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Tuscany - Things to read

Personal experiences of living in Italy

Tuscan Living: From the Yorkshire Moors to the Tuscan Hills - Sarah Frazer's (one of our previous clients) story of olive farming and holiday lets in Pescia. From the C4 series.

Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes. An American poet's view of Tuscany and property renovation. We each see what we want to see and Mayes sees a happy, but primitive, land of ancient olive trees under a scorching blue sky, populated with jolly, but backward, peasants who all want to be her friends.

Bella Tuscany - Frances Mayes. Sequel to the above although around 50% isn't about Tuscany. No-one seems to knows why it isn't called either Bella Toscana or Beautiful Tuscany. The Italian translation is called Beautiful Toscana. I believe Italians think it's supposed to be funny! Don't miss Amazon's review of this book!

A Small place in Italy - Eric Newby. English writer and wife renovate a north Tuscan farmhouse in the 1960's. If you like Newby's other work you'll like this one too. As a practical guide, it's a little dated but as it's the one that convinced us to buy a house in the area we have a soft spot for it.

A Valley in Italy - Lisa St Auban de Teran. Another English writer, this time restoring a ruined palazzo in Umbria. Again, if you like other work by this author (we do) you'll probably like this. An excellent read and while probably not hugely useful to anyone considering buying a house in Italy, neither is it so far divorced from reality as the works by Mayes.

The Hills of Tuscany - Ferenc Mate. New Yorker and beautiful wife renovate Tuscan castle. Like Mayes it's beautiful to read, but bears little relation to reality, at least while sober.

Extra Virgin - Annie Hawes - Learning to live in an Italian rural community.

Ripe for the Picking - Annie Hawes - The sequel to Extra Virgin.

Italian Neighbours - Tim Parks. How to negotiate with your neighbours and find the perfect local bar. Unmissable if you want to understand how small town Italy really works.

An Italian Education - Sequel to the above and also very highly recommended. Contains an excellent explanation of Italian beach life.

Reference

Italian language, life and culture - Derek Aust - In the 'Teach Yourself' series. Brief, readable, cheap and accurate guide to Italian life and culture

Blue Guide to Tuscany - The best for culture providing you are happy to read.

The Time Out guide to Florence and Tuscany - For shopping and entertainment.

Italian Course with Michael Thomas (CDs) - Teach yourself Italian with ease and grace!