I never meant to be an Italy lover! France and Greece were my obsessions. But when I set out to visit those two destinations long ago in 1969, the only way to get from Paris to Athens was through Italy, so I decided to make a quick stopover in Rome.
It was love at first sight! My intended overnight stay turned into a week-long courtship that was destined to become a lifetime passionate affair. On my way back to the US, I tossed my coin into Trevi Fountain, vowing to return as soon as I could scrape up the meager funds required for international travel in those glorious good old days. Thus in 1972, I took up residence in a tiny apartment overlooking an ancient courtyard down the street from Campo de’ Fiori, and for the next 18 years, through a succession of terrace-enhanced dwellings, I made Rome my home, first teaching English to aerospace engineers, then hosting a daily morning radio program, then translating books and screenplays and finally, even writing and collaborating on screenplays myself.
When I moved back to the US in 1990, I was chasing another dream: to sell one of my screenplays and launch a fabulous career on the Silver Screen. Well, not much came of that! But once again, the unexpected detour proved to be as interesting as the road not taken: with my partner Patrick Cooper I started a post-production company that prepared major motion pictures for the worldwide foreign market. Soon, life in Los Angeles was pleasant, business was booming, and times were good.
And yet, I couldn’t stop missing Italia! What kind of day doesn’t start at the café downstairs, sipping a cappuccino and reading the newspaper and participating in the daily update on all the neighborhood gossip? Can life really be thrilling without the challenges of paying bills at the post office, riding a motorbike on the sampietrini cobblestones, or hanging laundry with a view of the Pantheon? The nostalgia was killing me! And so I started a monthly newsletter, rather wishfully calling it In Italy. We wrote stories about Il Bel Paese, printed them up and mailed the newsletter to our subscribers until 1993, when a techie friend surprised us by putting a few articles on something called The World Wide Web. Those were the days before blogs — even before Google! — and In Italy Online debuted as the very first Internet site about Italy. So beguiled was I by this newfangled technology that allowed me to add, modify, update and disseminate more and more knowledge about Italy, we eventually closed the post-production company and dedicated ourselves lock, stock and barrel to our burgeoning URL. At one point, our site offered up over 4000 pages of information about history, art, food, wine, folklore, natural wonders and yes, BOOKS about Italy. So many books! Has any country ever inspired so many foreigners to write about every aspect of its majesty? Just like me, the writers of the world couldn’t stop digging up new and fascinating information and inspirations.
I continued at the helm of In Italy Online until 2014, when I sold the site and joined the ranks of the officially retired. Still, I will never retire from singing the praises of Italy, which has once again become my home since moving to an ancient Umbrian village a few years back. And so I have created Books About Italy, in order to provide a single resource where you can find hundreds of tomes about everything — from fiction to guidebooks, biographies to cookbooks, language studies to children’s books and more. On the home page you can easily search by category; or just consult the main index if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift. Feel free to contact me with requests or suggestions, and thank you for joining me in my love for Italy and all things Italian.