The Hills of Tuscany: A New Home in an Old Land

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9780006551928: The Hills of Tuscany: A New Home in an Old Land

A mouth-wateringly evocative memoir of a new life in Tuscany.

Ferenc Mate and his painter wife Candace arrived from New York in the late 1980s, knowing almost no Italian and with only four weeks to find themselves a new home. After many (hilariously told) mishaps, they finally conclude the deal for their perfect house – an ancient farmhouse in the Tuscan hills – by drawing on the hood of a rusty tractor. Mate brings the real Tuscany to life: the neighbours, the countryside, country-life, the family farm down the road who virtually adopt them and teach them the Tuscan traditions of grape-picking, wine-making, mushroom hunting, woodcutting, the holidays and, of course, the almost never-ending, mouth-watering feasts.

The Hills of Tuscany is a classic piece of rural escapism for urban dreamers. Witty and enticingly written, it offers a tempting invitation to readers to lose themselves in its lushness. Steeped in the mesmerizing Italian landscape, full of unforgettable characters, this book is an affirmation of traditions, friendship and the countryside – a celebration of life itself.

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Review:

A sensuous valentine to author Ferenc M´t&ecaute;'s adopted homeland, The Hills of Tuscany brims with lush descriptions of golden dales, scrumptious meals, rich wines, and friendly natives. After years of nomadic roaming from Central America to Canada, M´t&ecaute; (a writer) and his wife, Candace (a painter), visit Tuscany and impulsively decide that this is where they will settle down. A year later they return and begin the hunt for their dream house. As the likeable M´t&ecaute;s (they're funny and suitably grateful for the chance to live in one of the world's garden spots) troll the countryside with a series of colourful Tuscan middlemen, it's impossible not to become emotionally involved in their quest. And when they finally discover the perfect abode--La Marinaia, a tastefully renovated stone farmhouse set amid scenery that Ferenc describes as "like being in the middle of a painting"--you're thrilled right along with them. Subsequent chapters follow the M´t&ecaute;s' growing friendship with their neighbours, who not only help rototill the garden but also reveal where to find porcini mushrooms and truffles in the nearby woods. All in all, reading The Hills of Tuscany is the next best thing to quitting your job, climbing on a plane, and finding your own Tuscan dream house. -- Rebecca Gleason

Review:

‘After reading this, I feel the glow of those burnt-umber fields, the taste of the wine, the food. more importantly, I feel the generosity of the people. This memoir is an Italophile’s dream, the book of a luminous dream come true.’
Jay Parini

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Mate, Ferenc
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