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Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions Of A Chianti Tour Guide Paperback – September 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
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From the Back Cover
With wry humor and affection, Dario recalls some of his more remarkable clients―the delightful, the vain, the silly, the ignorant, the ambitious, the amorous, the condescending, the lovely, and the outright crazy. He also shares an account of his own life and times―his transformation from bohemian layabout to thriving tour guide―and offers an enchanting introduction to the charms of Tuscany over the course of a year.
Through his company, Chianti Rooster Tours, Dario Castagno guides small groups of visitors to his favorite spots in the Chianti region of Italy. He belongs to Siena's Caterpillar contrada, which in 2003 won the Palio―the wildly popular bareback horse race that takes place in Siena each summer.
Top Customer Reviews
I travel to Italy every year to visit friends and family. I'm proud to be an American. However, I will not deny that every year I encounter Americans who do not behave at their best when they are guests in another country. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Here in the States, we demand conformity of our foreign guests and we are incredulous if they exhibit the slightest "un-American" behavior.
After being entranced by Tuscany on two occasions, I read Mayes' book and watched the American cultural view of Tuscany crescendo. I was extremely off-put by the hype, and consequently have chosen, for the past 10 years, to avoid a Tuscany filled with loud, demanding tourists.
I had loved the magical Tuscany that Dario shows you - deserted white stone roads, fabulous trattorie, ruined castles, churches, villas where it is delicious to imagine them in their hey-day, hills that grow into mountains with villages tucked neatly within, vineyards, active farms and olive groves.
I'm actually considering going back, having fallen for Tuscany once again.
As many other reviewers have pointed out, Dario doesn't suffer foreign fools too well, and why should he? His obvious love of his own culture with its sumptions rustic 5 course lunches swathed in a sweet elixir of a fine Classico Chianti or famed Barbi Brunello set against the rolling golden landscape of cypresses, olive groves, vineyards, simple churches and stone farmhouses, speaks for itself. Why, Dario wonders, would foreign tourists, especially American tourists, want to come to Italy and not become Italian for the duration of their trip? Why drink Diet Coke when the fruit of the Sangiovese grapes is at hand? Why hire a guide, if you don't want to visit the area's monasteries, walk its medieval towns or hear of the famous Sienese Palio?
The book, therefore is a collection of recollection. To some, his bewilderment over the lack of excitement displayed with regard to his home and his criticism of the various types encountered during such head-scratching moments, may seem judgemental and anti-American.Read more ›
Dario Castagno's book is not nearly as caustic as I had been lead to believe by the jacket blurb, as well as some of the previous Amazon reviews, and the title itself. It wasn't until I reached his chapter explaining the process behind the Palio that I really began to appreciate "Too Much Tuscan Sun" for what it is: a book written for Americans by a native Sienese.
There are a few entertaining anecdotes throughout the book about some of the weird American tourists he has met, but the funny stories he tells about American tourists say as much about him as they do about any of his clients.
A certain percentage of his clients appear to be people looking for a broad introduction to Italy who really ought to be just following the latest edition of Frommer's Italy (which is a guidebook I still use and rely on) rather than hiring a local guide to show them the more obscure sites that mean something to him personally.
I have been to a number of the tourist sites that Dario mentions as frequent stops on his tours, and I think that may help my appreciation of this book. For example, I would never dream of taking an elderly person to see Monte Oliveto Maggiore, because there is a long walk downhill to the monastery from the parking lot. Yet Dario tells the tale of trying to bring a busload of 20 elderly American tourists with predictably disastrous results.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read this book twice now and I loved it as much the second time as I did the first. Dario is great at telling a story, very funny, and can make you feel like you are actually... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Katie Smart
Very engaging! The stories are humorous and enjoyable. His description of the area is accurate and romantic. Great for those traveling to Tuscany!Published 11 months ago by kathy
My only problem with this book is that I read "Too much Tuscan Wine", also from Dario Castagno before I read this earlier written book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kerry L Phillips
This is an extremely charming and funny book. For once, the tables are turned and it is not a book about the quaint Italian being described by the American tourist but, rather, the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by MaryAnne Cohen
Having just returned from Tuscany, I loved this book. Dario is very entertaining. Is a wonderful book to read if you will be traveling to this area... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Cynthia H. Payne
Not a bad book. Ity is an Italians responce to all the English moving into the Chianti region, so it is a little political. Read morePublished 14 months ago by carl s
I've had the pleasure of going on multiple tours with Dario, and there is no question he is a phenomenal tour guide. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kelsey Tonner