I've had my nose in a book for a while now. Because hubs and I are planning to go to Italy in the spring, I've been gravitating towards books involving travel and/or Italy in some way. Thought I'd weigh in and report on some of the pages I've devoured.
Lady in the Palazzo is written by Marlena de Blasi, she of A Thousand Days in Venice fame. In the autobiographical book, de Blasi relates how she and her husband relocate to Orvieto, a charming hill town in Umbria. The couple finds an apartment, contracts to renovate it, and settles into a new life of friends and food in the town. It's not much of a plot, but de Blasi writes evocatively of food and the Italian way of life. (And there are some recipes at the end! Woo hoo!) This is a great armchair traveling book for those who love either or both.
Eat My Globe, by Simon Majumdar, has alot more action. Upon turning 40, the author realizes that he has some unaccomplished goals. Namely, to go everywhere and eat everything. To whit, he quits his job and schedules a 14-month jaunt around the world, basing his itinerary on the best dishes the world has to offer. Majumdar really does cover quite a bit of territory during his trip, and he honestly evaluates both the places he visits and the foodstuffs he consumes. Plus, he's both a gifted write and a funny guy. Highly recommended! (P.S. Majumdar and his brother run a food blog - Dos Hermanos - that's updated regularly. Worth checking out, even if the photos and text layout rather oddly on screen.)
Lastly, I just finished Passion on the Vine, by Sergio Esposito. A native Italian and a devotee of both wine and food, Esposito runs Italian Wine Merchants in New York City. His book describes how he fell in love with Italian wines, got to know their producers, and developed a market for them in the United States. Readers follow him as he rambles across Italy, meeting winemakers and tasting delicious dishes. I learned alot about Italian wines by reading this book, knowledge I plan to put to good use when we visit Rome!
All three were great books for vicarious traveling. Hmmmm . . . what will I read next?