Friday, July 13, 2012

More Italian Postcards

Portofino, Italy

"Such beauty; and she there to see it.  Such beauty; and she alive to feel it.   Her face was bathed in light.  Lovely scents came up to the window and caressed her.  A tiny breeze gently lifted her hair.  Far out in the bay a cluster of almost motionless fishing boats hovered like a flock of white birds on the tranquil seal  How beautiful, how beautiful. Not to have died before have been allowed to see, breathe, feel this...She stared, her lips were parted. Happy? Poor, ordinary, everyday word.  But what could one say, how could one describe it?  It was as though she could hardly stay inside herself, it was as though she were too small to hold so much of joy, it was as though she were washed through with light.  And how astonishing to feel this sheer bliss..."

--  Elizabeth Von Arnim, "The Enchanted April"


"Sunshine and wisteria" -- that was the promise of the advertisement for a small castle on the shores of the Mediterranean that take four women to Italy in "The Enchanted April."  In this book Elizabeth Von Arnim wrote about the miraculous effects of an Italian holiday and the restorative powers of Italy.  It tells the story of four repressed English women who travel from England to Italy and stay in an enchanting castle for a month.  Their lives change and their hearts soften because of the natural beauty of their surroundings -- the "sunshine and wisteria" of their rented castle in Italy.  It is there that they find love and happiness, and are also able to liberate their true natures.   Elizabeth Von Arnim wrote the book while staying at the Portofino Castello in the 1920's during the month of April.

If you are dreaming about Italy and would love to spend a month in the glorious Italian countryside,  read "The Enchanted April."  It will take you there.  Elizabeth Von Arnim's classic book is an inspiring and delightful read and evokes all the sensual pleasures of Italy.  It will make you want to go to Italy and also want to know these women.

Books and travel take us places.  If you can't get to the Italian Riviera or Tuscany this summer, there are many books that will take you there.   Go here for more suggestions.

Have a lovely weekend!

Photo via here


  1. I love that book!
    Her writing is so delicious I feel transported to another time and place and enjoy every minute I spend with my nose in her book.
    It's a good time to read this again...thank you for the reminder.

  2. I have a wonderful old first edition of this book and it's been years and years since I peeked inside it. Thanks so much for the reminder, Sunday! I am heading out of town tomorrow and I know just the book to take now!

  3. I love blogs for the books I discover through them but I also love to read a favourite & familiar passage when quite unexpected. Lovely to have a short reminder of The Enchanted April, thank you & hope you have an enchanting weekend.

  4. Any quick suggestions of novels that can take us to France? France is calling my name these days

    1. How about "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle, "My Life in France" by Julia Child or "The Sweet Life in Paris" by David Lebovitz? I really enjoyed all three of these.

    2. Oops, I just noticed you asked for novels. Hmmm...will think about that. Julia Child and David Lebovitz will definitely make you crave French food!

    3. How about "Tender is the Night"?

  5. A beautiful landscape. "The Enchanted April" sounds wonderful. I am not familiar with it. Although I am in the middle of a book I spent a little time browsing through our one local bookstore this afternoon. I ended up bring home Stella Gibbon's "Cold Comfort Farm". I read it a few years ago and thought it might be nice to revisit. Tomorrow is our local library's book sale. I love spending a couple of hours browsing what others discard. I often find a treasure. Have a wonderful weekend. Bonnie

  6. I saw the movie, but have never read the book. Thanks for the suggestion as I'm always dreaming about being in Italy.