Newby, Eric A Small Place in Italy

ISBN 13: 9780002158664

A Small Place in Italy

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9780002158664: A Small Place in Italy

Since first setting eyes on Italy at the age of 22 through the periscope of a submarine, Eric Newby has come to feel it is the country he knows and understands best. In 1967, he and his wife bought "Il Castagni", otherwise "The Chestnuts", a small and ruinous farmhouse in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the borders of Liguria and northern Tuscany. They were the first foreigners to live in this particular area, and the only ones. The house came complete with, among other indigenous wildlife, a large colony of cockroaches, a band of predatory mice the size of small cats and, unknown to them when they bought the house, a sitting tenant, Attilio, an extremely eccentric and ancient man who had once built an aeroplane and crashed it. In this book, Eric Newby describes how he and his wife pulled the house back from collapse and tells of their friendship with the neighbouring "contadini", country people, which endured for 25 years, and a way of life now changed almost beyond recognition.

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Review:

'Newby is of course a travel writer of near genius - wonderfully dry in the narration of the tribulations which so often afflict him and Wanda, and splendidly precise on the nuts and bolts of things … Highly readable and dangerously liable to induce a craving for one's own patch of Italian paradise' Martin Gayford, Sunday Telegraph

'Newby is an incomparable, shrewd and witty travel writer … immensely enjoyable' John Mortimer, Mail on Sunday

'Eric Newby must rank as one of the foremost travel writers of our age. Among his skills lies the ability to carry the reader with him on the most varied of journeys … a sequel to his 1971 classic, ‘Love and War in the Apennines’… [Newby's] good humour, and his loving eye for a way of life now disappearing, makes it a sterling contribution to that very particular shelf of English literature, describing life as lived among the Italians' Hugh Carless, Guardian

'A jovial account of living in Tuscany' Literary Review

'[Newby's] book is cheerful, informative and often very funny' Times Literary Supplement

'There is a deep respect for human personality here, and a wealth of information scrupulously and precisely retailed' Daily Telegraph

'Beautifully written. Full of wisdom, humour and humanity, Newby is touching on the poignancy of life, its fleeting pleasures and ultimate, inevitable loss … He is a perceptive interpreter of our dreams' Sunday Express

'Newby goes into satisfying detail about the people, the food and the landscape, and the house itself takes a central role in the book … by observing the details of his surroundings with clarity and understanding, he gives the reader a gentle picture of a pleasant Arcadia' Wanderlust

From the Back Cover:

The distinguished travel writer Eric Newby became acquainted with the landscape and the people of northern Italy when on the run from a prison camp in 1943. He and his wife dreamed of buying a house in the region, but it was not until 1967 that the opportunity to fulfil their dream presented itself. 'A Small Place In Italy' is an engaging account of the joys and frustrations of the purchase and renovation of a farmhouse, 'I Castagni' ('The Chestnuts'), and of how the Newby's gradually became part of the local community and its distinctive way of life.

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Newby, Eric
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ISBN 10: 0002158663 ISBN 13: 9780002158664
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