Under the Tuscan Sun is set in Cortona, Italy where the American author Frances Mayes bought a house and narrated her experiences in settling in an Italian Village where Etruscan civilization once flourished. She shuttled back and forth in US and Italy and made homes in two continents. Please see my book review here.
It happened in Italy is a storytelling by an Italian-American author Elizabeth Bettina who learned that her grandmother's hometown in Italy called Campagna had been an internment camp of a number of Jews during the holocaust. No one seems to perpetuate stories on Jews in Italy because they have a happy story of survival unlike those that happened in camps where dancing with death were told over and over. Please see my review here.
I had said my piece for the two books and authors in my respective review of the books but a desire to bring both of them under one review is strong that I have to write it down and blow it away from my consciousness.
I can't help but compare the two books. Both are set in my place of interest: Italy. The "Under The Tuscan Sun" has a more interesting topic of personal journey of finding one's home in a foreign land, Italy at that while "It happened in Italy" has a predictive storyline, that is, a happy story of being treated well in Italy so that they survived the Holocaust and how the author brought the survivors in America back to Italy (including a visit to the pope).
However, of the two books, I was more entertained by the flow of storytelling by Bettina because of her boldness and eternal belief in her good news. In as much as I wish, I wanted to like Mayes more because she has the literary mind, an eagle-eye to details, and she cooks but she lost me along the way. I finished her book because I am genuinely interested to know more of Italian author.
Despite my review on the latter, I am happy I go hold of these two books in succession. Italians have the big heart too, despite my first serious read other than the travel books, The Monster of Florence. My review is here.