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Notes from an Italian Garden
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"I will always be happy that we found the area when we did, in 1964, while it was still an unknown backwater, for we were able to catch just before it began to disappear a way of life that had gone on virtually unchanged since the Dark Ages, and sometimes much longer." The author, an American living in Italy, reminisces about her life in Canale, a village north of Rome in Etruria, the land of the ancient Etruscans (into whose history particularly their age-old passions for horse racing, mushrooms and eels she frequently delves). Marble recounts how her carefully thought-out plans for the garden yielded to the more expedient solution of an overbearing bulldozer operator, tells how she arrived at the perfect design for her greenhouse, muses about the problems of getting seeds to germinate and describes other Italian gardens that have intrigued her, including an overly ostentatious project that got revenge on its owner by self-destructing during a prolonged cold spell. Anecdotes about the locals, standard fare in this type of memoir, include a tale about her maid, who decided not to get married because the prospective groom's new house lacked an adequate bathroom, and a saga of tomb robbers who tried to draw her husband into their illicit activities. It all adds up to a book that is pleasant and sometimes amusing but not original enough to stand out in a market saturated with similar offerings. Line drawings by Corinna Sargood. Author tour to Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. (May 8) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"This description of making heaven on earth ... is a delight." - "Independent on Sunday"
" This description of making heaven on earth ... is a delight." - "Independent on Sunday"

Thirty years ago, American political correspondent and journalist Marble and her sculptor husband decided to build their dream house and garden in Canale, a rustic village north of Rome. Marble fell in love with the beauty of the land and was grateful that the area had not yet been overrun with tourists. As her new book shows, she and her husband's enthusiasm was not hampered by the endless obstacles they faced while building their house and garden. Although a few chapters are devoted to planting seeds and growing peonies, irises, and trees, this is not strictly a gardening book. Most of the chapters (arranged by months) are about some of the colorful local characters who worked for them, such as Massimo, who terraced their property and ended up digging up their waterlines, and Fra Ubaldo, who, between naps and much wine drinking, finally directed them to an underground lake. One of the most delightful chapters recalls their maid Lucia, who was in search of a husband with a hot water shower. Both humorous and delightful, this beautifully written book is highly recommended for all libraries. Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence Computers Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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