability of people to develop and change in only the past 15 years. I remember how people were dressed, how they were thinking, and how they were living in 1992. The change is fantastic.

Friends are in Budapest for a weekend--what must they absolutely see and do?
In my opinion they have to make one trip through the usual places: Hero’s Square, Vaci Utca, the Castle District. They should definitely have dinner in Gundel, which remains a fascinating experience because of it’s environment. The flea market is good fun, especially for those with an interest in antiques.

It is nice to go to Szentendre for lunch. If there is still time they might choose between a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts at Hero’s Square, or Hungarian National Gallery at the Royal Palace. And, one last stop at the Central Market. These are the things that are definite must see’s for a first visit. Not to mention Budapest by night. It is magical to cross the Chain Bridge when the lights are on.

What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Meat dishes in general. I also especially love goose liver with a good glass of Tokaj.

What food from home do you miss the most?
Every time I come back from Italy, I bring Italian proscutto, salami, and a variety of cheeses.

What is never missing from your kitchen?
Obviously pasta and all the possible sauces to make a good pasta. Also, logically, good wine.

What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I have always had a strong interest in architecture and interior design.

What’s a job you would definitely never want?
I could never be a farmer. I love the countryside and I enjoy hard work, but I have so many allergies that I would go mad doing such work.

Where did you spend your last vacation and where do you hope to spend your next one?
I spent my last vacation in Ireland, fishing and playing golf. My next one should be in Cyprus, again for golf.

What was your favourite hobby as a teen. What defined who you were during your teen years?
I was always happy when I was fishing and building model airplanes. I enjoyed quiet hobbies. Still, in my private life, I enjoy quiet and relaxation.

What can’t you resist?
Women, food and golf.

Red wine or white?

Decaf or regular?
Regular espresso.

Book or movie?

Morning person or night person?
Late morning.

Dog person or cat person?
100% dog.

Buda side or Pest side?
Buda for living, Pest for work.

What would you say is your personal motto?
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” Coco Chanel said this. It is the motto for our clothing store, and I feel it applies to all areas of life.

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