Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Palladian Days

The Villa Cornaro, which I wrote about in my last post, is the subject of a charming book written by its American owners -- Palladian Days: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House.

Sally and Carl Gable bought the villa in the late 1980s and keep it as a second home. Despite the grandeur of the house, the book is a surprisingly down-to-earth account of buying and renovating the property and living in an Italian village.

The book successfully combines several popular genres. It's the story of a lawyer and his wife from Atlanta moving to a small village in Italy and dealing with the colourful aspects of life there - think Peter Mayle transplanted from Provence to the Veneto. It's also a story about property renovation, and all the frustrations, expense and eventual pleasure of doing up an old house. In addition to the usual troublesome builders and dodgy plumbing, there are nests of scorpions and 450 year old frescos to deal with. Finally, it's a travel guide to Venice and the surrounding region, with some recipes thrown in for good measure.

It's not a heavyweight architectural book by any measure, but well worth a read to see how a modern American couple actually live in one of Palladio's villas.

Available from Amazon.com

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