Tag Archives: books about Italy

We Read: Love in Idleness by Amanda Craig

This book by Amanda Craig is a modern re-working of the one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It tells the story of a family holidaying with friends at the Casa Luna in Cortona, Tuscany and has been described by the Daily Mail in the UK as being ‘The most accomplished reinvention of Shakespeare’s Dream since Peter Brook’s influential RSC production in 1970.’

Love in Idleness

The name “Love in Idleness” comes from the original Shakespeare’s work. In it, a white pansy was struck by Cupid’s arrows, turning into a magic love flower of a purple colour. When used on someone, the potion obtained from this magic pansy causes this person to fall in love. With this metaphore, Shakespeare wanted to illustrate how crazy and irrational love can be.

It takes a simple premise, given a fresh twist. What seems to be a light-hearted comedy deepens into an examination of the sometimes blurred area between love and imagination. The three children in the novel (Bron, Tania and Robbie) play the fairies, thereby precipitating the complicated love affairs of the adults around them. The characters are well-written and the landscape around Cortona is superbly evoked. It is both intelligent and playful and is the kind of novel that makes for perfect summer reading, preferably while lying on an Italian beach.

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We read: Under the Tuscan Sun

Under The Tuscan Sun is the story of Frances Mayes and how she completely rebuilds her life by buying an old villa in Tuscany.

Frances is on holiday to Tuscany trying to recover from the breakdown of her marriage. A series of coincidences keep bringing her back to an old villa for sale in Cortona and, on a whim, she buys it. Gradually Frances makes new friends and she hires a group of polish immigrants to help with the renovations of the villa. When Frances helps a young couple in love overcome family opposition she starts to believe in love again and the book ends with the possibility of future romance when Frances meets an American writer.


The memoir includes several chapters of recipes if you want to bring a little touch of Tuscany into your home. We recommend that you read the book before watching the 2003 adaptation to film by director Audrey Wells, so you have a chance of imagining the beautiful scenery first. All in all, Under The Tuscan Sun conjures such a beautiful picture that you will want to see Tuscany for yourself!

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We Read: That Summer in Ischia by Penny Feeny

Are you looking for a summer read to transport you to Italy even before your holiday? Or maybe a book to read sat in yAmalfi_Coastour bikini while you relax by the pool of your summer villa? If so, we think you will like That Summer in Ischia, a page-turner, summer novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Allie’s mum, Helena, has always been distant and has no old friends to speak of. But when Allie inherits Helena’s childhood home, she discovers that her mum might be hiding a secret she could have never thought of. It all happened in the summer of 1979, when Helena worked as au pair for one of the wealthy families of the island. But can Allie find out what actually happened that summer?

Italy is painted through these pages in a vivid and honest way. The locations are made appealing thanks to detailed descriptions – you will feel like you are looking down on the Ischia beaches. The twists of the story will keep you hooked and there are surprises thrown in for good measure.

Ischia is a volcanic island that lies on the Tyrrhenian Sea at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km off shore. It is considered the most beautiful island on the bay, although it measures barely 46.3 square kilometres (17.9 square miles). Many tourists approach the island for the thermal spas, less crowded beaches and fantastic food.

Travel to Ischia in one of the frequent ferries from Napoli and Pozzuoli. Enjoy your stay in one of our many villas in the Amalfi Coast and take a day out to enjoy the charms Ischia has to offer and maybe, even, live your own adventure!

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