By Eric Newby

ISBN-10: 0007508158

ISBN-13: 9780007508150

This booklet is a lush and gorgeous memoir of a truly exact condominium and an excellent game of a bygone period. In 1967, veteran go back and forth author Eric Newby and his heroic spouse Wanda fulfiled their dream of a go back to existence within the Italian hills the place they first met in the course of global struggle II. yet this fulfilment wouldn't come effortless. The dream materialised within the type of I Castagni ('The Chestnuts'), a small, decrepit farmhouse with out roof, an deserted septic tank and its personal indigenous flora and fauna reluctant to renounce their domestic. yet within the foothills of the Apuan Alps at the border of Liguria and northerly Tuscany, this ramshackle residence may quickly turn into a hub of affection, friendship and job. no matter if recounting harmful expeditions via Afghanistan or way of life in a rustic apartment, Newby's expertise shines via as one of many most popular writers of the comedian go back and forth style. packed with Newby's sharp wit and sturdy humour, 'A Small Place' in Italy returns, two decades later, to the lifetime of Newby's much-cherished vintage, Love and battle within the Apennines. It lovingly recounts the fast disappearing way of life of the idiosyncratic locals, and the long-lasting friendships they forge, even if sharing in becoming their first wine harvest as rookies or frying toxic mushrooms for a ceremonial dinner.

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J. N. Note: Translations, except where otherwise indicated, are my own. PART ONE THE CONQUEST 1 BEGINNINGS His starrie Holme unbuckl'd shew'd him prime In manhood where youth ended; by his side As in a glistering Zodiac hung the Sword, Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the Spear. Paradise Lost, Book XI To the traveller, heading eastwards from Foggia to the sea, the gaunt grey shadow of Monte Gargano looms over the plain like a thundercloud. It is a curious excrescence, this dark limestone mass rising so unexpectedly from the fields of Apulia and, heedless of the gentle sweep of the coastline, jutting forty miles or so into the Adriatic— curious and somehow awesome.

On each side the walls are festooned with votive offerings—crutches, trusses, artificial limbs; eyes, noses, legs, breasts, inexpertly stamped on sheets 1 The story is told in the Roman Breviary, Proper Office of the Saints for 8 May. of tin; pictures, genuine peasant primitives, of highway collisions, runaway horses, overturning saucepans and other unpleasant accidents in which the victim owed his salvation to the miraculous intervention of the Archangel; and, most touching of all, fancy dress costumes which have been worn by small children in his honour— once again in gratitude for services rendered—tiny wooden swords, tinfoil wings and biscuit-tin breastplates, accompanied as often as not by a photograph of the wearer, all now gradually decaying against the dark, damp stone.

They found him unprepossessing, and his clothes frankly effeminate; but they listened to his story. His name, it appeared, was Melus, and he was a noble Lombard from Bari now driven into exile after leading an unsuccessful insurrection against the Byzantine Empire, which at that time held most of South Italy in its power. His life was dedicated to the cause of Lombard independence—which, he maintained, could easily be achieved; all that was needed was the help of a few stalwart young Normans like themselves.

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A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby

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