Prior to moving to Italy, I dreamed about moving to Italy. For much-needed inspiration and courage, I would read every memoir and travel book ever written about foreigners moving to The Boot. From Frances Mayes (the classic) to Marlena De Blasi who penned the scrumptious A Thousand Days in Venice, you name it, I've probably read it. Luckily, I was turned onto the newest addition to my ever-growing Italophile book collection by the author herself. A Zany Slice of Italy is Ivanka Di Felice's hilarious collection of stories about her and her Canadian-Italian husband's journey back to his motherland. Her method of story-telling is particularly comedic and easy to read. This is a book to hold in your right hand while your left sips a sparkling spumante in the summer sunshine (preferably while counting the days to your impending Italian vacation or better yet, perched at a rickety cast iron table with a view of the Tuscan countryside). Not sure if it's because I'm biased being Canadian as well, but I found myself nodding along and literally laughing out loud with every side-splitting observation- case and point, this excerpt about Italian women:
The girls shed their cover-ups and emerge with thin, trim, bikini-clad bodies. Are these the same girls who eat big plates of pasta? Who drizzle large quantities of olive oil on their pizzas? The same girls who have two scoops of gelato, while I have the baby cone?
I've had the EXACT same thought process so many times in Italy and spent many a hour pondering what it is that keeps them so thin...Genes? Fresh Italian air? The walking everywhere? Or the chain smoking perhaps?
Di Felice's Italian family is to-die-for, you'll fall in love with her zany Zia (aunt) and Zio (uncle), as well as her in-laws that are the epitome of traditional Italians. It's almost as if they were cast in a movie that called for stereotypical Italians with all their endearing qualities like honouring the lunch hour and pausa (afternoon nap), ironing pillowcases and towels, and criticising fashion choices. If you've ever wished you had an Italian family or dreamt of moving to Italy (who hasn't?), you will simply adore this book. Many books penned about moving to Italy can be overly romanticised, A Zany Slice of Italy, on the other hand, is surprisingly refreshing and honest. You'll get an insider look at not only the beautiful moments of living abroad, but the untold frustrations with Italy that no one tends to talk about. As an expat myself, I can attest to the truths told in this book! The only problem I had with it is that I wish it were longer, I finished it like a glass of Brunello!
A Zany Slice of Italy is available on Kindle and Amazon.
AUTHOR BIO: Ivanka Di Felice is a writer living in Tuscany. She will assure you that it's far less pretentious than it sounds. She was born in Toronto, Canada. She is 39 years and 94 months old. In her quest for happiness, she followed Nora Ephron’s advice: “Secret to life, marry an Italian.”
The book can be sampled at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0993693407
Finally, check out the following photographs from the author's adventures in Italy which include views of the Tuscan countryside, Montepulciano, the farmhouse that the couple rented, olive picking, and I think her husband is in one of these as well (he's the one without feathers). Isn't it fun to snoop into other people's lives? It's especially fun when said people live in Tuscany.