See You in the Piazza

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you very much for allowing me the opportunity to read this book!  I appreciate the kindness. 
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I loved reading about the author's experience in what seems like every little town in Italy. It was fun to live vicariously through her and dream of having the lifestyle that allows all of us to take a similar journey.
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Thank you to Crown Publishing for providing me with a copy of Frances Mayes’ latest book,  See You in the Piazza, in exchange for an honest review.

 See You in the Piazza,  follows renowned travel writer Frances Mayes, as she tours the different regions of Italy. Mayes and her husband are American, but they own a second home in Italy and have fallen in love with the country. Mayes and her husband set off on a series of trips to discover and report on the best restaurants and landmarks in each region. On certain segments of their journey, which spanned over a year, they were joined by friends and other family members. The result is a love letter to Italy.

Mayes has a gift for lush imagery, especially her sensory descriptions of food and wine. Do not read while hungry! Mayes and her husband are definitely foodies and experiencing Italian cuisine is a huge focus of their travels. Although they do not shy away from experiencing local dives, the bulk of their dining is done at amazing five-star restaurants. I love to eat and experience incredible cuisine, but I seriously don’t know how they manage so many intense meals. As someone who has not yet (emphasis on “yet”) visited Italy, I was surprised by the regional differences in food and the variety of ingredients that encompass Italian cuisine. For those who love to cook, Mayes has included many recipes from the restaurants featured in her book. 

Admittedly, See You in the Piazza was a slow read for me. I read it in small chunks and it took a few months to complete. it is long and written as a travel diary, which did not captivate my interest. It jumps between Mayes’ masterful writing and the vibe of having a neighbor tell you every tedious aspect of their last vacation.  I love travel writing and I know that Mayes’ is respected in her field, but despite her gorgeous descriptions, I not sure that her style speaks to me. 

 I read an advanced readers copy, but I imagine that the published version will likely include photographs and maps, which would greatly add to the enjoyment of the book. 

See You in the Piazza is a great pick for those who adore Italy or who have an upcoming trip in the works. Mayes provides much inspiration for places to visit and experience. It definitely made me wish that I could just jump on a plane and head to Italy!
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Nonfiction
Adult

See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy, by Frances Mayes (2019)
The woman who introduced readers to Italy with Under the Tuscan Sun more than two decades ago returns with another love letter to Italy, focusing as usual on the smaller towns. This is a travel guide, but a highly personalized one. Mayes, who also published the fictional Women in Sunlight last year, describes the smaller towns where she and her family have eaten, cycled, played and shopped. It’s presented from north to south, rather than as a chronological memoir, giving travellers a chance to delve into an area such as Piedmont, Umbria or Sardinia, among others. In my digital advance reading copy, a table of contents listed all the regions and towns, but there was no map, though I understand one is included in the print edition.
As I’m planning a trip to Italy as I read this, I browsed through the entries, focusing on the areas where I’ll be travelling. Mayes’ intention is to encourage travellers to explore Italia as the locals live it, and it’s an easy sell. It reads like a journal of each stay, with descriptions of the land, the rooms or suites where they stay, restaurant and market food, shopping, sights and activities. The book has no photos, which is a shame, though as always, Mayes’ descriptive and detailed writing evokes images. Of Campiglia, a Tuscan hill town, she notes: “That the two white arches in the piazza, the stony lanes, covered steps up between streets, the clock-tower building covered with stemmie, coats of arms of local rulers, have endured untouched always seems so preposterous to New World people.” Mmmmm … I simply can’t wait to see it for myself! For those who want to travel without leaving the kitchen, Mayes includes a few delicious-sounding recipes in this book. I’m eager to try her version of caponata, an olive-based antipasto I’ve made with great (I think!) success, though my pending visit won’t include Sicily, where it originated. Next time! An index is planned though it was not included in my review copy. In summary, this is more of a memoir than a travel book, so choose it only if you like biographies. My thanks to Crown Publishing for the advance reading copy of this book, provided digitally through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this book: 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40640867
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So I forgot how boring this authors writing is. She wrote under the Tuscan sun and that crap out me to sleep every time. This was pretty much the same. I’m not happy about it.
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I'm a big fan of travelogue type books, where a character goes to another country and deals with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of other cultures. Frances Maye's "Under the Tuscan Sun" was one of the first travelogues I read, and it hooked me on the style.  I was hoping this book would be in a similar vein as "Under the Tuscan Sun," but was disappointed that it is a travel guide to some of her favorite places to travel in Italy. Granted, if I was going to Italy, I would definitely want Frances Mayes to be my tour guide!  I guess that was my biggest problem with the book--I'm not traveling to Italy anytime soon!

If you are looking for an in-depth travel guide, this will be a wonderful read for you. Mayes shares some of her favorite shops, restaurants and attractions in Piemonte, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Toscana, Umbria, Le March, Lazio, Puglia, Sardegna, and Sicilia.  She's filled the book with tidbits and insights that could only be written by an expat who truly loves and understands the country.  She shows us the unexpected, off-the-beaten path places to travel. 

She also discusses other resources for travel background, like The Touring Club Italiano, websites that give details on agricultural/cooking tours, off-beat places to stay (like historic castles), and much more. For armchair travelers like myself, she even shares recipes from some of her favorite restaurants.  So, if I can't travel to Italy, at least I can eat like I'm already there! 

I gave it a three-star not for the quality of the writing, but because it wasn't obvious in the eBook that this is really a travel guide, and not a travelogue.  For someone who was expecting to read witty stories about the misunderstandings between cultures, it was disappointing. 

However, If you are going to Italy, I definitely recommend this book for insights and attractions you might not normally find in other travel guides. If you aren't traveling to Italy but are curious about some of the lesser-know villages and towns to visit, this would be a good read. Finally, if you just want to try some new authentic Italian recipes sprinkled with personal stories, be sure to pick up this book.
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See You in the Piazza by Frances Mayes is a memoir told geographically as she describes Italy. If you love reading about faraway places or plan to travel to Italy soon, this book may be for you. It is a wonderful collection of vignettes about what the author experienced as she traveled in each city. It can be read in any order, which makes it like a guide book. I think it’s a fun read. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
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Part travel book, part history book, part geography book, and full of love for Italy, this book by Frances takes the reader on a tour of the Italy few tourists get to see: the everyday lives of the people, who have lived there for generations upon generations. Frances literary eye catches the unique - did you know Egypt has the largest Egyptian collection (Museo Egizio) outside of Cairo? I had NO clue, I just assumed it would be Britain or the US! - and the sublime - an exorcism medal behind a bulletin board in a simple church in Monte Conero. This is the Italy that few know- but Frances brings it all to the light- the good AND the boring and bad! Along the way she meets some amazing people, and they share their recipes with her (and the reader). If you want to visit Italy, read this book first- it's so much better than a traditional travel guide!
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Interviewed author for an article that was published on Forbes.com. See link below.:

People tend to fall in love with Italy. That’s what happened to both Frances Mayes and Kathy McCabe.

“It’s a big collage of charm!” says Mayes, author of Under The Tuscan Sun, the New York Times bestseller that became a box-office smash when adapted to the screen.

“The art, food, wine, delectable towns—but overall, I’d say, the sheer beauty of the place is what overwhelms me over and over,” she says. “When you see the cypress trees punctuating a sublime view of olive groves, medieval towers, farmhouses nestled in the folds of the hills, and the transparent light, this kind of bucolic dream inspires, comforts and lures you into a world that seems more real than where you come from,” she adds.

Mayes has authored seven books about Italy that have been translated into 54 languages. Her latest one, See You In The Piazza (Penguin Random House, 2019), is being released today.


See You in the Piazza Released 3/12/19
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If you are an armchair traveler as I am and you love reading about Italy, get this book immediately! I certainly loved Under the Tuscan Sun as well as Mayes’ next book Bella Tuscany. This one won’t disappoint if you are fans of Frances Mayes and like a foodie/cultural narrative.

See You in the Piazza isn’t a novel. I’d describe it as a cross between a memoir and a travel guide, yet it isn’t specifically either one. It’s the sort of Ex-Pat lit that I can sink my teeth into, traveling vicariously through descriptive writing.

Our author has traveled extensively throughout Italy enjoying the foods, culture and atmosphere, eventually purchasing a second home in Tuscany.  Yet Ms. Mayes says she feels the same excitement as she did her first few years of living in Italy. “To know Italy would take ten lifetimes.”

It’s a foodie book for sure – Olive trees, Negroni, homemade pasta, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, recipes and more.  The book is set up geographically from north to south.  It doesn’t have to be read cover to cover, rather you may choose the county of interest.  This will stay on my Kindle as a reference guide in case I’m ever able to visit Italy.

Read this and you will want to pack up and move, enjoy a different culture and pace.  This book was published March 12, 2019 so hustle to your favorite bookstore or online retailer and immerse yourself with Frances Mayes’ Italian travels.  You'll keep this book as a reference guide.

Sharing with Heather for her March Foodies Read series.

Thank you very much  Netgalley for this digital copy of the book. It’s one I will refer to often, especially if I am fortunate enough to travel to Italy. I received this complimentary copy and am not compensated for my opinion/review.
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A wonderful companion to have while traveling through Italy. Yes, it’s a travel book, but it reads like a journal. Really beautifully written.
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Frances Mayes is a marvelous writer. She brings the essence of Italy to armchair travelers. I enjoyed reading her prose.

However, this is mostly a reference book for travelers wanting to get off the beaten trail in Italy. If you were to go to these places, this book would be invaluable in finding terrific places to eat and unusual but wonderful places to visit. She takes her husband and grandson along for her trip to give a couple of other perspectives and cover other interests than her own.

Five stars for the prose, three stars for lack of a story that Mayes usually does so well, splitting the middle with four stars.
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From the author of Under the Tuscan Sun comes another beautiful book about Italy. In See You in the Piazza, Frances Mayes has written a travelogue, a cookbook, an historical tome. She lovingly describes Italy's people, art, architecture, food and wine. The recipes are very detailed and tantalizing. Each geographical area of Italy has its own style of cuisine so therefore you will find a variety of recipes. But what stands out is the prose. I frequently find myself reading passages out loud to my husband. The book is so well written that it needs to be shared. See You in the Piazza is a book to be owned because you will return to it time and time again and not just for the appetizing recipes but also for the pure joy of reading about Frances Mayes' love affair with Italy. Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely love Italy! I went there on my honeymoon, and always wanted to return, but with the arrival of two young sons never had enough money.  Instead,   I often pick up memoirs about Italy to enjoy as an armchair  traveler. The stories satisfy my longing for the time being. This book by Frances Mayes caught my attention and I have to admit, I appreciate the care she took to include so many places to see in  this wonderful country.

While it doesn't have the memoir vibes, It does include lots of interesting information and scrumptious recipes.

If you'd love to read more about Italy, this is a great place to start.
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I would recommend this depending on what the reader is looking for. This book contains information on various places in Italy that Mayes and her family have visited. This is more travelogue but not really a travel guide as one might expect. The book will give the reader ideas of places to visit if they are planning a trip to Italy but there is plenty here for the armchair traveler as well. Recipes are also included among the entries so the reader can get a real taste of Italy as well. If the reader is looking for a standard memoir, this isn't it. I did find myself wishing there were photos.

Thank you to Crown Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This is Mayes at her best. She takes us on a tour of Italy and little known places. They are places Mayes and her family have visited and enjoyed.  It is chock full of travel tidbits, recipes and wonderful renditions of the sights and smells of Italy. It is not a book to be used to plan a trip and is not set up necessarily in geographical order.  It's just places that Mayes has enjoyed.
  While I was reading this, I wanted to book a trip to Italy, rent a car and spend six months travelling around enjoying the food and the ambience. This book is a wonderful introduction to Italy and can be savored for quite some time.

  Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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I asked to read this book because I thought it would be something I would enjoy, given my love for Italy and my previous experience traveling there. However, I found this book to be disappointing, very slow moving and not at all what I expected. I had assumed it would be a novel, but it wasn't. A map/photos would also have been beneficial (maybe there will be some in the finished version), but it was hard to figure out where exactly she was in each chapter because I was reading the book digitally. I didn't realize this was written by the same author who wrote Under the Tuscan Sun - a book I had wanted to enjoy but never ended up finishing. Overall I was not a fan, but it's something that I will possibly come back to when planning my next trip to Italy. There are a lot of great suggestions in here that I would love to check out some day.
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Italy.  What a wonderful place to visit!  Simply the word conjures up the famous landmarks – The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, The Grand Canal of Venice, Michelangelo’s David, and much more.  But, Frances Mayes latest book, See You in the Piazza, goes beyond these well-known places and takes the reader to the areas seldom mentioned in travel brochures or guidebooks.

Ms Mayes lives in Italy part-time so she has the ability and the time to take the roads less travelled.  As a result, the reader will enjoy the historic and cultural places she explores.  The prose is delightful even when describing a flat tire north of Bologna and, especially, when describing the sights, smells and sounds of Italy.  She often includes details of their meals, along with some very tempting recipes. 

See You in the Piazza takes the reader off the beaten path.  It’s a wonderful book for anyone who has visited Italy or contemplates a trip in the future.  And, be sure to have a map handy so you can visual the areas and plan your own adventures.  Thumbs up, Ms Mayes.  Thank you for taking me to Italy with you!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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See You in the Piazza was not the book for me. I thought it would be Travel essays of the author’s experiences and didn’t realize it was really more of a guidebook - details of the restaurants, museums and other sites in each city.

If you’ve been to Italy or are planning a trip there, this could be a great addition to more traditional guidebooks. As an armchair traveler looking for more of a story, this wasn’t for me and I did not finish. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Mayes brings the rest of us along on her beautiful journey through Italy. Her descriptions the the scenery and food are incredibly realistic -- even if her travels are well out of realm of possibility for most of us. But that is the glory of reading travelogues! Free travel without restrictions.
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