Category: Italy Book Tours

All the Way to Italy Book Spotlight

Italy Book Tours

From war-torn Italy to the belpaese of today, All the Way to Italy is a tale for those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.

All the Way to Italy Book Spotlight

About All the Way to Italy

Until her dad died, Little considered herself a Californian. Now, thanks to half a letter, a symbol she can’t quite remember, and writer’s block, she finds herself back in Italy, the country of her birth. In a headlong rush to return to her beloved San Francisco, Little will journey throughout Italy, hoping to find the answers she needs to move on with her life so she need never look back. She’ll enlist the help of the woman who raised her, Sira, her father’s sister; but Sira has secrets she’s kept for decades, and Little underestimates the power of the country she fled years before.

In this powerful story of mixed cultures in a world trying to globalize, one girl’s struggle to leave her home behind will lead her back to the women in her family and the memories each of them has safeguarded through the generations. From war-torn Italy to the belpaese of today, All the Way to Italy is a tale for those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

All the Way to Italy Book Spotlight

About the Author

Born just outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her lifelong commitment to real gelato. Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Cabot University. Today she travels the world working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores and the perfect espresso. You can find her city blog on Rome at whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.

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Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Waking Isabella Book Review

Italy Book Tours

Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed.

Waking Isabella Book Review

About Waking Isabella

Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries. Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici—the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband—Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces—all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

My Thoughts

Waking Isabella is a beautifully written story of discovery, passion, love and hope.

Nora has just left her husband, she realized their marriage was not quite what she had wanted or needed. She had given up so much of her life and passions (her art and jewellery) and she uses this time in her life to regain what she has lost. She had always loved the story of Isabella Medici and applies to do research on the beautiful Princess and her tragic death.

In Italy, she comes upon much more than she expected. She renews her friendship with an old friend who re-introduces her to life in Italy. As she learns more about Isabella, a strange connection between the two seems to develop and it is almost as if Isabella is guiding her to help her solve a great mystery of the missing painting of Isabella. At this same time, Nora meets a young man with unique ties to the art world and the mysterious disappearance of the painting.

The plot is unique and full of mystery and hope. I loved learning about all three women – they all are strong and independent and for two of them, this is what causes their death. I loved the Melissa intertwined their past and future to help solve the disappearance of the Medici painting. In between this,  we also have Nora re-discovering herself as an individual and a woman. It is a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, hope and the hurt that lies can cause.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Chapters, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta—the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano,” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art. For more information about Waking Isabella and links to Melissa’s blogs and social media sites, visit www.MelissaMuldoon.com.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia. She also curates the Dreaming Sophia blog and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy. Please visit the Pinterest page for pictures of Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino, and all the places we go in Italy in both books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

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Wanderers No More Book Review

Italy Book Tours

A true family affair, Wanderers No More will make you laugh, remind you of your family, and warm your heart.

Wanderers No More Book Review

About Wanderers No More

The war may be over, but the fight to belong is just the beginning.

Left homeless, starving, and almost killed by the Second World War, the Saforo family are refugees fleeing Italy for a better life. The shores of Australia are calling to them and they head off, packing dreams of jobs, a home and… soccer.

But from the moment they get off the boat, adapting to the Australian way of life is harder than it seems. Their family doesn’t speak right, eat right or even look right. As they struggle to build a simple life against the backdrop of 1950s’ racism, they start to wonder if they will be outsiders forever.

My Thoughts

I fell in love with this book, it is more than just a story – it is life, a life that so many of us know. Immigrating is difficult,  landing in a country where you don’t speak the language, don’t understand the culture, the food or the expressions but you do so in hope for a brighter future for your children and their children. Sometimes as second and third generation immigrants, we can forget exactly what our family went through to give us the life we have and I love how this book addresses that at times. My favourite part was when Martino looked at his Father and felt compassion and understanding. The compassion part hit me the most. It can be easy to get frustrated with our Grandparents for saving money, for not wanting to spend it on “wanted” items, to the way they take value in certain things and their strong work ethic. But when we take a moment to step back and see everything they went through for us, you fully understand them.

This book follows the Saforo family as they land in Australia. They don’t speak English, they have very little money and they face culture shock. They are forced from camp to camp before they arrive at their final destination. Everything is different for them – from the language to the weather and even to the food. They face hate everywhere they go, at times it is quite shocking what they go through and the way they are spoken to. In all of this, they struggle to build a better life for their family.

This is a truly amazing story of hope, compassion and faith. Leaving your home in search of a better future for your children is never easy. It is so important for us as their descendants to understand and appreciate their struggles. This is a definite must read book.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Odyssey Books, Barnes & Noble, Indigo.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Michelle Saftich resides in Brisbane, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology.

For the past 20 years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations.

Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent 10 years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.

Her historical fiction novel, Port of No Return, was inspired by a true family story. It was published by Australian independent publishing house, Odyssey Books in 2015. Its sequel, Wanderers No More was released in August 2017. Michelle is married with two children.

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The Painter’s Apprentice Book Spotlight

Italy Book Tours

In The Painter’s Apprentice, would you rather sacrifice your livelihood, your lover, or your life? When the Black Death comes knocking on your door, you’d better decide quickly.

The Painter's Apprentice Book Spotlight

About The Painter’s Apprentice

Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep before she is able to get back home.

From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Painter's Apprentice Book Spotlight

About the Author

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with Laura on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Pre-Order!

Laura Morelli’s new book, The Painter’s Apprentice, is out on November 15, and she is offering a set of great bonuses exclusively to her readers. If you like to delve deeper into the “story behind the story,” you’ll want to take advantage of Laura’s pre-order package, (ends Oct 31st) which takes readers behind the scenes of The Painter’s Apprentice with videos, pictures, commentary about Renaissance Venice, and other exclusive content. Learn more here and order your copy today!

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Venetian Blood Book Review

Italy Book Tours

A captivating tapestry of murder, betrayal, and family, Venetian Blood is the story of one woman’s brave quest for the truth—before it’s too late.

Venetian Blood Book Review

About Venetian Blood

Struggling to forget a crumbling marriage, forty-year-old Anna Lucia Lottol comes to Venice to visit an old friend—but instead of finding solace, she is dragged into a police station and accused of murdering a money laundering count with whom she had a brief affair. In the days that follow, Anna, an US Treasury officer with brains and athleticism, fights to clear her name in a seductive city of watery illusions. But as she tries to pry clues from a cast of uncooperative characters who implausibly deny what she sees and hears, she begins to question whether they are hiding something…or she is losing touch with reality. Racing to unlock secrets, she succeeds instead in unleashing a powerful foe bent on destroying her. Will she save herself and vanquish her enemies, including her darkest fears?

My Thoughts

I visited Venice in my mid-teens and I fell in love (and not just because my family on my Dad’s side come from there!). There is an air of mystery and history on every street mixed in with romance. It just has a special quality about it that I just can’t quite put into words. I was so excited to read this novel based in Venice and it did not disappoint me at all. She captured the mystery of Venice into her story that is full of its own mystery and history.

We have Anna who is trapped in a scandal of murder and an affair. This is in the backdrop of an even greater scheme of lies, money laundry, secrets and murder. She is trying desperately to clear her own name plus work an active case. No one in the city wants to quite help her as they try to protect their own citizens and the secrets that they hold.

I loved every  moment of this well written novel. It pulls you in and leaves you craving more. It is very well written and suits the tone of the novel and setting. It is an exciting and suspenseful novel from start to finish – I could not put it down in fear I would miss what was coming next! I have to admit, I never saw the ending coming. It was an incredible and well-played out. Venetian Blood is a definite must read novel.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Christine Evelyn Volker became intrigued by foreign cultures at an early age, which propelled her to study Spanish, German, and Italian. After pursuing an MLS and an MBA, she was drawn to international banking and became a senior vice president at a global financial institution. Her career brought her to Italy, where she immersed herself in the language and made frequent visits to Venice. A native New Yorker, she resides with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where she heads a local library non-profit organization and writes about environmental sustainability. She is currently at work on her second international mystery, this one set in the rainforest of Peru.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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