Italia la bella

The Book

Italian Joy

Author(s)

Carla Coulson

What it says on the back cover

Carla Coulson had it all, or so everyone told her- a glamorous inner-city apartment, a successful business and a designer wardrobe. One lonely Christmas Eve, however, she realised what was missing: excitement, work she was passionate about, and most of all, love.

So, Carla packed up her life and boarded a plane. Italy was her first port of call and became her true destination. With a camera and nothing to lose, she found herself immersed in Florence, tasting the food, learning the language, meeting the people. discovering a new career and country – and photographing her new life.

Carla’s evocative text and rich photographs bring alive the laughter, warmth and passion of Italy. We meet the people who have embraced her: we see the streets, bars, churches, and markets that have enchanted her; and we feel her gioia (joy).

Italian Joy  will make you yearn to follow in Carla’s footsteps and discover the true beauty of life in a magical place.

What made me pick up this book

With an inscription like that on the back cover what else? I mean seriously who has not had a dream of heading off to some wonderful place in which they yearn to go to and touch, experience and fall in love with? I am sure that plenty of you have somewhere that has captured your heart? For me Italy is one of those places because it is rich in history, it has a culture that loves food as much as I do, and a place which has long summers that yearn me to jump on a Vespa and head for the hills waiting for me to discover them. Italy became famous for a number of reasons and more recently when we start to see books such as Italian Joy come off the shelves or ones such as Elizabeth Gilbert’s wonderful memoir Eat Pray Love or even Marlena De Blasi’s (see previous review) A Thousand Days in Venice. Italy captures something within many of us and almost lead my own grandfather to wanting to marry a pretty signora back in World War Two!! Carla’s book teaches that we can often have everything we ever wanted but it does not always brings us pleasure to our lives and sometimes taking stock of our lives and taking ownership of what we truly want really helps us to realise what life is all about. It may not necessarily mean taking a trip to Italy but it certainly helps.

Travel without a doubt has educated my mind. It brings on so many things for me. My senses are highlighted and I know that I can see, smell, taste and hear wonderful things when I go travelling.  By reading this book, one can appreciate how you can also enjoy the more simple things in life and how to appreciate things for their natural beauty as well. By mixing in with the locals and by living side by side with them, Carla was able to experience a culture that was a far cry from her busy lifestyle back home in Australia.

Is this book worth buying?

A book like this is worth reading if you are looking towards Italy as your next big adventure. Although she is a photographer, do not expect that the photographs in this book are going to be glossy, they are not. This book is a collection of black and white and colour photographs against a matt finish. Some photographs are highlighted with Carla’s writing across them giving them a modern twist and a postcard like feel for the readers as if they are sharing her journey and picking up one of her letters from her wonderful travels. I like how this book captures the people, the real people of Italy and the photographs that Carla took that demonstrate this. There is one photograph where a pair of slippers are sprawled across two pages and are hung by simple wooden clothes pegs flapping against the Italian sun. In another three men are gathered around where one is selling cigarettes and lighters in a street. It is scenes like this that make you are in Italy and that you are not back home. Of course my beloved Vespa scooter and scooters were not missed in this book. Read it with a glass of vino and some crusty bread with olives.. I dare you!

ooo
Photo credit: castorofotonico via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Italy has always had a place in my heart – Carla Coulson
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