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The Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old Land
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The Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old Land (The Tuscan Trilogy #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  817 ratings  ·  65 reviews
This hilarious, international bestseller is a true-life adventure of a New York City couple moving to Tuscany.

Ferenc Máté’s enthusiastic prose is infectious. He brings to life the real Tuscany: the contadini neighbors, country life—the harvest, grape, and olive picking, wine making, mushroom hunting, woodcutting—the holidays, and of course the never-ending, mouthwatering m
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Published April 30th 2010 by Albatross (first published November 2nd 1998)
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I was really prepared to hate this - the soft-focus mid-menopause cover contributed to a sense of dread about it. But as I'm writing about tuscany, I've had to plow through all sorts of sentimental drivel about the perfect eden that is the contado of tuscany, inhabited by peasants who are the salt of the earth and live in utter harmony with the hedgehogs.

I kept thinking as I read this book of an amazing cookbook I own called La Rocca, which is a record by a WA italian woman of her life and reci
Apr 21, 2009 Maribel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: arm chair travelers, Italophiles
Ok I know I say I LOVE THIS BOOK for just about every other book I read but I really do LOVE this book. I have been in love with Tuscany/Umbria and Provence for a while now and I love reading travel essays/memoirs. Most of them have been ok and I've enjoyed reading them but nothing like The Hills of Tuscany. Mate really really captures the essence of the region without wearing you out. Hard to explain. His writing is evocative and eloquent but still simple.
After slogging through the fist 50 pages, which are slow, this was a pleasure. The slower pace of life, friendships, beautiful Italy, all made this a delight to read.
Ty hvězdičky jsou jen tak, aby byly. Nedokážu to hodnotit, tuším, že úplně dobře by to nedopadlo. Francouzské a italské venkovské (příp. vinařské) příběhy jsou můj oblíbený kýč, takže mně se to líbilo :)
“One by one we emptied the bottles of wine in our tiny cantina, and little by little we learned about Tuscany—its hills, its light, its food and wine, and most importantly its simple, passionate, in-love-with-life people. And, almost in spite of ourselves, we learned to live and enjoy life as the Tuscans do—piano, piano, con calma [slowly, slowly, with calm].”

These are some of the concluding words that Ferenc Máté writes in his memoir The Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old Land (1998). They
OK, I guess I'm with the minority on this one...
I would re-read this book before I EVER read another book by Francis Mayes! Pardon me for not preferring that every descriptive paragraph end on a negative note.
I read this book while laying flat on my back hoping I could recover in time for a family trip to, yes, Tuscany. Mate encouraged me to get myself back in form and ready for the trip. He painted a wonderful, inviting picture for me, which did come true for us in our travels.
I loved the concept of this book, however the Author never really engaged me. I found the chapters quite disjointed, and it took FOREVER to get to the main point ie... the farmhouse. I loved their neighbors, Nonna and Paolucci and reading about the simple but fulfilling lifestyle they enjoyed and I can well understand the authors desire to do the same. There is nothing like making your own wine, growing your own olives and going fungi hunting.
Making our way through Montepulciano was so enjoyable
I love reading about Italy, but I'm beginning to realize that the reason these authors live such a charmed life in Tuscany and paint such glorious pictures is because they don't have to worry about the typical 9-5 job that bogs most individuals down. Their job is to enjoy the land, meet the people, and record it in such a way that makes any reader's heart melt. And I'm ok with that, but after an Italy-loving friend returned from Tuscany after being there for a month and said, "I could never live ...more
I've read A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream ("book two") before this book, and somehow, this worked against me.

You don't necessarily have to read Máté's books in order. Basically the first book tells the story of Ferenc Máté and his wife Candace giving up their nomad lifestyle to settle down in Tuscany. The second book, taking place a few years later, sees them selling their home to open up a vineyard and make their own wine.

Both books are brilliant in describing the beautiful Tuscan l
Ah, Tuscany! I love you so. I have armchair traveled there many times, and will visit in person someday.

I loved reading about how one couple relocated to a small village in Tuscany and learned to live among the locals. I read with jealousy how they simplified their lives and settled into the slower routine. I would love to be able to do something similar someday. Whenever I read about Tuscany, something pulls at my soul. Having no Italian blood in my heritage, I find it odd, so it must be my sou
Made me long for a return trip to Tuscany. Equally enchanting and overwritten. Long descriptions of the Tuscan countryside, which no doubt stirs inspiration when witnessed in the first person, however the author's poetic ramblings about it quickly became tedious. "Ghosting" as a verb was new to me and repeated every few chapters, as if repetition could reinforce word choice. Hills frequently undulated. Roads/trails/paths often meandered. Maybe I was impatient because having made my first visit l ...more
This book reminded me of the Tuscany I once knew, but it probably could have been longer and more descriptive. There were some spots where I got lost in what he was talking about and had to reread again and again the paragraph, but it was a good read, especially as a summer novel by the beach.
Ich habe nach der Hälfte aufgegeben. Ich dachte es geht um das Leben in der Toskanna und nicht, wie der Immobilienmarkt funktioniert und wie die tausend besuchten Häuser aussehen. Außerdem fand ich die Beschreibungen der italienischen Menschen sehr herablassend.
Bess Eckstein
Loved it! Felt like Peter Mayle - certainly as good - and yet I had never heard of the author.... What a shame. He's since written several others and I can't wait to get started on them!
Donna DeKeyrel I am reading this book while IN how could I not love it!? I wish we were brave enough (and had the funds!!!) to do what they did. It sounds so romantic and peaceful. Made me a little sad that I am in the walls of Lucca.....and not in the country. But only a little. Especially since I do not have a car....only public transit.

The author does make the life sound so simple while I know there are MANY frustrations. Still......
Karen Murphy
I fully enjoyed the slow pace of this book and the descriptions of everyday life in Tuscany.
Jun 12, 2013 Tina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Italy
Shelves: italy
Author Ferenc Mate and his wife Candace did what many of us would to – moved to a country where the food, wine and ambiance leaves you with a permanent vacation state of mind. OK, maybe that didn’t happen to them but I would wager it could be that way for me and my husband. Tuscany. Just stating Tuscany evokes images of rolling green hills, vineyards, small local cafes serving strong coffee and homemade pastries....

Full review and photos may be found at Novel Meals:
Iciar Piera
En realidad es un 3,5. Otra delicia en la Toscana
This was a new author for me. I picked this book because it was about Tuscany. It was delightful to read. I not only learned some interesting facts about places in Tuscany but also some Italian words and phrases by reading this book. The author gives you a feel for the place, the people and what happens during the different seasons in Tuscany and what it is like to live there. I am even more excited now to go to some of the places mentioned in the book. I will be interested in reading some of th ...more
Since I can't go live in Europe myself (at least not right now:) I have to settle for reading about it. This lighthearted memoir of the author and his wife as they give up their world travels and look to dwelling permanently in the Tuscan hills. He chronicles his experiences in not speaking the language, exploring the territory with his neighbors, new foods, challenges of remodeling an ancient cottage in the middle of nowhere - makes for a delight read in my opinion.
The book is full of descriptions of beautiful scenery, fine food and rustic locals. That's enough for it to be a winner for many people. However, there’s something false about this “true” story. The people in it are not quite real, more like portraits on a pretty canvass. As for the situations he described, they sound contrived. For example, his wife can speak Italian and he can’t, but he goes to the real estate agent to buy a house while his wife stays home!
Read the vineyard book first and tripped over this in a thrift store. As long as you aren't the type of person who is easily persuaded, the book is a fun introduction to the author and his love affair with Tuscany and his wife. Having traveled there before it definitely entices me back; much better than Mayes who I find to be entirely too entitled.
Others really hated this book, but for some reason I liked it. A little Tuscan escape. Got my mind thinking & wondering. Got reminded of taking a step away from your constant day-to-day chaos to realize more what is truly important and enjoying simple things. Definitely made me want to have my own adventure of exploring some new far off place by the end.
This is a true story about a couple who move to Tuscany, find a place to buy, and what happens to them along the way. Lots of description of the countryside, the food, and the people they encounter. It's a cute story, easy to read, and it made me long for a life in the country filled with lots of wine, cheese, bread, and olive oil :)
Joyce Harmon
Jul 29, 2007 Joyce Harmon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who dreams of going to Tuscany
This is not "Under the Tuscan Sun." First of all, it is much better (I've read both because I WILL go to Tuscany before I am cremated with my copy of Dandelion Wine)and secondly, it's about ordinary people (with a little money obviously)not a professor from CA who only lives part time in Tuscany.
I'm enamoured with Ferenc Mate's style of writing. Witty and funny and yet with a sensuality that brings the beauty of the hills of Tuscany into vivid realism as you read his well chosen words. I loved turning every page of this book and was saddened when there were no more. Well done!
Oct 10, 2010 Marcia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a few months before I was lucky enough to go to Tuscany on my first Eurpean trip! I was truly psyched for the countryside, food, wine, and laid back middays there, by reading Mate's wonderful book about he and his wife exploring and moving to Tuscany.
Kevin Donohue
Great atmosphere. Good read to get lost in.
I recommend reading this when you've already booked your ticket to Italy. Otherwise, it's torture. Very vivid descriptions of the rolling hills, cuisine, wine, colors, fragrances, architecture and characters of Tuscany. I can't wait to go back!
I enjoyed reading this book set in Tuscany as my husband and I were in the process of cycling through it, but if you haven't visited or are planning to visit there's not enough of a story here to make it worth reading.
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Ferenc Máté has made a career of out documenting his own quests—whether it’s restoring a Tuscan ruin, building a vineyard from scratch, or sailing the seven seas.

Born in Transylvania, he escaped at age eleven when the Hungarian revolution was crushed by Soviet tanks. He grew up in Vancouver and has lived in California, Paris, Rome, the Bahamas and New York. He has worked on a railroad extra-gang a
More about Ferenc Máté...

Other Books in the Series

The Tuscan Trilogy (4 books)
  • A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream
  • The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security & the Good Life - Making the Tuscan Lifestyle Your Own
  • The Tuscan Trilogy: The Hills of Tuscany / A Vineyard in Tuscany / The Wisdom of Tuscany
A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security & the Good Life - Making the Tuscan Lifestyle Your Own Ghost Sea: A Novel A Real Life: A Simpler, Secure, Healthier Future

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