Sep 20, 2020
Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center
Posted by Michelle Damiani

Named one of 10 Fascinating Books about Living in a Foreign Country by Huffington Post When Michelle Damiani dreamed of living in Italy, she imagined her family as it was in Virginia her husband filling every moment with work, her teenage son experimenting with sarcasm, her daughter smiling at the scent of lilacs, her baby cheeked son methodically clicking Legos togeth Named one of 10 Fascinating Books about Living in a Foreign Country by Huffington Post When Michelle Damiani dreamed of living in Italy, she imagined her family as it was in Virginia her husband filling every moment with work, her teenage son experimenting with sarcasm, her daughter smiling at the scent of lilacs, her baby cheeked son methodically clicking Legos together, and herself hovering over the happiness of them all only surrounded by ancient cobblestone alleys and the sound of ringing Italian What she didn t know was how Italy would work to change them all.Il Bel Centro A Year in the Beautiful Center is the profoundly moving story of Michelle and her family s adaptation to the people and culture of Spello, Italy.Part searingly honest memoir, part celebration of Umbrian life, Il Bel Centro is a page turner with a beating heart Michelle Damiani brings fresh perspective to the American abroad story, and creates a sense of place so authentic that readers feel they, too, have strolled the pink hued alleys of Spello alongside the Damiani family.Vivid descriptions evoke the pleasures of medieval village life, from the scent of almond pastries curling into morning fog, to olive trees tossing glints of silver into the achingly blue sky.At once hilarious and wise, this spellbinding journey will feed your soul and your wanderlust Il Bel Centro will sweep you into the heart of Italy, where for bakers, pants are optional, and a good lunch will take you straight through till dinner I was not prepared for Italy.Luckily, Italy was waiting for me anyway Il Bel Centro A Year in the Beautiful Center includes recipes for delicious Umbrian dishes as well as professional quality photographs Bestseller in Italian Travel Top 10 Fascinating Books about Living in a Foreign Country Huffington Post I absolutely couldn t get enough of this book A magical read This is one of the most beautiful book I ve ever read I could smell the freshly baked bread, taste the local wine, and if I closed my eyes I could easily see the sloping hills, the pink stones of Spello, the alley ladies with their basket of vegetables to sort and their easy chatter One of the best travel books I have ever read I loved, loved this book Fabulously written, engaging and entertaining I feel like I lived this story right alongside Michelle, Keith and their children and cats I am so sad their time in Spello came to an end Michelle Damiani has the gift of a writer who actually takes you into the place she is writing about This book made me want to pack my bags I so enjoyed reading Michelle Damiani s tumbling expedition into the heart of Italy which brought her and her family into the heart of their own evolving lives Could not put it down I just want .

  • Title: Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center
  • Author: Michelle Damiani
  • ISBN: 9780692480113
  • Page: 274
  • Format: Paperback
  • Il Bel Centro A Year in the Beautiful Center Named one of Fascinating Books about Living in a Foreign Country by Huffington Post When Michelle Damiani dreamed of living in Italy she imagined her family as it was in Virginia her husband filli


    Il Bel Centro is at once full of mystery and simplicity I so enjoyed reading Michelle Damiani s tumbling expedition into the heart of Italy which brought her and her family into the heart of their own evolving lives For me, the arrangement of days taken from her blog postings lent authenticity to the tapestry of one story after another strung together in moments of friendship, struggle, discovery, food, and family I very much enjoyed that I could read this at my own pace sometimes a little bit a [...]

    Atul Saran

    This is ultimately a book about self discovery In our all too hectic lives, it is easy to get caught up in dealing with the mundane and not realize what we re taking for granted How are the systems around us the people, the organizations, the food, the language actually a part of our very fabric and what happens when all that changes There s a lot in here about resilience, but it s really about adaptability and willingness to open your mind to something new We also have three kids and struggle [...]


    Fascinating read Great read I just loved this book The writing was spectacular and the way Spello, the people and thus family came alive through these words was just amazing

    Myles Mccormick

    Why do we think travel is a magician one that will transform or conjure up a better, truer authentic self Cut loose from the shackles of birthplace, the real us will out, reveal, revel and blossom in this usually warmer parallel universe.Perhaps than any other country, Italy has for centuries been the siren whose unparalleled wealth of cultural beauty and promise, has lured the Romantic in all of us onto its thirsty rocks Il Bel Centro, which I read in one sitting, two coffees and three cry s, [...]

    Nell Goddin

    Absolutely fantastic I ve read quite a lot of books of this genre fish out of water in Europe, I guess you could call it and Il Bel Centro does what few of them manage it made me feel as though I were right there, living the incredible year in Spello right along with the Damiani family Are you interested in the amazing Italian food Michelle lovingly describes individual dishes and boisterous meals with new friends, as well as the new ways of shopping for food in a culture so different from that [...]

    Kerrie Barker

    As an expat myself I found it interesting to read the difference the author and her family experienced living within a village community as opposed to my experiences living just outside a much smaller village The diary format was not to my liking but the added recipes are a lovely addition I received a free copy of this book before publication.


    Wonderful I loved this book This is such a beautiful story The descriptions of the people and places and the experiences this family had in their year of living in Italy is breathtaking The author writes with such love and feeling I must admit, I cried at the end as if I was leaving these wonderful people behind It reminds me of when we get to visit our family friends in Italy After living amongst them, for even as short a time as two weeks, the feelings that overtake us are indescribable I love [...]

    Jane E

    I got halfway through this last year before a long planned sabbatical in Italy and couldn t stand the author s narcissistic, angsty, self flagellation, and patronizing tone A friend I respect told me to give try it again I did and this time I finished it A word of advice for an interested reader If you read the first few chapters and like me find yourself annoyed with the purple prose this author never met an adjective she wouldn t happily overuse and her overall attitude it veers between raptur [...]

    Truke Hulsinga

    What a pleasure to read a book about enjoying and surviving living in Italy the book slowly takes you by the hand and shows a very honest account of the struggles but also of the victories and the warm friendly reception of the people they meet It makes me want to move to Spello and meet them all Alongside the process of getting established you get a very honest account of the inner conflicts which are clear in a country where you don t know the language and culture It shows the insecurities, t [...]


    A fabulous read about a family s adventure abroad I loved journeying along with them as they navigated the logistics of living abroad, as well as the social and emotional challenges of stepping way outside of their comfort zone I can t decide if my favorite parts were reading about how they overcame major hurdles like discipline in the school system or a serious illness that required immersion in the Italian health system or the many sumptuous descriptions of Italian cuisine I could smell and ta [...]


    I LOVED this book It is an outstanding memoir about the Damiani family who, simply because they d always wanted to, picked up and move to central Italy for a year They rented out their newly renovated home in the states and took three kids aged 5, 10 and 14, two cats and mom and dad for a year long Italian adventure I took my time reading this one, savoring every minute, hoping to make it last longer I ve waited weeks to review it, afraid I wouldn t be able to do it justice.I love travel I love [...]


    Enjoyed this one so much that I ended up making a pilgrimage to the town it s self It didn t come without faults, way too much detail about food this isn t a cook book but could easily slip into the genre with a couple tweaks Reading about this families gastronomic odyssey had me thinking out loud, don t do it, way too much cholesterol , oh god your kids will be obese by the time you get back to the States ad infinitum That said the story of how the kids integrated in their Italian school and th [...]

    UMass Dad in SLC

    Overall I found the book to be an interesting read on the author s experience moving her family to small town Italy for a year I particularly enjoyed the self reflection It made her seem real She clearly made a lot of sacrifices for which they were greatly rewarded The reason I m not giving this five stars is I found the descriptions of food and wine to be overkill for me personally I can see how someone who is much into pleasures of the palate would like reading about a hint of this and touch [...]

    Pamela Barrett

    I was traveling vicariously with this author, and loving this book until it disappeared from my kindlelong story anyway, her family moved to Italy for a year, dealt with kids going to school, learning a new language, trying to fit in, dealing with bureaucracy, and sharing yummy recipes.

    Francesca Wall

    I was hoping it would be about the area and the people of Umbria, it s a book about her angst over her children and her own anxiety about exposing them to a foreign culture and language very tiresome She just dwells on it.

    Kelly Pompom

    Really enjoyed this Made me regard my neighbors, who are visibly foreign to where I live, speak another language, and rely on their children as their entrees into their new world, with a whole new appreciation.


    If you have ever considered suspending your normal life and taking the family to live in a foreign country for a year, Il Bel Centro just may convince you to do it This book grew out of a blog written by its author to record her family s year long experience of living in the small town of Spello, Umbria, in the beautiful center il bel centro of Italy.Michelle Damiani, her husband, Keith, and three young children plan and save for years so they can live in Italy for a year Part memoir, part trave [...]

    Colleen Simpson

    Such a well written book At once compelling, humorous and endearing A nurturer of all dreamers to dream big That Michelle and Keith Damiani choose to strike out with three children, Nicolas, Siena and little Gabe and two cats, Frya and Juno, to land in Spello, Italy for a year is a marvel That Michelle carefully chronicled their daily life to share with us is a true blessing Armchair travelers will be interested in Michelle Damiani s rich descriptions of integrating into community life where a w [...]

    Doreen Aiello

    After reading Il Bel Centro A Year in the Beautiful Center I found it to be a very interesting approach to documenting a year spent in a foreign country It wasn t a travel log, it wasn t a cookbook, it wasn t a novel yet it read like all three This book took me on a yearlong journey with a family who decided to shake up their lives and take their three children and two cats with them on this adventure I like that it expresses the fears and trepidation of getting ready for such an experience With [...]


    If you ve ever wondered what it might be like to live in a charming hill town in Italy, let Michelle Damiani take you there as she recounts her family s year 2012 13 in Spello This book is a deep, reflective peek inside their day to day experience and offers a great flavor of what such an adventure might be like for any family choosing to make a sabbatical year, anywhere really The reader will feel the newness of living in a temporary home in a foreign culture, along with the struggles to fit in [...]

    Jennifer Mcilvaine

    Il Bel Centro is the story of a family s transition to living in an Italian hill town The book is based on the author s blog of her family s year in Spello, and while I did read the blog occasionally, I was completely swept up by the book It is still in daily format, like a blog or really closer to a diary, which I initially felt was a little disjointed, but once I got into it, I enjoyed the feeling of dipping into what felt like real life all these moments of lightness, darkness, humor, and del [...]


    This is a wonderful story about a family of five who dared to be different and follow their dreams The author had dreamed of living in Italy for a year It was financially difficult for them but the dream was strong enough for them to overcome this hurdle and move to a small town in Umbria called Spello The descriptions of the town and its beautiful pink stone walls, its alleys and flowered streets and balconies are vivid Three children enliven this book with their interactions with Italian child [...]

    Henk-Jan van der Klis

    Three years after Michelle Damiani and her family stayed in Umbria, Italy for a year, the author offered me a chance to read her memoir, while actually I was spending my summer holidays in Tuscany, Italy Il Bel Centro A Year in the Beautiful Center is a blog turned into book An American family from Charlottesville, Virginia, delved many possible Italian cities to spend a sabbatical year, and found Spello to be that vibrant and attractive to go there in July 2012 Il Bel Centro is part travelogue [...]


    Many of us dream of taking our children overseas to learn a new language and experience a new culture, but few people are able to actually pull it off For the rest of us, we can live vicariously through Il Bel Centro.Michelle s writing is so descriptive and heartfelt that you really feel like you are there with her and her family as they spend a year in Spello, Italy Like the Damianis, I was initially uncertain, wondering how they would manage in a foreign country, and worried about their commit [...]

    Julie Busa

    Wonderful.This book started out slow for me and I even put it down and started another book However, once I picked it up, and got to about the halfway point, I had trouble putting it down Yet, it was still a bit of a slow read Why did I give it five stars then Some books are better read slowly Some things are better done slowly Living in Italy, slows things down as evidenced by Michelle s story This was a wonderfully written book that had such a profound effect on me that I literally sobbed as t [...]


    To fulfill a lifelong dream, Michelle Damiani moved her husband, three school aged children, and two cats to Spello, Umbria in central Italy to live for a year.Although she found a community ready to embrace her family, Damiani also encountered several stumbling blocks, including language difficulties, bureaucracy, and differing educational philosophies.Written in a journal format that traces Damiani s journey nearly day by day, Il Bel Centro provides a rare glimpse into a transplanted family s [...]


    I ve read so very many books about expats in Italy, living their unique Italian dreams but no one captured it for me the way that Michelle Damiani did She captured it all everything I love about Italy and its people, as well all the quirks that can be totally exasperating about Italy and its bureaucracy But, in the end, it always came back to the people, now so real to me that I want to call Angelo for a verb conjugation and Conci for clarification on making pasta Damiani has written a loving tr [...]


    This book should be required reading for anyone planning to live abroad, especially with children The author extols the joys of discovering a new country and culture, while never glossing over the difficulties and challenges of finding yourself other and often lacking, even if that lacking is only internal The book paints a charming picture of Spello and its inhabitants and revels in the relationships forged over the year Every description is accented by food from the mouth wateringly simple to [...]

    Ian Parkinson

    A wonderful account of the life of an expat American family s year in Italy Well written I felt like I was there It made me recognize how much personal connections mean in life and how much of that we sacrifice for the life we have in the US Not always a fair exchange Worth reading than once I miss Italy now than before I started reading this book, but that s a good thing Its always good to be reminded why you love a place This book does just that So piano piano immerse yourself in life as it [...]

    Edith McHenry

    If you would like to visit a beautiful and historic small town in Italy without the expense, this book is your ticket Those who aren t necessarily lovers of all things Italian will find much to enjoy as the author chronicles in a thoughtful way her young family of five s experiences by turns funny, endearing, and heart rending as they become treasured members of the village community And then there s the FOOD and wine I intend try every single recipe I m wishing for an Aperol spritz in the compa [...]

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      274 Michelle Damiani
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      Posted by:Michelle Damiani
      Published :2020-06-18T10:40:32+00:00