Strictly's Flavia Cacace reveals her home truths
PUBLISHED: 18:54 08 December 2010 | UPDATED: 11:27 27 November 2014
Strictly Come Dancing star Flavia Cacace has lived in Guildford since the age of four. Here, we find out what it is that makes her proud to call the county home and what she'd like to change
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2009
What was it that brought you to Surrey?
I have lived here since I was four. We came with my father from Italy who moved here to work as an Italian chef. Guildford is my home; I am very happy here and intend to stay.
We may be a small county, but we punch well above our weight - with Michelin-starred restaurants, great places to visit and our amazing countryside. What's your favourite thing about the area?
We have many very beautiful footpaths and walks. My favourite walk is through the bluebells at Halfpenny Copse in The Chantries, near Guildford. The carpet of blue is just amazing. Dancing takes up so much time, though, there is rarely time to enjoy them, unfortunately!
Is there anything you don't like?
It is getting more and more built up and too crowded. The road system does not cope and parking gets worse every year.
It's Sunday morning and you've got the rest of the day free - how would you choose to spend it?
I never have a Sunday free unless I am away on holiday. Every weekend, my dance partner Vincent and I tend to perform a cabaret of our show dances to audiences across the country. We also take part in charity events, where as well as auctioning off our memorabilia we often invite people to bid for the chance to dance with us. I also enjoy compring these shows. However, once we start training for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, it looks like Vincent and I are fully booked to the end of 2010!
If you were heading out for a pub lunch, where would you choose to go and why?
I recently had lunch at the Percy Arms in Chilworth. The food is good and the garden is a lovely place to end a walk through the Surrey Hills.
It's your partner's birthday coming up. Where will you take him for dinner?
I love Italian food and one of the restaurants I often go to is Bar Centro in Guildford.
And your favourite place to sit down and read the paper with a coffee and a chocolate brownie?
Coffee and chocolate muffins, for me! I have just moved into my own flat, but it is so rare for me to be able to relax at home, it is the very best place to sit down for coffee and the paper.
You decide to go for a country walk... Where would you go?
As I mentioned before I love walking through the bluebells in Chilworth and the surrounding area. I don't really know too many places so I like to be given suggestions.
You're telling your friends about the county... How would you describe it?
I would say that although it has changed and developed over the years, it's still a place full of character and history.
Is there a hidden treasure in the county that you think we should all know about?
Definitely the castle gardens in Guildford. They are quiet, a good place to sit and there are always beautiful displays of flowers there.
What do you think is the biggest single issue facing the area today?
I do think that over-population will spoil the pleasures of living here. The main problem is the number of cars - driving is stressful nowadays and parking always an issue. It's a shame. The world is facing a population explosion. Global warming, oil shortages, landfill site problems, nowhere to park... they are all part of the same problem. The politicians are frightened to do anything about it, but it is good to see that Sir David Attenborough is now patron of an organisation that is trying to give the problem some attention.
Finally, if Surrey had a symbol, what do you think it should be and why?
Oh, it has to be a group of trees silhouetted on top of a rise. Surrey is supposed to have more trees than any other county so it has to be trees - or possibly a cottage in a field, in memory of how things were.
- Flavia Cacace and her dance partner Vincent Simone have released a new DVD, which teaches the couple's favourite dance, the Argentine tango. For more details on how to buy, visit www.vincentandflavia.com