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Best way to Get In The Mood For Tuscany

Sep 14, 2023

Books and movies are the best way to get in the mood for Tuscany. Reading a novel set in a country before travelling is like embarking on a journey of anticipation and immersion long before your plane takes off. As you turn each page, you traverse its landscapes, meet its people, and soak in its culture, all from the comfort of your armchair. The characters become your guides, the plot lines your itinerary, and the author’s descriptions your window into the country’s essence.

By the time you join The Adventurous Ewe on a women’s only tour, before you set foot in that country, you’ve not only packed your bags, but also your imagination, enriched and primed for a deeper connection with the place and its people. Reading becomes the prelude to a transformative travel experience. 

 

 

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International Travel Writer Carrie Hampton, tells us her favourite books and movies to get us in the mood for Tuscany.

 

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The Passion of Artemsia

I only keep books that I can’t bear to part with and The Passion of Artemsia by Susan Vreeland is one of them. Following the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, with backdrops in Rome, Florence, Genoa, and Naples, the book is inhabited by historical characters like Galileo and Cosimo de’ Medici II and transports me to a time in history where artists were revered…if they were men. It’s filled with rich details of seventeenth-century life and the struggles of this exceptional female painter in a world ruled by cruel men.

A Room With A View

In truth I love a good classic, like A Room With A View by E M Forster, but whether to read the book or watch the film is a dilemma, because both are brilliant. It’s a poignant observation of how the English abroad are governed by the strict protocols of Edwardian society, and what happens when those rules are broken. Set in Florence, the polite restraint of its characters is almost unbearable.

Under the Tuscan Sun

On a more lighthearted contemporary note, if there’s one movie I watch to get in the mood for Tuscany, it’s the romantic comedy ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. Based on the writer’s own memoir, Frances Mayes buys a villa in Tuscany on a complete whim, with hilarious consequences and a dash of romance. I just can’t wait to get to Italy after seeing this. I think I’ll go and watch it now!

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Several other easy-read books with a WWII Tuscan setting, tell dual stories of the past and present:

  • The Tuscan Secret –  Anna’s Italian-born mother leaves letters about her part in the WWII Italian Resistance, so she sets off to discover her roots.
  • The Italian Affair – another WWII story travelling from England to Tuscany.
  • The Tuscan Child – letters take the daughter of a WWII pilot who parachuted from his burning plane over Tuscany, to piece together her father’s past.
  • The Tuscan Girl – heartbroken Alba returns to her parents’ home in Tuscany and learns how to heal from the war stories of an old man.

The best way to get in the mood for Tuscany is to read those recommended books and then join The Adventurous Ewe’s small group women’s only Walking in Tuscany tour, where we discover a hidden gem, hike ancient mule tracks to alpine villages, walk along panoramic ridges and lush forests during five glorious days of walking.

Carrie Hampton is an international travel writer.  Click HERE to read more of Carrie’s reviews and articles.