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Florence and Me

(...And Me #1)

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4.5  ·  Rating details ·  30 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
A true story of how Elaine lived a most extraordinary lifestyle, learning the Italian language, meeting interesting people while teaching English, and exploring the most beautiful city in Italy. Many incidents were laughable and often embarrassing, as she attempted to become an adopted “Fiorentina”. However, these unforgettable experiences rewarded her with a profound sens ...more
Kindle Edition, 63 pages
Published May 12th 2014 by Elaine Bertolotti
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W.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Florence and Me is a charming book about how a Brooklyn girl moves to Florence, Italy, during the ‘70s, and starts a new life. The memoir is organized into concise chapters, each one a vignette about the many adventures the writer has as she finds her footing. In the beginning, her Italian is sub-par and she mangles the pronunciation of Italian words, leading to humorous misunderstandings. Over time, she finds a roommate, enrolls in art school, gets over her fear of making phone calls in Italian ...more
Susan Anderson
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Delicious evocation of Florence, city of art

I loved this book, wonderful travelogue but so much more, of Florence, of art, of youth, a young woman spreading her wings and drinking in the culture and the city. So many facts from an insider's point of view. Couldn't put it down. Don't miss this one.
Patrick Murphy
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie-authors
Having recently traveled to Italy, I was interested in what this young American woman had experienced back in the 70s, when she moved to Florence and took on a culture so vast and different... all by herself.

What I found was a quick, fun read full of memories, humor, and information. The author's positive, playful way of telling the story works... I smiled a lot. A light read with plenty to say. Clear and concise.

It's broken down into short chapters and I think that worked really well for me, to
...more
Amie's Book Reviews
* I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This book is a relatively short travel memoir. I am an avid traveller myself and always keep a journal during my trips so I am always interested in reading memoirs of other people's adventures. I suppose it is a way to learn about new places in a personal way. Travel websites are too dry to hold any appeal for me and it is through memoirs that I have added many places that I would like to visit ont
...more
Piccolo Fortunato
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
What a charming read! Not only does the author take you with her into the markets, shops, restaurants and museums of Florence to meet her neighbors who were her first teachers, and later her students to whom she taught art and English—but back to a time when we installed telephones and jumped up from an armchair to answer a boyfriend’s call, wrote long lyrical letters and checked the mailbox with anticipation.

Some details are timelessly amusing: her slip-ups in Italian complimenting a friends ag
...more
Book Preview Review
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, italian-theme
Book Description:

“A true story of how Elaine lived a most extraordinary lifestyle, learning the Italian language, meeting interesting people while teaching English, and exploring the most beautiful city in Italy. Many incidents were laughable and often embarrassing, as she attempted to become an adopted “Fiorentina”. However, these unforgettable experiences rewarded her with a profound sense of accomplishment..”



Thrill and excitement emit from the voice of Bertolotti as she describes and reminisc
...more
J.D.R. Hawkins
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Florence and Me was a very fun read, and gave me the opportunity to learn everything I need to know when traveling to Italy. From learning the language to finding ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner (Who knew Italians use sweet potatoes as houseplants!) to indulging in authentic cuisine, the book enlightened me in all things Italian. I would relish the chance to go shopping in Florence, and now I know how to barter with the local salespeople. The culture and people were described as simply cha ...more
Stacie Orion
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I lived in Germany for a year and the stories that Elaine Bertolotti paints in Florence and Me are all too relatable. From learning the language to assimilating with the culture, I found myself feeling the nostalgia of my own experience but at the same time going through it again alongside the author. I've been to Milan, Venice, and Florence, and would have to say that Florence is by far the most beautiful and magical of the three. The Duomo, the Old Bridge, the Uffizzi...there is so much histor ...more
Pennie
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing quite like a true story to whet the appetite. An American girl from Brooklyn packs up her gear and flies across the pond to Italy. There, she makes feeble attempts to adopt its culture. Humorous and somewhat embarrassing scenarios make its way through her penned memoirs.

This story of travel and grappling at the chance to adjust to the Italian lifestyle. Elaine tracks through Florence for a period of five years during the 1970's, this is the place where her ancestors come from.

Sh
...more
Allan Reeve
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book tells the true story of Elaine leaving the bright city lights of New York for the humble life in Florence, Italy as a Italo-American. Having Italian blood in me I have always been intrigued into learning more about my heritage. This book helped me learn Italian!!! It was great read, learning about mosquitos (called zanzare in Italy) that act as a early morning alarm clock.

Also it was quite amusing to find that it normally takes 8 months and 3 formal letters to get your phone connected!
...more
John Eakins
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful little book about Elaine's arriving as a tourist and staying to become the resident American in the beautiful, friendly city of Florence. Elaine shows and tells how she and her roommate progressed from not speaking Italian at all to being so fluent that neither tourists nor Italians could tell they were Americans.

Elaine has organized the book by topic (language, cooking, teaching English, painting, etc.) and her progress in each. She details many scenes that occurred as she progresse
...more
H.E. Rybol
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Elaine Bertolotti’s enthusiasm and love for Florence is contagious! In “Florence and Me”, Bertolotti weaves together personal stories with history, traditions and observations. She shares her stumbling blocks to learning a new language and the different phases you go through once you can actually get yourself to speak it. She tells of the kindness of strangers, the blackout and how to mail letters when there’s a postal strike. Bertolotti writes about the five years she lived in Florence with hum ...more
Peggy
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This lovely memoir is charming, engaging and very humorous at times. Having had a home in France myself for several years, I could clearly identify with the author's trial and error cultural faux pas'. I too walked around with a dictionary (French/English) in the beginning and thoroughly enjoyed her tale of babysitting and words lost in translation. (One day the woman asked me (in Italian) if I had fed the baby yet. I answered, without blinking an eye, "Si, ho mangiato la bambina un ora fa" (whi ...more
Amanda
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Florence and Me: The story of how the city of Florence befriended an American girl from Brooklyn is a well written and heart touching tail. There is also a good dosing of humor spread across the pages. I am a sucker for non-fiction and very much enjoyed reading Elaine’s experiences. Her writing has a nice flow and the pace was perfect. I found myself sucked in from page one and was reluctant for the story to end. I highly recommend this book.
Alex
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a charming little book about the author’s personal experience of moving to Florence from America in the 1970s. It is full of lots of episodes about life in Italy, local traditions and customs, the city’s churches and monuments, the writer’s struggle to learn a new language, her love of art and her feelings about the city of Florence. The style is very spontaneous and informal, in fact it almost feels more like a long letter from a friend living abroad, rather than a novel. A very pleasan ...more
Matteo Victor
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This easy-going story, has its own way of drawing the reader into Elaine’s life in the Florence of the 1970’s. I would describe this book is a collection of genuine thoughts mixed up with good feelings and funny events.

The writer shows her powerful ability to put into paper a good representation of her 5-year stay in “her beautiful” Florence.
Elaine is definitely a lively and resilient type, who doesn't stop at the first problems, but goes on till she gets what she wants: becoming a real Florent
...more
Italo Italophiles
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Florence and Me is dedicated "To everyone who loves Florence". The author, an American immigrant to Italy who gave me a review-copy, certainly loves the city, and she loved her time living there for five years beginning in 1971.

The excitement of every day being a new experience was intoxicating for the young version of the author. Anyone who has lived abroad for any length of time will recognize the exhilaration that the author describes, mainly through adapted excerpts from her lengthy letters
...more
Joe Pfeiler
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
With "Florence and Me," Elaine Bertolotti, artist and teacher of English as a second language to Italians of many ages, invites readers to share memories of her life in Italy. "Florence and Me" is not a conventional memoir, but simply a collection of memories, written into “shorts.” The stories are neither linear in time nor dependent on one another, so you can pick and choose what you read, and when.

Elaine’s memories of learning Italian, her initial stumbles to fluency, are more than simply amu
...more
Jim Mackie
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is the charming story of one girl’s love affair with Florence. The city, I mean! The authoress comes across as likeable and modest, and she clearly has a good sense of humour. Ok, she eats babies, but nobody’s perfect. Read the book to find out more and have a laugh….

The book is not big on lengthy descriptions of Florence, but there are loads of other books for that. It’s really the tale of how the author came to Florence to live in the seventies, it's about her determination to learn
...more
Celia Kennedy
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Author Elaine Bertolotti reminisces eloquently about her five year adventure in, Florence and Me.

A forger of her own destiny, Ms. Bertolotti longed to leave Brooklyn and live in the country of her ancestors. In the early 1970's, on a shoe-string budget and with the companionship of her new friend Chicca, the two women plunge themselves into life in Italy - taking on everything from shoe shopping to teaching, their maps and dictionaries always at the ready. While embracing her adventure whole-hea
...more
Subhajit Ganguly
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This short and sweet book follows the adventures of an Italian American girl in pre-mobile phone era Italy. She finds it quite tough at first adjusting to what appears to be a completely alien culture. However, after a series of witty twists and turns, she slowly begins to get her foothold. At the end of the journey, the Elaine from Brooklyn transforms to Eliana from Firenze.

Wit is a dying art, as they say. So, whenever I manage to get hold of a book like this, I take my time to savour it. The b
...more
Trish Jackson
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful story about a young girl's sojourn in and love affair with Florence, Italy in the early '70's.
It reads almost like a journal although the events are not in chronological order, and is written in a friendly, conversational tone. It describes the obstacles and joys of an American trying to make a life in a foreign country.
The first obstacle was the language, but once Elaine had mastered that, she and her roommate were able to earn enough money to survive on by giving English
...more
Elaine
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
FLORENCE AND ME is a memoir of my five years spent living in Florence Italy.

I never realized what surprising adventures awaited me as I struggled through learning the Italian language in the hopes of being declared a true “fiorentina”. I soon discovered that there were many things to learn besides the language. I had entered a new culture and I was determined to absorb everything around me . My memoirs recount all the laughable mistakes I made and all the unusual situations I found myself coping
...more
Michael Aloysius O'Reilly
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Florence and me is a sentimental and joyous recounting of the author’s years as a young artist living and learning in Firenze. The tale is told in a lovely shower of anecdotes and reminiscences. Exclamation points outnumber any sad encounters she must have had. I mean life does have its sad moments. But the author regales the reader with the joys of her second city and her growth as English teacher, painter and translator. And, in this short book, you meet her as a real person.
Having spent much
...more
Lisa
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Florence is a beautiful city that I love to visit. This book talks about an American girl who lived there for five years. I liked to read about her life there in the '70's and how she adapted to a new culture and lifestyle. She added interesting facts about the city as well as her experiences in learning the Italian language. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about Italy.
Lisa
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed learning about the city of Florence. Being of Italian descent, I am fascinated by books set in Italy. I hope to go someday and Elaine's book made me want to see my family's town. I enjoyed the funny stories that she shared with her readers, especially the parts about the language barrier. Great job and good luck with your future books.
Jay
rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2014
Jeannine Wallace
rated it it was ok
Nov 10, 2015
Lisa
rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2014
Sandy
rated it it was ok
Dec 18, 2014
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I'm an Italian American born in New York. Fate had it that I traveled to Italy, and fell in love with everything Italian, especialy the city of Florence. I left my teaching job to spend a year there and I ended up living in Florence for five years. I taught English and met wonderful people. I opened my own little Art Studio near the Piazza Annunziata, and I felt I was in Heaven!! But Fate didn't ...more

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