Book Review: Frances Mayes Always Italy by Frances Mayes & Ondine Cohane

April 6, 2020

Frances Mayes Always Italy by Frances Mayes & Ondine Cohane is a travel book and guide to the country which they both love. Ms. Mayes is a renowned writer of such books as Under the Tuscan Sun and other bestsellers. Ms. Cohane is a New York Times travel writer.

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The first thing I noticed about Frances Mayes Always Italy by Frances Mayes & Ondine Cohane is the quality of the book. The glossy photograph, shiny pages, and hardcover provide you hours of simply looking (jealously I might add), at the views and cuisines from that part of the world.

The glossy pictures almost allow you to smell and taste the delicacies featured, while the scenery makes you want to hop on a plane and go on a trip (once the pandemic is over). Each section have cool recommendations for the traveler, as well as a few history tidbits here and there.

Ms. Mayes talks about places to eat, tour, stay, even the uniqueness of the geography. She makes a point to write about little known places, restaurants, and trails as well as the premier spots which every tourist wants to experience.

The book is divides Italy into regions, and each region has a few pages on a specific topic. I especially enjoyed three sections in each part: In the Know, In Your Glass, and Local Flavors.

The In the Know Sections has tidbits area, which are enhance the experience for people who like to travel, not just go places. My favorite was Basilicata, which had sections on writers, such as Carlo Levi, a Jewish writer and artist who “was instrumental in documenting the region’s extreme poverty”, and about favorite movie locations in southern Italy.

The In Your Glass section is revered for local wines, ow they’re made, and how to enjoy them properly (if there even is such a thing). While the author does not recommend any specific wine, she does tell you about what are the specialties of each area.

Local Flavors is a subsection in the In the Know chapters, but as a foodie I think it deserves its own mention. When I travel with the family, we always make it a point to try and eat the local foods. We would make special excursions, out of the way to eat Buffalo wings in Buffalo, NY (at the Anchor Bar & Grill), or Philly cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, New England Clam Chowder in New England (our favorite was in Mystic, CT – and I don’t even like clam chowder), or a Jerusalem mixed grill in Jerusalem. So I appreciated these sections of local flavors very much.

Overall, I found this book to be interesting and enlightening. One can certainly tell that Ms. Mayes is passionate about Italy and I feel that every tourist will benefit from having this book when deciding on a vacation.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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