Books

3 Books That Will Inspire Travel to Italy


 I have never been to Italy,

but most of those who have spent time within her borders seem to have developed quite the love affair. “She is a bewitching mistress full of electric charm, beauty, culture and irrepressible warmth,” writes Toronto author Terence Wallis in his introduction to his coffee table book Una Storia d’amore! Here are 3 books that will inspire you to travel to Italy and, like so many others, embrace its culture, food, and people.

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Saving Rome is a collection of nine stories featuring women who call Rome, Italy, home.

Saving Rome

Saving Rome ($18.95, Second Story Press) by Rome-based writer and correspondent Megan K. Williams is a collection of short stories about nine ex-pat women who call Italy’s capital home.

And there is honesty, brutal honesty in her stories that capture what life is like people who live there from the fact Romans feel no shame about letting their pet’s dog poop “broil in the sun for the rest of us to inhale and step around”, to the frustration about driving in the city and its corruption.

“Rome. The Eternal Hurdle. The hurdle that dares not be named. The hurdle she’d dared name a little too frequently. Often alongside words such as backwards, corrupt, chaotic, noisy, shit-ridden and the-land-that-time forgot.”

But the good outweighs the bad, particularly when you can eat a plateful of shortbread cookies for breakfast, eat a variety of bread baked in wood-burning ovens rather than those “soulless white loaves” others eat and ice cream, lots of ice cream.

“What really caught my eye, though, was the way they ate ice cream – cones piled high with chocolate, pistachio and hazelnut under a cloud of whipped cream. I couldn’t detect a flash of guilt or greed.”

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Una Storia d’amore! coffee table book is filled with beautiful photographs by Toronto’s Terence Wallis.

Una Storia d’amore!

Una Storia d’amore! by Terence Wallis showcases the author and photographer’s 32-year love-affair with Italy.

“There’s just something about Italy that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s la dolce vita (the sweet life) mentality that permeates almost every aspect of Italian life. All I know is that when I step off the plane and take my first breath it feels like I have come home.”

The book showcases eight regions of Italy including Lombardy, Lazio, and Campania, among others. Each chapter starts with some information about the region, sometimes offering you tips to where to travel. The rest of the chapter is filled with glorious pictures from landscape and streetscape to food and architecture from Frascati, the papal summer residence to a Roman amphitheater at Verona, Veneto, which dates to the first century AD and is still used for entertainment, “although a lot less gory.”

From beautiful piazzas to a town without people during siesta and views of the ocean and canals, the photos make me sign with happiness and leave me longing to go to Italy.

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Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes is, apparently, as good as the book.

Under the Tuscan Sun

In Terence Wallis’ introduction to Tuscany, he writes he has watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun so many times he has lost count. I borrowed a copy of Under the Tuscan Sun from my local library and it looks like it has been read and re-read by countless readers.

I can see why. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes is a beautiful read right from the time you carefully open its pages.

“In 1990, our first summer here, I bought an oversized blank book with Florentine paper covers and blue leather bindings. On the first page I wrote ITALY….I began with lists of wildflowers, lists of projects, new words, sketches of tile in Pompeii….Today it is stuffed with menus postcards of paintings, a drawing of a floor plan of an abbey, Italian poems and diagrams of the garden.”

Mayers writes she hopes her readers will learn “to mound flour on the thick marble counter and work in the egg, a friend who wakes to the four calls of the cuckoo in the linden and walks down the terrace paths singing the grapes; who picks jars of plums, drives with me to hill towns of round towers and spilling geraniums, who wants to see the olives the first day they are olives.”

She suggests grilling slabs of bread and oil, eating eels fried in garlic and sage and pouring a glass of young Chianti and just talk because they have time.

I am in. How about you? Does Italy call you? What place would you like to visit? Share your Italy travel dreams in the comments below! 

A copy of these books was provided by Terence Wallis and Second Story Press for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

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The Churches of Venezia
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London Calling!
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Traveling on a Whim and Without Direction
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