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The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit

The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit

Hardback

By (author) Helena Attlee

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  • Publisher: Particular Books
  • Format: Hardback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 27mm | 503g
  • Publication date: 3 April 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846144302
  • ISBN 13: 9781846144301
  • Sales rank: 45,714

Product description

Travellers have always been thrilled by the sight of citrus in Italy, where dark leaves and bright fruit seem to charge the landscape, making the trees symbols of a sun-soaked, poetic vision of the country. Citrus also holds a special place in the Italian imagination, and in The Land Where Lemons Grow, Helena Attlee sets out to explore its curious past and its enduring resonance in Italian culture. Building on a life of travel and work in Italy, she undertakes a journey encompassing the sticky streets of Ivrea during the Battle of Oranges, the comfortable gardens of Tuscany's villas and a magic triangle of land in Sicily, where the best blood oranges in the world grow in the shadow of a volcano. She maps the citron's long migration from the foothills of the Himalayas to the shores of southern Italy, traces the bitter juice of Seville oranges through ancient Roman and Renaissance cookery books, exposes early manifestations of the Mafia during the nineteenth-century citrus boom, and laments the loss of landscapes shaped by citrus cultivation. The book is a celebration of the unique qualities of Italy's citrus fruit, from bergamot that will thrive only on a short stretch of coastline, to Calabria's Diamante citrons, vital to Jews all over the world during the celebration of Sukkoth. The Land Where Lemons Grow is a heady mixture of travel writing, history, horticulture and art; a unique journey through Italy's cultural, culinary and political past. Helena Attlee is the author of four books about Italian gardens, and others on the cultural history of gardens around the world. Helena is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and has worked in Italy for nearly 30 years.

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Author information

Helena Attlee is the author of four books about Italian gardens, and others on the cultural history of gardens around the world. Helena is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and has worked in Italy for nearly 30 years.

Review quote

Thrillingly sensual, and zesty in every sense, Helena Attlee is the best of companions as she leads us through sundrenched citrus groves and in and out of history. A book full of surprises, with many curiosities, stories and recipes on the way -- Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Inspired and inspiring, in prose as sharp as the fruit it celebrates -- David Wheeler, editor of Hortus This is the first among my books of the year. Every page of Attlee's subtle fusion of history and horticulture made me feel that it's time to pack the bags again for Italy -- Jonathan Keates Literary Review 4 stars. Attlee, who knows and loves Italy and the Italians, takes the reader through the country's scented gardens with her sharp descriptions, pertinent stories and quotes and intriguing recipes. I was there with her -- Anna del Conte Sunday Telegraph Fascinating ... A distinguished garden writer, Attlee fell under the spell of citrus over ten years ago and the book, like the eleventh labour of Hercules to steal the golden fruit of the Hesperides, is the result. She writes with great lucidity, charm and gentle humour, and wears her considerable learning lightly ... Helena Attlee's elegant, absorbing prose and sure-footed ability to combine the academic with the anecdotal, make The Land Where Lemons Grow a welcome addition to the library of citrologists and Italophiles alike The Times Literary Supplement A paradise of citrus is how I always think of Italy too: a place where ice-cold limoncello is sipped from tiny glasses on piazzas, and everything from ricotta cake to osso bucco is enlivened with zest. What a joy, therefore, to read Helena Attlee's The Land Where Lemons Grow, which tells the story of Italy through its citrus fruit -- Bee Wilson Telegraph Truly fascinating ... For many years, Attlee has been collecting evidence for a story of citrus trees in Italy. The result, The Land Where Lemons Grow, is remarkable, excellently produced and essential for all lovers of Italy, their summer libraries and out-of-season itineraries ... Attlee's book is unmissable for anyone intrigued by the relation between humans' travel, greed and ingenuity and the spread of the plants that we eat, smell and drink -- Robin Lane Fox Financial Times