Ever since I saw the movie "Under The Tuscan Sun" with Diane Lane (which, by the way, is also a memoir by Frances Mayes), I've dreamt about visiting Italy. So when I finally got the chance to head there, one of the first books I picked up with "Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy" by Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry. Yes, the couple who starred on LA Law many years ago.
What I really liked about the book is that you are taken along as they begin their escapade to buy a house in Umbria. You experience the trials and tribulations of buying and renovating the home, how they tried to assimilate themselves into the local culture, and, of course, you learned all about the food and wine of the destination.
Amazon.com describes the book this way:
The actor Michael Tucker and his wife, the actress Jill Eikenberry, having sent their last child off to college, were vacationing in Italy when they happened upon a small cottage nestled in the Umbrian countryside. The three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old Rustico sat perched on a hill in the verdant Spoleto valley amid an olive grove and fruit trees of every kind. For the Tuckers, it was literally love at first sight, and the couple purchased the house without testing the water pressure or checking for signs of termites. Shedding the vestiges of their American life, Michael and Jill endeavored to learn the language, understand the nuances of Italian culture, and build a home in this new chapter of their lives. Both a celebration of a good marriage and a careful study of the nature of home, Living in a Foreign Language is a gorgeous, organic travelogue written with an epicurean’s delight in detail and a gourmand’s appreciation for all things fine.
If you are about to head off to Italy, I highly recommend this book. Of course, if you haven't seen or read Frances Mayes'"Under The Tuscan Sun," I think that is a delightful read as well. Two books which provide great insight into what it's like to begin setting up a life in Italy.