Dear Francesca, Mary Contini
Written by leading cookery author Mary Contini, (Cesidio's sister) this delightful narrative tells the tale of the Di Ciacca family, tracing their journey from the barren Abruzzi mountains to the chilly streets of post- war Edinburgh. Addressing her daughter Francesca as she embarks on independent life, this is a compelling, often moving, family history in which Mary describes her ancestors' loves and lives in their adopted homeland where traditions were kept alive around the dinner table. With characters as colourful as in any novel, this is a book that will appeal to anyone who loves Italian food and wishes to share in a sense of family. It adds up to one of the most original books for food lovers in recent years, blending great narrative with heartwarming recipes and recollections.
Dear Olivia, Mary Contini
In this fascinating follow-up to the highly successful "Dear Francesca", Mary Contini (Cesidio's sister) writes to her other daughter, Olivia, to tell the story of her great-grandparents, the humble Italian shepherds who emigrated to Edinburgh and then helped to transform Britain's food culture. Sharing some of the recipes that they brought over - the tomatoes, the garlic, the sausage, the wine - this is a mouthwatering memoir of family and food. It is also a brilliant evocation of life between the wars, a triumphant story of survival against all the odds, that captures the sights and smells of Italian life and culture, at home and abroad.
Picinisco - A Thousand Years of History - by Virginia Arcari
Long ago in Picinisco, People could reach the age of 120 with eyesight so perfect they could easily thread a needle, even though they had no teeth to eat crusts of bread! Shepherds navigated the moonlit mountainside with skills that rivaled ancient mariners! Men, women and children and even animals wore amulets to protect against the "evil eye"! Imagine living on top of a mountain in southern Italy with the rolling landscape of the beautiful Comino Valley at your feet. The sounds of rushing rivers bringing freezing cold water from the snow-capped mountains glistening in the distance and the wind whistling through the lush dark forests. Bells peal from the Church to call everyone from their fields for a mid-day repast. How did it come to pass that a town was built on an isolated mountaintop 1000 years ago? What was it like to live on a feudal estate in the Kingdom of Naples? How did the people there make a living? Was it dangerous? What did they eat? What happened if they got sick? At least some of the answers are inside this book and you do not have to speak Italian to find them!
The Wandering Minstrel - by Colliardo Corragioso (otherwise Eugenio D’ Agostino)
The enthralling life odyssey of Eugenio D'Agostino is recounted in this extraordinary memoir. It is an astonishing. long-lost narrative that allows us to recapture the fading memory of the early years of Italian immigration to the United Kingdom. D'Agostino's chronicle is possibly the only such surviving personal account of a boyhood and youth spent travelling the highways and byways of northern England and rural Wales as an itinerant street musician in the 1890s. From this precarious and challenging livelihood, progression in manhood to vending the more lucrative delicacy of ice cream, typified the Italian highway. By following in Eugenio's footsteps. we learn so much about the path of so many. From the poverty of mountainous hamlets in the south of Italy. through the immeasurable cruelty of his padrone or boss, to independence and final security and success in Edinburgh as a businessman, we relive the remarkable journey. Eugenio D'Agostino's vivid descriptions give rare insight as adventure and misadventure combine, creating a life narrative that surprises, even shocks, but one which ultimately gives a tasting sense of courage, resilience and achievement.
In Love and War - A letter to my parents, Maria Corelli
"This is the most difficult letter I have ever written because I have to tell you something very serious and perhaps you will say terrible and sad. I ask you if possible not to judge me until we have been able to see each other and talk about it...". In a letter to her parents, written in Rome in the summer of 1944, Maria Corelli tells of her life on the run in Italy during the Second World War. As the Germans approach, she and her husband risk their lives to follow their friend, a Jewish musician, into hiding in the mountains...only to find their own relationship broken apart.
A Sense of Ancient Gods, Anthony Pacitto
"1919 - The Great War is finally over. D. H. Lawrence had not been called up, his health too frail for military service. But for Lawrence and his German wife Frieda, the war years had brought trials and hardships of their own. Poor, embittered, and physically exhausted, in November 1919, Lawrence left England for his beloved Italy. In December, Frieda joined him. After a few days sightseeing in Florence, they headed south for Rome — and it was at this point that they made a little-known excursion out into the wilds of the snow-capped Abruzzo mountains to stay with a strange old character who had been an artist’s model in late Victorian London, one Orazio Cervi... ...It is unlike anything they had expected, as if they have crossed a hidden frontier into a land of myth, the unearthly paean of ancient bagpipes, the men, like brigands, with conical hats, skin sandals, and white swathed legs, the women, dark eyed, and with something of the hex in them - It was another world, its own world - beautiful, ugly, harsh, cunning, threatening - all this he could see... The icy harsh mountain conditions should make them move on. But something holds them there, something almost spectral, the mysterious influence of the mountains themselves. Digging deep into their already depleted physical and emotional reserves, they settle in, and wait...