Armchair Traveling to Italia + A Book Giveaway
Not quite the same, but at least you avoid the summer heat!
While I usually travel to Italy once a year for ongoing research on my novels, I’m forever yearning to be back in-between visits. I’m always reading about Italy, both in the present and the past, or watching videos, films, or RAI. I’m learning the language and take every opportunity to do these things in Italian, too, sometimes even turning the language in my video games to Italian and relying on closed captions to make sense of the more obscure words.
I know many of you are also dreaming of Italy, so I thought I’d share some of the ways that I keep up to date and feed my love for il bel paese.
Great Substacks to Read
I’m a bit of an information junkie and am constantly reading, and of course, that includes a bunch of great Substack newsletters/blog posts.
Celia's Perfect Artichoke - Like me, Celia is always dreaming of Italy, and her food posts will make you run to the kitchen to try her recipes!
Gillian Knows Best - I’ve been following Gillian for ages on various spots on the net because she has the pulse on all things Roma.
Elizabeth’s Newsletter from Italy - Elizabeth Minchilli is a well-known cookbook author, who won my heart nearly a decade ago with her book Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City. Her newsletter is for subscribers only but is chock full of recipes and info about Italia.
The Week in Italy - I only just discovered this newsletter and I can already tell it will be a must-read for me. Jamie Mackay gives you the best of the week’s Italian news.
Letters from Tuscany - I’ve followed Giulia Scarpaleggia’s blog, Jul’s Kitchen, for years. All things Tuscan, and oh, the food!
The New Roman Times - Journalist Laura Itzkowitz writes about Rome and beyond. One of my faves.
There are more (I told you I read a lot!), but I’ll save them for another time.
One of my go-to learning sources is News In Slow Italian, which gives you the week’s news in a slightly slowed-down way vs. having to navigate the super fast speed of the language. It's not inexpensive but it's such a great way to really hear the language at a pace that is understandable. The online site and mobile app serve as a companion to the audio and I love turning to it after I've listened to the week's news to figure out the words I didn't know. You can use this online or in the downloadable mobile app.
Latest Books About Italy That I’m Reading
Rome as a Guide to the Good Life: A Philosophical Grand Tour by Scott Samuelson
This book, a gift from a dear friend, is a guidebook, but of a philosophical kind. Samuelson takes the reader on a tour of the Eternal City like no other, dipping in and out of history, of all the things that make the Eternal City what it is. It’s dense, but absolutely wonderful.
Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino
I’ve made it a happy project to read everything by Italo Calvino, and this is one of the few I haven’t yet devoured. But I’m planning on diving in this week. The description: Mr. Palomar, whose name purposely evokes that of the famous telescope, is a seeker after knowledge, a visionary in a world sublime and ridiculous. Whether contemplating a cheese, a woman’s breasts, or a gorilla’s behavior, he brings us a vision of a world familiar by consensus, fragmented by the burden of individual perception.
Historiae by Antonella Anedda, translated by Patrizio Ceccagnoli and Susan Stewart
This year I have been trying to get back into reading more poetry, and I have greatly enjoyed this New York Review of Books volume by poet Antonella Anedda. This is a bilingual volume, which I appreciate greatly as a language learner. Anedda muses about various places in Italy, but especially Rome, where she’s from. Her poetry is beautiful, evocative, and inspiring.
And Now, It’s Time For An Italian #BookGiveaway!
Brilliantly woven and deeply captivating, Laura Morelli's The Last Masterpiece is a true gem in historical fiction. This remarkable tale of courage, resilience, and the profound power of art during the chaos of World War II is an absolute page-turner. The narrative is brought to life through the eyes of two dynamic women, Josie and Eva, whose shared mission (despite their respective countries' opposition) to protect Italy's irreplaceable masterpieces drives the riveting plot. Morelli's meticulous research shines, offering readers a vivid and immersive journey into the heart of wartime Italy. This is a must-read, five-star experience you simply can't miss!
Do you want to win this book?
To sign up for the giveaway, you can fill out this form. Your name will be thrown into the hat for a shot at a paperback copy. This giveaway closes at midnight on 8/06/23. Winners will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway close and announced in my next newsletter.
A couple of things: you must be 18+ and a United States resident (pesky international laws make it tricky to do giveaways worldwide). If you are someone who loves rules, you can find the obligatory rules info here.
What’s Bringing Me Joy This Week:
When I heard Netflix was making a series of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See I was skeptical that anyone could do the book justice. But oh, this trailer! It looks like it might be amazing.
Last week I wrote about the historical summer flooding of Rome’s Piazza Navona. It’s my favorite piazza and I love seeing images from its past, like this one from Giambattista Piranesi, created in 1760–78. The Met owns the original.