Looking for your next beach read? Italy is my Boyfriend by Annette Joseph should be at the top of your list! The book chronicles Annette’s decades-long love affair with the country, from early trips with her young children, to house hunting along the Italian Riviera, to renovating a crumbling fortress in the mountains of Tuscany.
Annette, a top stylist and expert on entertaining and cooking, lets her sense of humor shine in this memoir. With each page, you feel like you’re right alongside her on each adventure — breathlessly zipping along winding Italian roads in a tiny Fiat, house hunting with questionable realtors, designing a dream home, and laughing at the absurdity of difficult houseguests. (After all, when you live in Italy, everyone wants to come visit!) It’s escapism at its finest; a way to get a memorable Italian vacation in the summer of 2020. In a recent chat, Annette told us a bit more about the book:
You make many comparisons to living in Italy being like a passionate love affair: exciting, at times tumultuous or sad, yet all together rewarding. At what point did you realize the similarities and know it was the angle for your story?
When people asked “why Italy?” I would always say Italy was like a boyfriend. It was my go-to answer. Because there are so many emotions involved and sometimes a love affair has all of these same emotions, it was a natural way to think about living in another country. It was not logical it was emotional.
You wrote much of the book from La Fortezza, the home you ended up buying and renovating in Italy. Was it surreal to remember so many adventures and mishaps from the home that you ended up with?
La Fortezza, is a place that I find incredible peace. It felt very natural to finally write my book there. It felt like a full circle experience on so many levels.
Even with the ups and downs, we’re sure many people who read your book may want to follow in your footsteps and pursue a life in Italy. What would you tell them?
I always tell people the same thing, it took us 10 years of spending every summer in Italy for months at a time. It is important that you spend loads of time in Italy, living there for weeks and months before making the investment of time and money buying and renovating a property. Vacationing and living in a foreign country are very different.
Though the pandemic has upended travel, will you be in Italy again soon? Do you have plans for your workshops to resume?
I am going mid August. Our workshops will resume in 2021, hopefully. We are watching the pandemic situation closely. Italy also needs to open to the US which has not happened as of right now.
You’re working on another book and again, Italy is the star. What can you tell us about it?
Part of the reason I am returning in August is to start work on my next book, due out Fall 2021: La Fortezza Cookbook. We will be shooting the summer and fall chapters. I am working with the famous English food photographer, David Loftus. I am so excited to finally be able to start shooting it. We are working with an Italian team, chef and prop stylist Barbara Pederzini.
The spring chapter was due to be shot in March, for obvious reasons we had to cancel. I have been testing recipes and writing copy while here in the U.S. It’s being published by Rizzoli; they published my first cookbook Picture Perfect Parties. I am super excited to share Lunigiana, the region we live in and their unique cuisine with everyone.
Snag a copy of “Italy Is My Boyfriend” here.