Most helpful positive review
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Warm and well-observed
on 28 May 2001
This book is hard to define - it's an autobiographical account of an American couple who buy and restore a glorious villa in the Tuscan countryside. Part gardening manual, part travel diary, there are even recipes included, and its style is warm, enthusiastic and written by someone with a poet's love of words. I particularly liked the way Mayes shares her learning of Italian with the reader. One Italian idiom which made me laugh was 'acqua in bocca' which literally translates as 'water in the mouth, and means 'I won't tell anyone'.
Days are spent designing their garden, feasting with neighbours, and touring their new country, talking in copious amounts of food as well as culture.
However, the second half of the book lost me completely. There was less of the Italian experience and more of the writer's own childhood in America. Sorry, but I wasn't reading it to find out about her family or America! More of Italy please!