Ciao Bella by Kate Langbroek [6/10]

Drivetime radio star Kate Langbroek took the big leap in 2019 and moved her family of six to Bologna, a jump into the unknown predicated on a sudden infatuation with the food, culture, and society of Italy. “Ciao Bella!: Six Take Italy” is her story of two years immersed in Italy, part travelogue, part family memoir, part ode to la dolce vita. With the Coronavirus unleashed nearby in 2020, the story takes on dark overtones, and that year tests the entire family. Travel memoirs require evocative writing or extreme drama, and time in northern Italy was never going to involve the latter, so the book revolves around the author’s amusing, passionate rendering of events that otherwise might be labeled as prosaic. While Ciao Bella will never trump Barry Lopez or Colin Thubron, I found it to be a sassy and often wise discourse on everyday life in transplanted circumstance, and also, of course, a glimpse into the secrets of Italy.

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