The author came from Australia to settle in Montalcino, a Tuscan mountain eyrie famous for its wine. Her account of life there offers a rare insight into the anxiety, joy, fun and pressure of inhabiting this medieval village.
Vanilla Beans and Brodo: Real Life in the Hills of Tuscany by Isabella Dusi
Foreign writers living in Italy frequently treat the local people as an exotic species to provide amusing stories for their readers. Sipping cappuccino and supping pasta, rarely do they perceive what is going on around them, nor understand the complexity of life for today's Italians. Isabella Dusi, a native Australian, settled in Montalcino, a beautiful mountain eyrie famous for its wine and the proud nature of its inhabitants, five years ago. Her acceptance into this close-knit community was a hard-won thing and has inspired Isabella to capture the true spirit of Montalcino. Vanilla Beans and Brodo tells of the bloody history of this mediaeval village which has lefts its mark on the character traits of the Montalcinese, but also offers a rare insight into the anxiety, joy, fun and pressure of daily life as it unfolds with the seasons. An evocative story of the rivalry between village neighbourhoods, of football fever and festival pageantry, Isabella Dusi destroys the myth that Tuscan villages are tranquil places and instead reveals a life infinitely rich and full of dramas. This moving, often humorous journey will change forever the cliched image of Tuscany and bring real understanding of the fierce passion of today's Tuscans for their ancient village, their fertile land and their life in Montalcino.