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to be posting on my blog from France (starting in Nice) and Italy. But in the meantime I have to be content with reading about them.   A couple of nice easy reads  to set the scene are by Nicky Pellegrino, a respected author and reviewer – she has an Italian heritage but lives in New Zealand. I really enjoy her fiction stories which are coloured by her memories of Italy. Light, easy to read, but authentic. Try Italian Wedding, Recipe for Life and Villa Girls. I prefer the first two but they are all good reads. You can see more about Nicky here : http://www.nickypellegrino.com/.  I have also just bought New Zealand  writer Sarah-Kate Lynch’s book Dolci di Love, which is set in Tuscany and which Nicky reviewed and enjoyed: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/books/news/article.cfm?c_id=134&objectid=10709465

As far as non-fiction goes, of course I have worked my way through Frances Mayes’ books and can’t wait to visit Cortona – Under the Tuscan Sun is a favourite as is Bella Tuscany and the more recent Every Day in Tuscany : Seasons of an Italian Life, plus the beautiful book she produced with husband Ed – In Tuscany.

Recently, courtesy of one our lecturers, I was introduced to the novels of Donna Leon, which are set in Venice, and have to say I am enjoying them – Girl of his Dreams and Friends in High Places in particular.

Favourite non-fiction titles are Peter Ackroyd’s Venice and a beautiful little  book I happened upon called the Piazzas of Florence by Lisa McGarry. This small book is a mine of information, has great fold-out maps and exquisite descriptions – it will coming with me to Florence.  

Now it is time to start reading up on Rome…. looking forward to Nicky Pellegrino’s new book due in June (just in time hopefully) called  When In Rome.