1st of the month featured bloggers: september

These days there are a lot of us expats from various home countries blogging from Italy (check out my list of links here), but one of the absolute best and one that I always look forward to visiting is Julian and Amanda’s A Tuscan View – from Umbria.

Amanda and Julian alternate with fabulous posts on this blog, which also features gorgeous photos. Both write with amazing clarity and share such keen observations–what a lovely, interesting couple they must be to meet in person. I certainly hope to do so someday soon!

Amanda never fails to invoke gorgeous imagery and deep emotions with her words and photos; Julian’s posts are cleverly crafted and laugh-out-loud funny. My favorite of his is called “Sopranome” and tells the tale of the time he nutmegged Jesus, who, not surprisingly, “didn’t like it. Not one bit.”

One of my favorite posts of Amanda’s and one of my favorites of anyone’s anywhere is called “The colour of earth” and includes these lines (and the above photo):

Since I first visited Italy, years ago, I have been infatuated with its colours; the warm rosy apricots and rich terracottas of the peeling stucco in the piazzas. Faded frescos with the soft tinctures of the Renaissance, ghosts of vivid lapis blues and true clear reds.

In the countryside, the ever-changing grey green olives and inky dark cypresses stand against the ripened gold of wheat. And the land itself, its ploughed and fallow fields with great clods of soil like raw siena, the fertile colour of earth.

In the cavernous warehouse where we have come to buy the paint I feel suddenly nervous, almost overwhelmed by colour, but I know I haven’t come this far to paint yet another stark white wall, so I hold my breath and choose…


As I told Amanda, I wouldn’t mind living in that post.

An added bonus is that Amanda features the “best thing I ate today” while Julian always includes “the stupidest thing I did today.” How can you not love those tidbits about real life in Italy?

And, just in case you aren’t impressed with all of this, consider that Julian is an artist who, along with the help of his lovely wife, runs Artist in Italy painting holidays and workshops in the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside.

You know you want to know more about this spectacularly talented duo, so go visit Julian and Amanda. Just don’t blame me when you spend the next couple hours reading their archives. You’ve been warned.

And speaking of wonderful things in Italy, be sure to head over to Alex’s Blog from Italy this Friday, September 5th, when he’ll be starting up a recipe contest with prizes in the forms of free subscriptions to the La Cucina Italiana magazine. I’ll be on the taste-testing team, so be sure to check out the details!

13 Beans of Wisdom to “1st of the month featured bloggers: september”
  1. Gil

    Looks like their blog will be an interesting read, not to mention the added bonus of artwork.

    Oh Gil, you will love it over there; you and Julian (and I) definitely share a sense of humor 🙂

  2. 09.01.2008

    Great choice for a Guest Blog. This is one of my favourite sites.

    casalba’s last blog post..Gelato

    Definitely one to subscribe to 🙂

  3. 09.01.2008

    YES! That’s one of my favorite sites, too. Aren’t they wonderful?

    Their blog has such good vibes, making it such a joy to read.

    Roam2Rome’s last blog post..Starting is Fun. Ending is Not.

    Wonderful indeed 🙂

  4. I love their blog. It is one of my favorites as well.

    I really enjoyed meeting them at the Expat GTG that Sara organized in Florence.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Wait a minute, soccer/football season has started already?

    So sad I couldn’t make it there 🙁

  5. 09.01.2008

    Good choice! I enjoy their observations and would love to take one of their painting classes.. Wouldn’t it be great if us expat bloggers all headed out there for a group course?

    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..Greetings from Toronto!!

    Ooh what a great idea!

  6. oh yes, one of my most favorite writers as well! The imagery is always clear, and I normally end up laughing out loud during a post too. Also, they are great people ‘in person’ 🙂

    erin :: the olive notes’s last blog post..photo tour :: old city farmer’s market

    So true, Erin…imagery and laughter…two fabulous side effects of reading A Tuscan View – from Umbria 🙂

  7. Wow! Thank you so much for this Michelle, it’s making me blush. It means all the more because yours was the very first blog I read back in the days when I was a young blog virgin! As you know the rest is in the archives. Thank you for being a constant inspiration and great blog buddy, your generosity is unbounded.

    Also a big ‘mwah’ to all the motley crew who have commented, thank you for the kind words. It is your wonderful comments that keep the blog alive. Keep em coming! (Hey, did I just win an oscar?!!)

    Amanda @ A Tuscan View….’s last blog post..Ferragosto

    I imagine winning an Oscar is infinitely cooler than appearing on my blog, but your appreciation is certainly well-received. It is truly a pleasure to share your wonderful space on these Interwebs with others that I know will enjoy it just as much as I do 🙂

  8. Why do I feel like I want to move to Italy?
    The comradery between all of the expats living in Italy is fantastic and it makes me a wee bit envious – like I want to be a part of it! So I live vicariously through all of your blogs.
    What a wonderful couple and the fact they collaborate together on writing the blog – brilliant in my book. Thanks for yet another great blog I can add to the already-too-long-list of blogs I love to read.

    collette~all over the map’s last blog post..It Pays To Be Nice

    There is a lovely feeling among many of us over here, Colette, but you’re an expat too so you understand a lot of what we go through, even if it’s through a different lens. I love that Amanda and Julian collaborate as well–if only P would get into blogging!

  9. 09.02.2008

    Hi Michelle,

    So, being that I am the worlds worst writer, I couldn’t begin to comment on the post above.

    But, whew…..I paged down and viola!…..there was a “Tuscan View…..”.

    I am planning to meet up with Amanda while I’m in Cortona in the next few weeks, doing an art workshop. Love their blog….and yours.


    karen cole’s last blog post..BLOGSTOCK 2008-A SENSE OF WONDER

    So fun! Can’t wait to hear about your meeting and trip Karen 🙂

  10. 09.02.2008

    How great. I love their blog..very interesting and lots of variety!! I love the little snippets ..Silliest thing I did today or The best thing I ate today 🙂

    I would love to meet up with bloggers, picnics etc.

    anne’s last blog post..French Cheeses

    I wish I was closer to other bloggers–meet-ups are always so fun!

  11. 09.03.2008

    Fascinating site – I’ll have to check it out!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday: End-of-Summer Gratin

    Enjoy Jen!

  12. 09.07.2008

    Totally agree- LOVE their site. And I too was moved by that post…I just wished she lived closer so she could come help me paint my walls just like hers 🙂

    My Mélange’s last blog post..La Cucina Italiana : Cooking Contest!

    Hah, excellent thought 😉

  1. [...] raved about Julian and Amanda’s blog A Tuscan View - From Umbria here, but that was before they ha... bleedingespresso.com/2008/11/best-holiday-gift-ever-painting-holiday-in-italy.html
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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