The Villa Diana: Travels Through Post-war Italy (Revival) Paperback – 2 Jun 2008
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"Full of wit, drama, entertainment and fascinating insights from an author with a keen eye . .. is still as fresh and accurate today. Highly recommended." "Italian" magazine"
"Engagingly written; an enchanting view of Italy from the Villa Diana." "Publishing News""
'highly readable... affectionate memories of the warm-hearted life that makes Italy so well loved by outsiders.'
The Tablet, 27 September '08
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One small item of note for anyone wedded to the British pound and old enough to remember Lsd - we Brits pinched the abbreviation from Italian!(Lire Soldi Denari)
Seven of the eight chapters -which first appeared in the New Yorker and Contact, focus on areas where English speakers would visit: Portofino (North West) and Venice (North East) in the North, Florence and Siena in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Cassino and Rome in the Centre, and Sicily in the very deep South or Mezzogiorno; the eighth and last is very different, a more serious biography of Agnolo Ambrogini (born 1454), better known as Poliziano, a celebrated former owner of the five hundred year old Villa Bruscoli, renamed Villa Diana, brilliantly situated mid-way down the hilly slope to Fiesole, where the author was residing together with his wife, his group of local domestics, his animals, as well as the ghosts of the past, and dreams and hopes for a better future.
For War veterans then, and their families now, the most valuable essay was on Cassino, the infamous town and Benedictine monastery, 1500m high above on the mount, wiped out - a useless act of barbaric vandalism, by the RAF in February 1944, the fourth time in its long history, showing the ongoing reconstruction. As in previous epochs the religious site was rebuilt on the basis of "where it was and as it was", whereas the town flourished "somewhere else and entirely different".Read more ›