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Thursday, December 06, 2012

What One Woman Learned When She Moved to Tuscany + WIN A COPY of "At Least You're in Tuscany"

In our November 2012 issue of Dream of Italy, Jennifer Criswell wrote about the surprising things she learned about Italian culture and everyday life when the thirtysomething moved from New York City to Montepulciano. In an excerpt of her article What I Learned When I Moved to Tuscany, the author of the new book At Least You're in Tuscany (see below for how to enter to win a copy), talks about "the Italian dryer mystery":

I have been living in Tuscany for four years and have now grown used to some of the things that often raised my eyebrow in the beginning or left me befuddled. When I first arrived I was convinced that I’d somehow moved back in time as well as to a new country.

Lighting my stove requires a match and the gas that powers it is in a tank nestled below. Laundry is hung outside to dry in summer and winter, and I have discovered that from September until April the sun won’t hit my windows and therefore the clothes on the line will still be damp when I bring them back in. Why no dryers?

During my seasonal work at a local winery, I frequently field this question from unsuspecting tourists who are surprised to learn that their villa hasn’t provided a dryer. Electricity is expensive here. It’s as simple as that. There are some people who have dryers and do use them occasionally, but the amount of energy they consume makes it a costly enterprise.
It’s the same issue with the heat. If you visit Tuscany in the winter months, you will often be asked to pay a surcharge for the heating. This is done to discourage guests from turning the heat on in the morning and then heading out for the day.

To make my heating oil last throughout the winter, I have gotten on the schedule that one of my Italian friends suggested. She turns her heat on an hour in the morning to take the chill off and a couple hours in the evening after dinner. It definitely doesn’t keep you toasty warm, but most people will also have a fireplace or stove to supplement their heat.

And if you are like me and don’t have one of these magic fire boxes, a hot water bottle helps unfreeze toes…back in time, remember?

Here's your chance to win a copy of Jennifer's book At Least You're in Tuscany!

Just leave a comment below answering the question, If you could move to Italy, where in Italy would you like to live and why?

Comment on/or before December 20, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random and will receive either a paperback or ebook version of the book.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Years ago I lived for a year in Firenze and it was wonderful. But now If moving to Italy ( I wish) to live full time I would select on the hill side above Positano!
I would have access to all the amenities of the village while also being able to get away to calm of my home. LOke all of Italy theres delicious food/wine and scenic views. To behold the sea throughout the day. The size would allow one to develop relationships with shop[ keepers, food staff, local bar, and ones neighbors. To expect to be accepted as a native or neighbor may be to much to ask but to be accepted would be enough for me.
Heaven on earth while fortunately still being able to breathe in the lemon scented air. My greatest task would be mastering the art of making lemoncello.

vacationtoo said...

If I was to move to Italy, I would pick the Amalfi Coast. I love the beauty and colors of the sea and flowers that adorn the balconies. The warm air and the bounty of fruit and especally the sweet gelatos. Hoping to one day be able to live there.

inga said...

If I were moving to Italy for a time I would relive my life in Venice. The days of young love, strolling along the canals, espresso in the cafe and eating pasta with a black squid sauce in the evening followed by drinking Grappa with the owners.
Late evening dancing in St. Marks square under the full moon. I sigh as I remember. A part of my heart has never left.
After that I would see where my heart leads me. It is all glorious and a great gift to experience.

ajokent1 said...

Amalfi is where I would live, close to the sea and good moderate weather as opposed to the desert I live in now. It is small enough and easy to maneuver through and yet would have what I need most days.
As a second choice I'd choose Firenze just across the Arno close to Piazza Michelangelo. Certainly I would have more choices and I love walking the areas but the congestion is a little much for driving.
And, of course, I could consider Perugia which has great countryside and falls somewhere between my prior choices.
Too many possibilities in Italy as I could add a few more. So, perhaps,we'll stick with Amalfi and I can get to Ca'pri easily for a couple days for a change of scenery too.
Tony Kegowicz kegowiczfamily@cox.net

seeyouinitaly said...

i would never change a thing about our home in Panicale, Umbria. its old fashioned in its charm, manners, food, festivals. But its cafes have lightning fast internet. best of all worlds.

But we love to travel out from that base and discover other fun places too. Trieste for example blew us away this spring. So Italian, so almost mid eastern exotic, so Austrian. Such a surprise. But that is Italy. Something grand and unexpected around every corner.

Barbara said...

If money were no object I'd happily live in Florence for the rest of my life! In the final analysis I'd happily live ANYwhere in Italy!

Chris Vierling said...

I would love to live in Florence. I visited my son there last year when he was in a school program. There is so much history, museums, especially the Uffizi Gallery, Academy Gallery, the Duomo, the Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michelangelo and many more interesting places, too numerous to list. The wine country is close by to visit for the day. Each cafe is a little treasure with espressos, wonderful pastas, soups and salads. Accessibility to some of the other regions is easy using the train. Florence is a feast for the senses!

Linda Dini Jenkins said...

Oh, there are so many places! But I think if I had to choose one place it would probably be Verona. Who doesn't love a city with a Roman amphitheatre in its centro? The food is fabulous, there are three piazze to hang out in and it's so accessible. There's an airport 20 minutes from downtown and it's on the train line so you can move between Milano, Vicenza, Verona, Padova and Venezia very easily without a car. Plus, we have friends there, and that always helps. So, for today, it's Verona. Ask me again domani . . .

Susan said...

There are so many choices. Pienza is at the top of the list, it's the ideal town in my opinion, has it all in one small town. And at least it's in Tuscany:)

Susan said...

Too many choices - but Pienza is at the top of the list. It's the ideal town with everything you would need - and at least it's in Tuscany:)

Jane said...

Somewhere near Florence so that I could visit DAVID several times a year and be close to the vineyards and beauty of Tuscany.

Cathy said...

Oh my, how could I pick just ONE place?? I think Sicily would be lovely in the wintertime, but not sure I could take the heat in summer. Would also enjoy the Verona/Venice area... Hmmmm..perhaps I need more travelling time before I can decide!!

italyandme said...

To this dedicated pasta eater,
Umbria is the Dolce Vita!

Ruth Positano said...

I love Florence and would love to live there. But in reality it would have to be the Amalfi coast, it is were my husbands ancestors came from. Of course I would also love to live in Agropoli where my husbands Aunts and Uncles still live. With a name like Positano it has to be the Amalfi coast area.

Linda said...

I always thought I wanted to live where my mother's mother was born, in Emilia Romagna near Piacenza, and it is breathtaking. But now after two visits, I think I'd like to live in Piemonte, with their wonderful cuisine and wines and truffles. I'd still be able to visit the Amalfi Coast and Florence and Venice, and I'd have easy access to Milan and the lakes.

Patrizia said...

Yes , there are so many places I would stay in Florence and be near the many churches I love. It is very easy to travel everywhere in Italy on the convenient train station, and walking the whole city is possible with out a car. The food is wonderful and the people are kind and taught me how to enjoy life and coffee. I can feel the spirits of the artists and sculptors who walked the very streets we walk. It is truly a magical place Patrizia

PatMaryland said...

Ever since before our very first trip to Italy (planning our 3rd!) it has captured my heart! My husband's choice is the Cinque Terre and I might agree, but I also LOVED the Amalfi coast. You can NOT go wrong anywhere in Italy; it's impossible to say what is more enchanting, the scenery, the history, the artwork, archetecture, the FOOD AND THE WINE!!!! WE TRULY LOVE IT ALL & TUscany is among my favorite destinations! I would like to live EVERYWHERE IN ITALY!!
Pat in Maryland

Dionne said...

If I could live in Italy, I would choose Sardinia. The rugged, untamed beauty of the mountains, the uninhabited stretches of incredible coastline, the soft, golden, powdery sand; dipping into warm, crystal clear water, the sunsets... what a treat. Add to that the liveliness and warmth of the Sardinian people, the fabulous food and the wonderful towns and villages, steeped in history and tradition. It is magnificent.

ItalyJean said...

I had the fortune to live and work in Vicenza for over 7 years, heading back to the US in 2009. I would love to return to Vicenza while retired and have the opportunity to live in centro, explore the city entirely on foot and the rest of Italy via bicycle, train and inexpensive airlines. I made several Italian friends with whom I'm still in touch but, although I spent time in their homes and at their celebrations, I have always felt that I only just barely tapped the surface of understanding what it is to be Italian. I would love the opportunity to explore Italy in a more leisurely way, improve my Italian to conversational level, and truly feel like it is a second home to me. There weren't any places in Italy that didn't add to the richness of the experience of living there and I have such wonderful memories and warmth in my heart for the entire country, the people, and the culture.

Lori said...

Bologna has stolen my foodie heart.

Edna Francis said...

Venice is magical and I would love to live there, surrounded by the most magnificent churches, artwork, museums and history in general. I could sate my love of opera at La Fenice, wander the magical calle and shop for my foodstuffs at the Rialto Mercator like a true Venetian. What more could one want from life.

Ann Marie said...

If I could live anywhere in Italy, it would most definitely be Sicily. I first visited this warm, friendly, and breathtaking Island in 2001. Ever since that time, all I think about is one day living there. I have traveled to a lot of places in Italy, but nothing compares to the warm and passionate Sicilians; and it shows in all that they do. Being married to a Sicilian for the past 29 years, I have grown to love the food, people, and land where my husband's family is rooted from. I am planning my third trip back to Sicily and cannot wait to return to the place that I would love to spend the rest of my days in.

Ann Marie said...

If I could live anywhere in Italy, it would most definitely be Sicily. I first visited this warm, friendly, and breathtaking Island in 2001. Ever since that time, all I think about is one day living there. I have traveled to a lot of places in Italy, but nothing compares to the warm and passionate Sicilians; and it shows in all that they do. Being married to a Sicilian for the past 29 years, I have grown to love the food, people, and land where my husband's family is rooted from. I am planning my third trip back to Sicily and cannot wait to return to the place that I would love to spend the rest of my days in.

Sicily bound said...

If I could live anywhere in Italy, it would most definitely be Sicily. I first visited this warm, friendly, and breathtaking Island in 2001. Ever since that time, all I think about is one day living there. I have traveled to a lot of places in Italy, but nothing compares to the warm and passionate Sicilians; and it shows in all that they do. Being married to a Sicilian for the past 29 years, I have grown to love the food, people, and land where my husband's family is rooted from. I am planning my third trip back to Sicily and cannot wait to return to the place that I would love to spend the rest of my days in.

Patricia said...

Oh...this question asks for my dream. If I could live in italy you would find me in Sicily, in the town of Cefal├╣. I have visited it many times. It is the ancestral town of my mother's family. This seaside town is filled with emotion for me. I have stayed there for extended periods and always feel a sense of homecoming.

Anonymous said...

Amalfi Coast for the water, the flowers, the climate, the views.

Beth said...

I would live in Siena because I studied there in college many years ago, and I fell in love with the way the people are connected to the spirit of the land.

Karen said...

If I were fortunate enough to live in Italy, I would live in Castello de Godego. This is where my family was born and still lives today. When I visit I feel as if answers to many unposed questions are given and I feel a sense of fulfillment I don't experience living in the US. When I am there with my family despite language barriers I feel as if I am really home and truly treasured.

Lana said...

I was proposed in the middle of Ponte Vecchio in Florence. So that magnificent city has a special place in our hearts and rightfully so.
After many (1-2) weeks long trips to Italy our Italian is still limited but the desire to learn is greater than ever now. We dream of retiring in Italy one day...
We had spent 3 vacations in Viareggio in southern Tuscany and loved every moment of it.
This little town is a real thing with everything you might need in every day life and more... The sea is fantastic, people are so friendly and alive, you hear music everywhere day and night.
Florence, Pisa, Lucca are so close and reachable by train. Our friends in Florence and Carrara could’ve visited us easily.
So we would've made Viareggio our home tomorrow if we could :-)
Meanwhile just dreaming of our next trip to Italia...

Melissa said...

If I could move to Italy I would start out living in Milan, when I visited there I loved it. I love the big city and the excitment and fancy shopping places.....I think then when I tired of that I would love to go to Tuscany, it was so beautiful in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. I look forward to reading "At Least Your In Tuscany".....my boyfriend lives in Conegliano, 30KM from Venice, but he is coming to USA...I think i would rather be there but probably cant get a job there making the money i make here??

Kathy said...

If I could live in Italy, Minori would be my first choice. So close to everything on the Amalfi coast, even the Sunday traffic jams to Ravello. To live by the sea in such a small quaint town - where the seafood is so fresh - I can smell it now! Of course, you would know most of your neighbors. And learn the Italian ways of cooking without an electric stove, gas only!! But then there is Monefalco, where my love for their wines and people still stays! And Roma, sweet sweet Roma.... Kathy in Delaware

Lili said...

I would love to live on the Island of Ponza. It is where my father was born.

barbie2be said...

How can I be expected to choose just one place? I love the whole country. But since I am not really a cold weather kind of girl, I would have to say probably somewhere in the south.

Anonymous said...

If I had the opportunity move to Italy and live there on a permanent basis, I would choose wherever God decided was the right fit for me and my family. I would live just about anywhere, I love Italy and everything about it. It is beautiful, the people are fascinating and the food is fantastic.

dianeNYC said...

Lucca, inside the walls, in a palazzo with a big, sunny garden and a convenient spot for my bike.

Aimee said...

I would seriously consider living a nice, simple life in my family's home town of Minturno, which is half way between Rome and Naples, overlooking the ocean. I went for a brief visit two years ago with my mother, and then back last summer for a few days to spend with family before heading to a friend's wedding in Cortona (my second choice). I felt the spirit of my great grandfather as a little boy all throughout the charming, idyllic town, and pictured what it must have been like for my family when the Nazis kicked them out of their house during WWII because their view from the window provided a needed lookout for military ships. They managed to reclaim the house, which they still maintain as a summer home....if those walls could talk.. Standing on the bedroom balcony, overlooking fig and olive trees, and seeing the hillside town light up at night transported me to an alternate universe where shop owners opened stores on days off for the purchase of simple trinkets, where mozzarella was the size of a human head, pastries were picture perfect, stress existed only in bad dreams (or on the faces of weary Americans) and people welcomed strangers into their homes after listening to a tale of an American girl claiming to be related to the family and desperate to know where she came from.

Deana Steele said...

I'm sure I share this dream with many people but a quiet countryside in Tuscany is something we are considering. after reading the section taken from the book regarding the heating I may need to move a bit farther south. we are headed there in May to live. can't wiat!

Holli said...

All I know is it would be the countryside, not in the city. Beauty!!!

Alice Lawless said...

Kathy, I fell in love with Italy 3 years ago and have only scratched the surface on exploring her many different regions. My time was spent in Tuscany mostly in the countryside and hilltowns. I love Pienza and Montepulciano most thus far. I feel so alive when I'm in Italy, like I've never felt any where else in the world. All my senses seem more acute. I relish the slower pace in the countryside, lingering over a meal really tasting the uncomplicated flavours or just ambling around a new hilltown. Can't wait for my next visit when I'll introduce my family to my new love.

pam leblanc said...

Anywhere in the Dolomites, the most beautiful place in the world!

Kathy McCabe, DreamofItaly.com said...

JANE who commented "Somewhere near Florence so that I could visit DAVID several times a year and be close to the vineyards and beauty of Tuscany." YOU'RE the RANDOMLY chosent winner! Please email me at kathy (at) dreamofitaly (dot) com so we can get you the book!