Join Lenora Boyle in Italy, the land of passion and possibilities.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Excerpt from "100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go" and Book Giveaway Contest

by Susan Van Allen from MyBellaVita's blog contest.

Because I thoroughly enjoyed the book and since I'm teaching my 2nd annual Women's Retreat in Italy to 'live la dolce vita', I am offering a FREE copy too. All you need to do to enter the contest is to LEAVE A COMMENT on THIS post, between today, June 11 and Sunday, June 20, midnight eastern time.

Since Susan Van Allen opened my eyes to the courageous Anita Garibaldi, and because my workshop will be in the region of Liguria, I'm sharing this excerpt from Chapter 37, Parchi di Nervi--Liguria.

"Catch the spirit of gutsy, gorgeous Anita Garibaldi as you walk

along the seaside path named in her honor. Waves crash against

rugged cliffs, as you look out to stunning views of Portofino

and the Cinque Terre. Flanking the other side of the Anita

Garibaldi Path are three villa lawns that comprise the Parchi

di Nervi. They are shaded by palm trees and pines, filled with

exotic plants and Mediterranean flowers.

The Genoa elite used to come here to escape the summer

heat, but now it’s the place to blend with the regular folk.

Couples stroll arm in arm, kids run for the trees with bags of

nuts to feed the squirrels.

The dramatic seascape and exotic nature

of the gardens express the essence of Anita

Garibaldi. She was Italy’s wonder-woman who

fought alongside her husband Giuseppe in

the nineteenth-century revolution that culminated

in giving them the titles “Father and

Mother of Modern Italy.”

I first encountered Anita on Rome’s

Janiculum Hill, where there’s a statue of her brandishing a

pistol as she rides a wild mustang, with a baby tucked under her

other arm.

Anita’s life story is the stuff of a blockbuster movie. She was

born in Brazil and learned horsemanship from her father, who

died when she was twelve. At fourteen, she was married off to a

local older man, Signor Aguiar, aka “the drunken shoemaker.”

While her husband was off at war, who should appear, but

Giuseppe Garibaldi, sailing in from Italy with a passion to

help Brazil fight for its independence. The moment Giuseppe

set eyes on dark-haired Anita with her extraordinary almondshaped

eyes, he walked straight up to her and said, “Maiden,

thou shalt be mine.”

Even though she was still married, Anita

took off to fight by Giuseppe’s side in Brazil and Uruguay, firing

canons, teaching him gaucho guerilla warfare, and giving birth

to their first son in the midst of all that. They married two years

later, after Anita’s first husband died.

In 1848, with four children in tow (between the ages of eight

and two!), Anita and Giuseppe left South America to go to Italy

and join the fight for unification. A year later, Anita died

in Giuseppe’s arms after a battle near Ravenna. She was

twenty-eight and pregnant with their fifth child.

Giuseppe kept Anita’s memory alive. When he rode

in victory to the crowning of Emmanuel II as the first

king of a united Italy, he wore a Brazilian poncho.

And around his neck, Anita’s striped scarf.

The Anita Garibaldi Passeggiata was created by

Marchese Gaetano Gropallo in 1862, just two years after

Italy’s unification. It used to be a rustic path used by fisherman,

but the Marchese fancied it up with lampposts and paving,

so now it’s an extended terrace to not only Gropallo’s gardens,

but also his neighbors, the Grimaldis and the Serras.

The Villa Grimaldi rose garden is the most famous of the three and

especially beautiful in spring. All are now owned by the state,

house museums, and the grounds are used for outdoor ballets

and theater in July.

Parco Villa Grimaldi, Via Capolungo 9, 8–dusk.

Golden Day: Take a train (fifteen minutes) from Genoa to

Nervi, stroll the path and gardens."


When I interviewed Susan I asked her why women love Italy. She simply said, 'because it feels like home. This means a place that understands us, brings peace, comfort, and stirs the soul. We feel it as soon as we land in Italy: a deluge of sensual pleasures: We see masterpieces, gorgeous sunsets, fountains, gardens, we smell the ragu bubbling on the stove, taste the wine and gelato, hear church bells, and the lilting Italian language. We feel the Mediterranean sun on our shoulders. It’s such an overload of sensual pleasures, we lose our minds and our hearts melt open. The sensual overload snaps you into the moment.'

This gem of a book puts a spotlight on goddesses, the Madonna, female saints, beauties who've inspired masterpieces, women who've taken power. Women have been worshipped here for thousands of years which is one of the reasons we love Italy. The women of Italy are proud of their beauty and sensuality knowing they are descendants of Venus, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

Now to enter the free giveaway, all you need to do is LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST between today, June 11 and Sunday, June 20, midnight eastern time. A winner will be chosen the old fashioned picking your name out of a hat and a copy of "100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go" will be sent to you anywhere in the world!

Thanks for participating! What do you love about visiting Italy?

Photo: Anita Garibaldi statue on Janiculum Hill, Rome. From blog of Susan Van Allen


  1. Let me count the ways:

    1) Il cibo (cuisine, of course)
    2) The vino, vino rosso to be exact. I really like Chianti and Tuscan wine.
    3) The people and their passion
    4) The gelato
    5) The smell that smells like spices, olive oil, happiness, cyprus trees and olives.

  2. Never been, so this book would be an amazing way to start! :)

  3. Thanks Grace. Yeah, what's not to like about Italy!

  4. Doniree,
    Oh, you'll love the book then to plan your first trip to Italy! Thanks for participating in the contest.

  5. This makes the tug toward Italy even stronger than it already is! Beautiful excerpt! Nice contest too...

  6. Meret,

    Glad you entered the contest and may you be tugged all the way to Italy.
    Ciao bella!

  7. Lenora,

    I love the adventures in Italy that you are creating! You are an inspiration!

  8. I can't wait to visit this country. It is an experience of a life time.

  9. Marilyn,

    Italy inspires me. I hope you join me some day on an Italian adventure.

  10. Carolyn,
    Thanks for entering the contest. Reading this book will help you experience a taste of Italy from your arm chair.

  11. What a fascinating read that post was. I've never been to Italy, but am hoping to go in 2 years. I'm drawn to things Italian I think, because of my childhood in Sonoma CA, in an Italian neighborhood.

  12. Lorrie
    Glad you've entered the contest and found the post fascinating. Lots of fun stories in the book and in Italy. Please send your email in case you win the book.

  13. That excerpt brings back the smell and flavors of our trip last year. Strolling along the coast with you, watching the quaint sites of Italy, tasting gelato and panna cotta! Soul nourishment....

  14. We did have fun in Italy, didn't we? The best was that panna cotta our first night in Cinque Terre. Mmmmmmm.

  15. Ciao Lenora! I've been wanting to read this book, and the extract you selected has enticed me to want to read it even more. Thank you for doing this great contest!

  16. being Italian, I must confess I have never heard about this book, thank you Lenora! Have a nice trip to my country

  17. Italy is an inescapable immersion in the sensual delight of beauty: the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the art, architecture, food and landscape. Oh, to have permission to abandon oneself to such bliss!

  18. Ah. Italy was my favorite country on our last trip to Europe in . . . ? 2004 or 2005. I loved the people, like family, right away, offering food and conversation. The Cinque Terra was my favorite: the walks along the water, the square at night - music, dancing, kids and old ones, the nude beaches, the colors of the homes. And Italy is home to my favorite food - hot dog pizza.

  19. Hi Lenora!

    This book looks wonderful..the ultimate starting point for exploring and appreciating Italy...the history, culture and secrets still held!

    An interesting journey which matches the physical one!


  20. Laura,
    The book is great! Thanks for entering the contest from your home in Italia!

  21. Patrizia,
    I love visiting Italy, your country. Thanks for visiting my blog

  22. Jan,

    It is unique and easy to have the freedom to abandon onesself to the bliss in Italy.

  23. Victoria,

    That's right. With the workshop I teach, it is an inner journey to match the outer beauty of Liguria.

  24. Rae,
    Glad you're entering the contest. Italy is one big restaurant!

  25. Italy offers amazing experiences for all. Lenora is Italian and her passion for Italy is generated from the DNA level.

  26. Wow, i have never heard of this heroic woman. I can't wait to read this book now.

  27. Jay,
    Growing up in a large Italian family has definitely influenced my love for all things Italian.

  28. Thanks for entering the book giveawy, Compassionate Hedonist. I'm sure there are many heroic women we've never heard of andI was glad to read that she was considered the 'mother of Italy.'

  29. WOW - Anita Garibaldi! Now there was one passionate woman! I want to see that statue of her riding the wild mustang with a baby tucked under her arm - if only to get an inkling of what she must have been like when she was living her short, very full life on this planet. What an image! May we all find that kind of passion!

  30. Lenora,
    I remember well my first visit to Italy in 1972 and how it felt so familiar. I could stand at the feet of Michaelangelo's DAVID and weep for weeks on end. Italy did not disappoint when I returned in 1997 .... and I am sure it will be fantastic when I, hopefully, return in 2011 with my sister. I cannot wait to see the village in Sicily where my grandparents were born, and free some locks of my Dad's hair as we promised him when he was passing! You have done such a wonderful thing to bring Italia to Fairfield and to your readers everywhere. Your passion for Italia is contagious! Grazie, Dena

  31. Last summer I spent a week in Cinque Terre with my husband and teenage kids. I don't think a day goes by when I don't reminisce about our holidays on the Liguria Sea. I still dream about pesto pasta, seafood spaghetti and a glass of limoncello, espresso and gelato for the final touch. Relaxing on the seaside promenade and munching on superior focacce, after a long trek along the steep coastline from Monterosso to Riomaggiore was pure heaven. Or a plunge into the turquoise water with inspiring views of the pastel houses that climb up seashore cliffs was just amazing. It was a dream vacation and we shall return.

  32. Saluminous,

    Hopefully you can get to Rome to see the statue of Anita Garibaldi in person. Here's to living a life of passion!

  33. Dena,
    I'm glad you're traveling to your grandparents' home in Sicily. You'll enjoy reading some excerpts about Sicily in this 100 Places... book.

  34. Anonymous,
    Your time in Cinque Terre exactly describes my memories there.
    Please give me your email so I can add you to the contest. Lenora@ChangeLimitingBeliefs dot com.

  35. Lenora,
    I remember well eating my way through Italy and loving the rich history, art and beauty of the places I visited. I would love to return someday.
    I love the images this story brings forth of strong women. And you on your own journey helping women find their inner strengths by clearing out old limiting beliefs that do not serve us. Keep on keepin' on!

  36. YAY! I'm just so excited about this one. I've had that book on my list since everyone in the blogosphere started raving about it.

    Plus, now I want to know more about your Italy women's retreats! sounds like an amazing time!

    *and love the old way of drawing names out of a hat :)

  37. Lynn,
    Thanks for being one of those strong women on a great journey.

  38. Erin,
    Glad you stopped by for the contest. I'll be teaching the Italy Retreat for women from Sept. 11-19 in Monterosso, Cinque Terre. It's such a paradise there. Want to join us?

  39. These comments are so wonderful--thank you for posting the excerpt and getting the talk about women's passion for Italy going! I feel so connected to all of you who share it!
    Susan Van Allen

  40. What a great book to win! I put it on my reading list right away. There is so much to explore in Italy and I love every minute of it.

  41. Susan,
    Your book is so inspiring reminding all of us that Italy is to be savored on all many levels.

  42. Virginia,

    You'd love the book since you've spent so much time there. Italy is a never ending story to explore.

  43. Sounds like the next best thing to being there...which I hope to be one day soon!

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Susan,
    You can visit Italy vicariously by reading this book. Please send me your email in case you win the contest.

  46. Cara Lenora
    You have uncovered another treasure. While we have known of Garibaldi, not many of us had really known of Anita. In finding her through various searches I now have a greater appreciation for not only her courage and fearlessness, but also for her beauty and deep love as well. Thank you. And thank you to Susan Van Allen for sharing Anita Garibaldi's story. I am looking forward to reading this book. And I am also looking forward to exploring new nooks and crannies in the land of my ancestors.

  47. Rosemarie,
    Glad you found out more about Anita Garibaldi too. Italy is filled with endless nooks and crannnies to enjoy. I'll see you there!

  48. Hi Lenora,
    Even though I missed the deadline, I really enjoyed reading this blog. I was amazed and inspired by this revolutionary woman, who followed her heart. While reading I felt like I was being bathed and nurtured in another reality. I love what you are doing, sharing the richness of the Italian culture with others. We have so much to learn from each other.

  49. Rena,
    Sorry you missed the contest, but glad you are inspired to learn about the Italian culture. Visit us here anytime.

  50. Virginia from Italy Lovers,
    Congratulations on winning the book. I know you'll love it and find new places in Italy to explore and enjoy. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your great devotion to Italian culture and language!