The Reluctant Tuscan
The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran is one of many tales of people who have fallen in love with Italy and bought a house there - in this case by the author's wife as she attempts to convince him that they should make it their home. Anyone who reads Italia magazine will discover dozens of advertisements for houses - some mansions and some piles of rubble. The house purchased by Nancy Doran was the later. Nancy had fallen in love with Italy and wanted to spend her life there - she is a sculptor and found that Italy was the place where she wanted to work and live. Fine for her, but her husband, a writer for TV and film in Hollywood wasn't so sure he was prepared to give up his career and live there with her.
Fortunately Phil Doran is an amusing and competent writer so this book is fun to read - for all readers not just those wanting the same experience. Phil is forced, because of his love for his wife, to at least attempt to try this new life. He had quite a successful career in the United States but was not as happy as he wished with his present work, and was definitely living a life with more stress than he was comfortable with. But the thought of giving up his life's work and restoring a pile of rubble in Tuscany wasn't the change he had in mind. And a pile of rubble it was - and a pile of rubble that was tied up in all sorts of bureaucratic Italian knots. If not for Nancy's persistence the rubble would still be a pile.
With determination and cunning Nancy is able to make the politicians bend to her will and she eventually gets the building permits necessary to restore the house. Phil is willing to try - he takes Italian lessons and becomes literate - the big stumbling block I suspect for anyone who desires to make another country their home. I believe it was his ability to learn the language which, in fact, made it possible for him to eventually feel that Italy could become his home.
The couple does split their time between United States and Italy so although we don't get the update on their lives after the book ends, I imagine they found a way for Phil to continue to work in the United States and live in Italy, so that he did not, in the end, have to give up his work in order to live with his wife.
The author comes to love the Italian way of life and begins to understand that it is he who must adapt to a different pace of life in the countryside and accept the attitudes of the people. Being a sociable and friendly man he is able to find wonderful friends as his language skills improve.
For anyone planning to travel to Italy this would be a good read for the plane - for everyone else it is an escape to a world not many of us would chose any more willingly than the author - but will enjoy reading as much as the author must have had writing it.