I'm a big believer in reading about my intended destination. Not only for valuable tips and information but also to enhance the whole experience. I'm a nut on history, art, literature, wine, architecture and language. In addition to guidebooks I enjoy travel narratives about the country . We all know what " Under the Tuscan Sun " did for Tuscany and what " A Year in Provence" did for Provence. There is a whole genre of books dedicated to ex patriates moving to a foreign country like Italy or France and buying and restoring an old farm house. It's a dream that resonates in many of us even when we live in places like California. I know because I have a small library on the subject right down to how to buy a house in Italy and France. Funny thing is that Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes both had to move because so many tourists were showing up at their door !
One of my favorite authors , not quite as famous as Frances Mayes but a far better writer is Ferenc Mate. He is a true Renaissance man having been born in Hungary raised in Canada and the US and for the last 20 years a native of Tuscany. He has 2 excellent books on living the Tuscan dream, " The Hills of Tuscany " in which he relates the story of how he came to live there and his latest, " A Vinyard in Tuscany " in which he fulfills a life long dream of starting his own vinyard and restoring an 800 year old monastery. In addition to being a world class wine maker, he is also an expert on sail boats and his next book will be set in Tahiti. Check him out.
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