A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby hits the £1 shelf in my shop.
HarperCollins, 1994, Hardback in dust wrapper.
From the cover: In 1967, Eric Newby and his wife Wanda fulfilled a long-cherished ambition when they acquired I Castagni (otherwise The Chestnuts), a small and excessively ruined farmhouse in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the borders of Liguria and northern Tuscany. They were the first foreigners to live in the area, and twenty-five years later they remained the only ones.
The house came with a tileless roof, a long-abandoned septic tank and a lavatory hidden in a dense plantation of canes in the open air. It also contained a wealth of indigenous wildlife: a large colony of cockroaches; a hornets nest; an adder which shed its skin every year on a beam in the owners bedroom; predatory mice the size of small cats who used red flannel from Eric Newbys favourite shirts to line their offsprings nests; and, not least, a sitting tenant, Attilio a minute, eccentric and very ancient man who had once built an aeroplane in which he had launched himself from a high place and crashed, hurting himself badly.
In this affectionate, humorous, often hilarious book, Eric Newby recounts how he and Wanda, who met in Italy in 1943 after he escaped from a POW camp, pulled I Castagni from the brink of collapse with the aid of the local esperti (skilled workmen). It describes their long-enduring friendship with the neighbouring contadini, who welcomed them whether eating, drinking, harvesting grapes and olives, or hunting for fungus and wild asparagus from the moment they arrived.
In Love and War in the Apennines, Eric Newby described the start of his love affair with Italy; in A Small Place in Italy, with his inimitable wry humour and eye for the quirks and oddities of human nature, he chronicles how it grew to maturity.
Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper. Leans slightly. Price Clipped. Previous owners’ inscription to the first blank.
Blue boards with Gilt titling to the Spine.
211 pages. 9½” x 6¼”.
This book will be listed, sooner or later, for £6.50 on my delightful website… (added to my Travel Italy category.) but get 50% off buying from my blog… below…