04 July 2002

Book Review: Extra Virgin (2001), by Annie Hawes, *****


A small stone house deep among the olive groves of Liguria, going for the price of a dodgy second-hand car. Annie Hawes and her sister, on the spot by chance, have no plans whatsoever to move to the Italian Riviera but find naturally that it's an offer they can't refuse. The laugh is on the Foreign Females who discover that here amongst the hardcore olive farming folk their incompetence is positively alarming. Not to worry: the thrifty villagers of Diano San Pietro are on the case, and soon plying the Pallid Sisters with advice, ridicule, tall tales and copious hillside refreshments ...


A very well written, passionate account of two English ladies sinking their roots in the Ligurian hills. They come to Italy with an open mind, fall in love with the land and become an integral part of the local community. Only very minor fault is that, while they have apparently learned Italian pretty well, there are still too many spelling errors in the book. Read this book and you will feel you are living their adventure with the authors. This is one of the best books by one of the many English people who move to Italy and choose to make it their home, relishing what is good and understanding what is not in this country.

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