Seven Seasons in Siena: My Quixotic Quest for Acceptance Among Tuscany's Proudest People

Robert Rodi. Ballantine, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-345-52105-7
Memoirist and prolific author Rodi (Fag Hag) is an enthusiast. While many people like Siena, he loves it. While many people wish for a reason to return to the Tuscan town famous for its traditional horse race, the Palio, Rodi made a reason to go. Watching the race surrounded by Sienese wearing the colors of their contrada, or neighborhood, Rodi became deeply intrigued with this unique culture. Despite limited Italian and a full life elsewhere, Rodi decided to return again and again—seven times in all. This book is the story of how he parlayed his friendship with a local tour guide into a genuine connection with the members of the Caterpillar contrada. Rodi's enthusiasm and humility—he loves a story where he looks bad–are charming, and it's easy to share his interest in this town where teenagers and 90-year-olds are bound by a shared love for their contrada. While the rhythms of a year organized around the Palio can get a little repetitive, Rodi does a good job of keeping things fresh and introducing us to the people he meets, their rituals, and the world they inhabit. Throughout, he's unabashed about what's driving him: the desire to be recognized as more than a tourist, the dream of being received as a member of the tribe. His desire will surely resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love with a far away place. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 150 pages - 978-0-345-52107-1
Show other formats
Discover what to read next