Edit: I mentioned in my review that the author paid $1,000,000 for this abandoned villa because she said in the book that she wrote "milione" at the closing so many times. But Ms. Mayes sent me a tweet questioning where I got that price and that it was a fifth of that or $200,000. That was when I realized that I hadn't converted the milione that she mentioned from lire to dollars! It was her entire savings from her marriage that she put into this home. Plus they did a lot of the work themselves. Quite a difference with the conversion. So thank you, Ms. Mayes, for this clarification!
I’ve long been familiar with this book but until now had never had the chance to read it. The 20th Anniversary Edition is being released so I grabbed the chance to read it all these years later.
This memoir is beautifully written and pulls you right into the atmosphere that exclusively belongs to Italy. Though I’ve never visited Italy, I do enjoy reading about it and believe it’s a very unique place. Ms. Mayes and her husband had the privilege and daring to buy a run-down villa in Tuscany 20 years ago and she and her husband undertook the extensive renovation of it. I must say that it left me quite astonished to hear that they paid $1,000,000 for this villa, were still able to put so much money into the renovation and that this was only to be their summer home. I couldn’t quite relate to that but regardless of that disconnect, I very much enjoyed reading of their adventures over the years.
The beginning of the book details their search for a home, their finding of Bramasole in Tuscany, their search for contractors and decisions made as to what the renovation would entail and the actual renovation. I love watching “This Old House” and other shows like it so enjoyed the first part of this section. However, I did become a bit bored with some of the renovation details.
But then she goes on to talk about her exploration of the neighboring areas and her finding of little known paths, roads and churches that she finds and I was entranced. And then, since she’s apparently a gourmet cook, there are the wonderful descriptions of the food of Italy and pages of her recipes that I definitely will be trying over the winter.
All in all, the author has shared her delight in Italy with her readers in a completely captivating way. Recommended.
This book was given to me by the publisher through Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.