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A Small Place in Italy
by Eric Newby
ISBN 0864426054 / 9780864426055 / 0-86442-605-4
Publisher Lonely Planet
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In 1967 Eric and Wanda Newby fulfilled a long-cherished dream when they bought a run-down farmhouse in northern Tuscany, in the foothills of the Italian Alps. They were the first foreigners to live in the region. A Small Place in Italy describes how the house was restored with the help of their neighbors, a colorful east of characters who quickly befriended the Newbys.
With his characteristic wry humor and sharp eye for the quirks of human nature, Eric Newby paints an unforgettable picture of rural Italy and its people. The rhythms and rituals of country life - harvesting grapes, making wine, hunting for wild mushrooms - are lovingly evoked, along with the storybook landscapes and changing seasons. At the center of his memoir is the farmhouse itself, which from unpromising beginnings - tileless roof, long-abandoned septic tank and mice the size of small cats - was gradually restored.