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Coins In The Fountain

Coins In The Fountain [Kindle Edition]

Judith Works
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Pasta! Vino! Hill Towns! Coins in the Fountain will transport you
to Italy where you can find out what it's really like to live the expatriate
life. It's all here in the story of a couple who said "NO!" to middle
age boredom and made a dash from a small-town in Oregon to cosmopolitan Rome
when the author went to work for the United Nations.  

In between actually working there were Italian
weddings to attend, music to be heard, a close-up with the Pope, travel with
the wine club and country weekends in Umbria where the Etruscans still seemed to
be lurking about. A brush with the Italian medical system, an auto accident
with the military police, a fall in the subway, interactions with an
excitable landlord and helping pick grapes at harvest time all became part of
their daily adventures. And of course there were many new friends like the
countess with her butt-reducing machine and the count who served as a model for
statues of naked horsemen.


Taking up early retirement unexpectedly the author's husband met strange vegetables in his valiant efforts to learn to cook Italian-style. When not struggling in the kitchen he played
golf on a course where the rough featured snakes and unexploded bombs and crewed
on a sailboat that came close to disaster on the way to Greece.


Part memoir, part travelogue to off-beat sites in Rome and elsewhere, you will be amused and intrigued with the stories of food, friends and adventures. You, too, will want to run away to
join the Circus (the Circus Maximus, that is). And before you depart Rome, you
will never forget to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to
beautiful Rome and enchanting Italy.

Recommendations to enhance your reading experience:  

If it's summer: Listen to
Respighi''s Fountains of Rome and pour a glass (or two) of prosecco.

If it's winter: Listen to
Respighi''s Pines of Rome while sipping Brunello di Montalcino.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 423 KB
  • Print Length: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Works in Progress Publishing (8 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005M2RLAI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #408,255 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Having lived a basically dull life until early middle age I decided to go to law school. It was fun but didn't make much difference until a chance meeting with a long missing friend provided an opportunity to run away to the Circus (Maximus). In reality I went to work for the Rome headquarters of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for four years as a legal advisor to the director of human resources. When the contract was up my husband and I returned to the US but pined for Italy - pasta, vino, fields of red poppies and antiquity were all missing in our lives.

But the gods smiled and offered a chance to return to Rome, this time to work for the World Food Programme. Our allotted six years passed too fast again. Now I travel to Italy and other places on my list. When not stuffing and emptying the suitcase I volunteer for arts, literary and scientific organizations.

Whenever I am in Rome I toss coins into the Trevi Fountain, thus the name of my memoir: Coins in the Fountain.

You can find my website at and my blog at

Customer Reviews

3 star
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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of Rome 6 Nov 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A fascinating memoir of several years spent by the author and her husband in Italy, and of the workings of UN agencies based in Rome, including some interesting travel by the author on behalf of the UN. Although there is much in the book on the beauty of Italy, and its considerable history, as well as the excellent (usually) Italian food, the author does not shy away from noting the disadvantages of living in Italy, even under the safety umbrella of the UN. The book is written from the viewpoint of a temporary expatriate working in Rome, rather than a permanent settler, which involves different priorities and a greater sense of urgency to see and experience as much of Italy, and Rome in particular,in a finite period.The author and her husband took full advantage of their opportunities during their time in Italy and this is shared with us in this well written and amusing book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lovers of Italy should read this! 27 Mar 2014
By wabbit
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book as we are going to Rome soon, and I like to read about places to get tips and an idea of what the place is really like. Judith has written a great book,I really enjoyed it. Her love of Italy shines through.And her love of food!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful expat chronicle 4 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The expat roller coaster is captured with style and substance in this well crafted tale of an mid-life career change that leads to a Roman adventure.

Anyone who wonders about living abroad or anyone who has immersed herself in the sights, smells, tastes and travails of foreign living will enjoy "Coins in the Fountain."

This entertaining and informative book flows nicely as the initial defeats give way to small victories and eventually to swimming like a fish in a Roman fountain (almost). Judith Works weaves between the workplace and the marketplace as she provides both historical and emotional context interspersed with anecdotes, broader reflections, and delicious meal descriptions and cooking tips. Her sense of humor is wonderful and her keen eye for illuminating details and human foibles renders the richness and quirks of navigating both the amusing and frustrating obstacles of daily life on and off the job in Rome.

All in all, an enjoyable and memorable read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely and Evocative 13 Sep 2011
By Columbia - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a charming, yet thought-provoking memoir of a couple's mid-life move to Rome. Unlike some other stories by foreigners about life in Italy, Coins in the Fountain doesn't shy away from the gritty and dismaying side of Italian life. There are plenty of lovely lunches under the grape vines, but also destroyed furniture, car accidents and a shocking near-death experience in the Rome subway. There are ancient ruins and quaint villas, but also Fascist architecture and a friend's escape out of an apartment balcony.

Coins in the Fountain paints a vivid picture of expatriate Italian life; the fabulous food, fascinating history and eccentric characters. There are also several intriguing sections on the couple's travels in Europe and the wife's business trips to destinations such as Cambodia and Ethiopia and the challenges she faced reconciling the deprivation there with the abundance of life in Italy.

Be careful about reading this book, as it will make you want to quit your job and board the next flight on Alitalia!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expat Romp in Rome 8 Feb 2012
By Kay Vreeland - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyable read! The unusually fresh and sharp detail together with the fast-paced story and historical background to everyday sights and experiences is a complete delight. References to and quotations from poets and philosophers add an underlying spice to this story of middle-aged, first-time expats who have discoveries and disasters galore. The excitement of the deep deliciousness of a European life is front stage, the characters met in the course of it are a full stage show; the reader is THERE all the way through this Italian adventure in lifestyle change. The suggestions of music and wine to accompany one's reading are whimsical but apt and set a sensuous tone for a story of profound shift where only superficial change had been the original goal. I learned a lot, and just enjoyed "being there." Rome and Italian life are one enveloping delight, but the characters and mores of the UN life are an unexpected fountain of gurgling oddity. The essence of the expat life is there, the life of the true expat rather than the enthralled visitor. Ahh, somebody gets it, I thought. Very easy to read in one sitting, but even if the vigor and fire call for a break, the eagerness to get back to reading stays strong. Just wish the Kindle app indicated page numbers!!
Grammar was a perfect delight, even if a blue pencil would have helped elsewhere on occasion. But this is minor next to the enormous pleasure of reading the book. I want to stop writing a review and go back and read it again!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING AND ENTERTAINING! 11 Mar 2012
By Barbara Morris - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Imagine embarking on an adventure that most of us only dream of? What intrepid courage does it take to pack up your comfortable life as you know it, travel halfway around the world and begin a ten-year odyssey in a foreign land? This story combines humour, poignancy, and adventure woven into the everyday challenges of adapting to a new culture, language and social order, in both a new home and workplace. The author describes travels throughout the Mediterranean so vividly that the reader feels you are there. There is a real sense of the juxtaposition of the beauty found in the seat of classical antiquity with today's pleasures found in good food, wine, fashion and art. Intertwined is the account of incredible experiences while working for UN organizations; we are treated to a glimpse into the demands that must be met to deliver basic survival assistance to address poverty in the world. Coins in the Fountain is both an informative and an entertaining book that piques your interest from the first page.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live The Good Life! Read a Great Memoir! 20 Nov 2012
By Emily Hill - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I just finished 'Coins in the Fountain' by Judith Works and was completely enthralled . . . with Italy, with The Adventure of Life, from Judith Work's perspective. . . and with the mix of fun with food, fun with art, fun with culture.

Read 'Coins in the Fountain' if you want a behind-the-scene peek at diplomatic dinners Italian style, and gorgeous put-you-there descriptions of all the places you've heard about.

This ex-pat, turned author, has written a memoir travelogue that is sensitive, intelligent, and rich.

I'm so glad I selected 'Coins in the Fountain' from the many, many travel books to choose from.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WowWowWhat a read! 14 Aug 2012
By lilybaer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wow, this is such a delightful book. A marvelous adventure, great story, so packed with fascinating information, yet told with an incredible sense of humor, sometimes tongue-in-cheek (when not munching on an Italian delicacy), always enjoyable. I got lost frequently reading on my Kindle Fire, and ended up not knowing if the page was familiar because I had internalized the information provided, or simply because I loved each segment and longed to read more. I adored the humility of Judith's first time travels to unique and unusual places, as well as the reverence for what Italy has to offer - which is so much, and, too, the modesty of discovery and getting familiar with (not to say conquering) the previously unknown. Having spent more limited amounts of time in Rome and Italy myself, I yearned to repeat what I had done, and strike out anew on an adventure either culinary or historical or even hysterical... and use Judith's commentary and humor to guide me into fresh corners. How I love Italy, particularly the rural areas, and more so now that Judith Works has shared it all with me.
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