I’m always excited to see a new book by Frances Mayes. I love her travel writing. SEE YOU IN THE PIAZZA is about a trip Frances and her husband Ed took through parts of Italy they had not seen yet. Their teen-age grandson joins them for a part of this journey.
Discovering new places in Italy certainly gets my heart thumping. And these small places are mostly off the beaten path. I like that. Taking a year and a half to mosey through the backroads of a country I love, well, let’s go!
Frances Mayes won my heart and millions of others with her first memoir, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. Even the movie was just super. I still watch it on occasion. Like me, Frances has grown older. And, of course, much wiser. But she still has a home in Tuscany, the home she calls Bramasole. She just decided that it was time to see the “rest” of this gorgeous country.
Before driving north to explore Piedmont , they stop at Porta Palazzo Market in Turin, the largest open-air market in Europe. I was totally up for this. Nothing like a great open-air market. A great start to your arm-chair travel.
Torino is the real starting off point. And from there the movement is south.
Frances peppers the book with recipe favorites from each area. This is a big plus for me. You will also discover that pasta is not just pasta in Italy. Each small district makes their own very unique pasta. We love to cook and found while we traveled through Italy that the recipes are not only delicious but simple, for the most part.
Included throughout are suggestions for traveling off the beaten path. This is especially helpful for those of you who are shy about trying a new direction in another country. I have done this time and time again while traveling in Italy and have always found the local people to be both welcoming and delightful. We have even been asked to share meals over the years.
Frances advises you to travel light as luggage is always a burden. I know over the years I have learned to pare down the bags. I can pack for several weeks in a carry on bag. Yes, you can too.
As I read through this book I found myself reminiscing about trips past. All good. In fact, I’m working on some posts for the blog about my trips over the past few years. To post soon.
I have one criticism. And I hate to even bring it up. But I can’t help myself. Yes, Frances and Ed can afford the finer things in life. The inns and hotels they stay at are fitted with fine linen. The tables they dine at are all clothed in crisp cloth. Everything is top notch and expensive. And this is wonderful for those who can well afford both the time and the money. However, I would have enjoyed finding a few places that were pure joy without being a drain on the pocket book. I know it can be done. Just sayin.’
I love good travel writing. I can go along and never leave the comfort of my reading chair by my window to the world. Frances does know how to bring it all to my little portion of the world. Thanks Frances. I look forward to your next adventure!
My gorgeous finished copy of SEE YOU IN THE PIAZZA was provided by Crown Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, what a great book for your summer reading. Loved it!