A new day in Tuscany
Photo by andrew chang used under a Creative Commons license.

Ferenc Máté, The Hills of Tuscany (Albatross, 1998).
In the late 1980s, Máté and his wife decided to relocate from New York to Tuscany, knowing little Italian and giving themselves four weeks to find a house. They moved into a well-worn farmhouse called La Marinaia not far from the town of Montepulciano, and began to settle into a new life in an old place. This book is the story of their first year there: buying a house, meeting neighbors, shopping in Montepulciano. The house comes with land fit for grape vines, and they learn to gather mushrooms in the woods nearby. Food and drink receive much attention. Máté is certainly enthusiastic, the danger being that you, too, will want to move to the Tuscan hills.

Here is Máté’s site, which has all sorts of stuff on it, including photos of Tuscany. Here is a podcast with him. Entertainment Weekly‘s Megan Harlan was not fond of the awkward, purplish prose. It’s on Faith Harper’s list of books about living in Italy. Alessandra Stanley (The New York Times) says Máté is a copycat of Frances Mayes (ouch — but I haven’t read Mayes, so I have no idea). It’s one of Tea’s favorite foodie books. For Loily, the book was research for a dream of living there. Máté’s second book about Tuscany, A Vineyard in Tuscany, receives much more attention on the web, for whatever reason.

Buy it at Amazon.com.