Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide

Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide

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By (author) Dario Castagno, By (author) Robert Rodi

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  • Publisher: Falcon Guides
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 198mm x 23mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 18 September 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Guilford, CT
  • ISBN 10: 0762736704
  • ISBN 13: 9780762736706
  • Edition statement: First.
  • Illustrations note: b&w and colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 334,389

Product description

Over the past several years, "the American in Tuscany" has become a literary subgenre. Launched by the phenomenal success of Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, bookstores now burgeon with nimble, witty accounts of this clash in cultures-Americans trying to do American things in Italy and bumping against a brick wall of tradition. Before this subgenre exhausts itself, it's only fair that we hear the other side of the story-that of a native Tuscan and of dozens of Americans who have stormed through his life and homeland, determined to find in it whatever they are looking for, whether quaintness or wisdom, submission or direction. There is no one better to provide this view than Dario Castagno. A Tuscan guide whose client base is predominantly American, Dario has spent more than a decade taking individuals and small groups on customized tours through the Chianti region of Tuscany. Reared in Britain through early childhood, he speaks English fluently and is therefore capable of fully engaging his American clients and getting to know them. Too Much Tuscan Sun is Dario's account of some of his more remarkable customers, from the obsessive and the oblivious to the downright lunatic. It is also a primer on Tuscany--its charms and its culture. Structured around a typical Tuscan year, Dario takes us through the sights, smells, and sounds of Chianti during each of the twelve months, including the festivities and pageantry that accord with the season, most notable the Palio-the bareback horse race that consumes the social energies of the people of Siena for all of July and August. Dario also intersperses an account of his own life and times-that of a transplanted British "little lord" who learns to love the wilds of Chianti; of his discovery and adoption of abandoned peasant farmhouses; of his apprenticeship in the wine industry; and of his arduous transformation from bohemian layabout to thriving Tuscan guide. But the bulk of the book is devoted, with humor and affection, to the Americans he has met-the vain, the silly, the ignorant, the ambitious, the horny, the condescending, the charming, and the outright pathological. Some of them have made his life hell and live in his nightmares; others became lifelong friends.

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Author information

Dario Castagno was born in England to Italian parents and moved with his family to Tuscany when he was ten. Through his company, Chianti Rooster Tours, he has guided small groups of visitors--mostly Americans--to his favorite spots in the Chianti region for more than ten years. This is his first book. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment, however, is claiming membership in Siena's Caterpillar contrada, which won the Palio in 2003.

Back cover copy

Recent years have seen a virtual flood of books about Tuscany first-person accounts about Americans trying to do American things in Italy and bumping up against a centuries-old stone wall of tradition. It s only fair that we now hear a native Tuscan s side of the story. Who better to provide that view than Dario Castagno, a British-born, Tuscan-raised tour guide who has spent more than a decade leading Americans into the heart of Tuscany s Chianti region. In this lively, candid memoir, Dario looks at the Americans who have stormed through his life and his homeland. Some tested his sanity, others became lifelong friends. With wry humor and affection, Dario recalls some of his more remarkable clients the delightful, the vain, the silly, the ignorant, the ambitious, the amorous, the condescending, the lovely, and the outright crazy. He also shares an account of his own life and times his transformation from bohemian layabout to thriving tour guide and offers an enchanting introduction to the charms of Tuscany over the course of a year. Through his company, Chianti Rooster Tours, Dario Castagno guides small groups of visitors to his favorite spots in the Chianti region of Italy. He belongs to Siena s Caterpillar contrada, which in 2003 won the Palio the wildly popular bareback horse race that takes place in Siena each summer."

Table of contents

(1) Ringraziamenti (2) Introduction: Americans through Tuscan Eyes (3) Discovering Chianti (4) January and the Athletes (5) Chianti and "Chianti" (6) February and the Honeymooners (7) Cradle of Genius (8) March and the Oenophile (9) Fosco's House (10) April and the Know-it-alls (11) Love Among the Ruins (12) May and the Collector (13) Intervallo: The Dutch (14) The Black Rooster (15) The First Excursion (16) July and the Palio (17) Us versus Them (18) August and the Lovers (19) Intervallo: The American Caterpillar (20) Playing Offense (21) September and the Timekeeper (22) Strangers in a Strange Land (23) October and the Coach Tour (24) Intervallo: Death and Life in America (25) November and the Devoted Mother (26) All About Babs (27) December with the College Student (28) The Tour That Wasn't (29) Intervallo: From the Other Side of the Van (30) Conclusion: La Macia