Italian Book Review: Novels, Recipes & Stars

This month we dive into the new guides by publisher Marco Polo, check out the best Michelin-starred chefs across Italy, get cooking with Neil Perry and much more with the latest books for Italophiles?

easy weekendsEasy Weekends

by Neil Perry, published by Murdoch books, ?20 (hardback)

This chunky cookbook is packed full of ideas designed to help bring your home cooking to the next level, with ambitious yet approachable recipes from around the world. Inevitably, many Italian dishes are included. Neil Perry is one of Australia?s best-known chefs and has appeared on a number of television shows both in his native country and abroad, after achieving great success with his restaurant ventures. The book is divided into three parts (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), emphasising Perry?s focus on the weekend as the perfect time to put a little extra thought and effort into cooking up something special for your loved ones. It is easy on the eye throughout, with vivid photography of the dishes and a spacious layout which makes the information easy to digest. Each recipe is accompanied by a helpful note from the chef to help you achieve the desired results.

true vinesTrue Vines: A Novel

by Diana Strinati Baur, Gemelli Press, $19.99/?13.19

This gripping story is the first novel written by Diana Strinati Baur, an American ex-pat who has settled in the region of Piedmont. The story tells of a heartbroken woman, Meryl Michelli, as she tries to come to terms with the unexpected death of her husband Francesco in their vineyard. The grief forces Meryl to turn her back on Italy and return to her hometown on the other side of the Atlantic, Pennsylvania. However, her hope of turning over a new leaf is hampered by a breakdown in the relationship with her own family which uncovers the sacrifices she made in following her husband?s dream ? that of becoming a simple wine maker. Over time Meryl realises that Italy will not allow itself to be forgotten and coming to terms with leaving the country is the basis for embracing a new life, one that will ultimately bring her peace with her new reality. An assured first book, full of emotional insight into being torn between countries.


Published by Marco Polo, ?5.99 (paperback)

This up-to-date handbook on one of Italy?s most beautiful cities, Florence, is part of a brand new series of travel guides published by Marco Polo. Previously specialising in European maps, this established company has expanded into these in-depth guides to give the avid traveller a comprehensive look at key cities across the globe. Other titles include Rome, Sicily and Venice for Italy, and plenty of other destinations across Europe and the USA. They are all well laid out with easy-to-navigate sections, and an abundance of insider tips highlighted along the way. For Florence, you get to learn more about its place amid the Renaissance period and the mesmerizing architecture that can be enjoyed when you visit. As you?d expect, there is an exceptionally good map at the back with useful walking guides, too ? and best of all the price isn?t going to break the bank either.


Michelin Italia

Michelin, ?15.99 (paperback)

Gaining or losing a Michelin star can make or break a business and it is the ultimate reward for excellence. In this guide you can find out which restaurants and hotels have been deemed worthy of being awarded those precious stars for 2013. Ideal for the more astute traveler seeking the very best Italy has to offer. This is, however, mostly published in Italian, with only a few translations at the beginning.

the apartment in RomeThe Apartment in Rome

by Penny Feeny, Tindal Street Press, ?12.99

Having had success with her previous novel, That Summer in Ischia, Penny Feeny here draws on her own experiences of working with leading conceptual artists in Rome. It follows Gina, an ambitious art photographer, and her struggle to keep hold of her hard fought independence when her relationship with an exchange student greatly complicates her life.

days of wine and rosa

Days of Wine & Rosa

by Rosemary Renzetti, from Amazon

This charming memoir tells the story of an Italian-Canadian childhood and how Rosemary Renzetti?s heritage has had a profound influence on her life. The book focuses on food and family, two fundamental elements of Italian culture, and the personal accounts of the author prove to be very amusing. With plenty of home-style recipes along the way and a sprinkling of illustrations. Delightful.