Into this strange, closed world steps Robert Rodi. A Chicago writer with few friends in town and a shaky command of conversational Italian, he couldn’t be more out of place. Yet something about the sense of belonging radiating from the ritual-obsessed Sienese excites him, and draws him back to witness firsthand how their passionate brand of community extends beyond the Palio into the entire calendar year. Smitten, Rodi undertakes a plan to insinuate himself into this body politic, learn their ways, and win their acceptance.
Seven Seasons in Siena is the story of Rodi’s love affair with the people of Siena—and of his awkward, heartfelt, intermittently successful, occasionally disastrous attempts to become a naturalized member of the Noble Contrada of the Caterpillar. It won’t be easy. As one of the locals points out, someone who’s American, gay, and a writer is the equivalent of a triple unicorn in this corner of Tuscany. But like a jockey in the Palio outlasting the competition in the home stretch, Rodi is determined to wear down all resistance. By immersing himself in the life of the contrada over seven visits at different times of the year—working in their kitchens, competing in their athletic events, and mastering the tangled politics of their various feuds and alliances—the ultimate outsider slowly begins to find his way into the hearts of this proud and remarkable people.
By turns hilarious and heartwarming, and redolent with the flavor of the Tuscan countryside, Seven Seasons in Siena opens a window on daily life in one of the most magical regions in all of Italy—revealing the joys to be found when we stop being spectators and start taking an active part in life’s rich pageant.
From the Hardcover edition.
"A charming, hilarious look at a little-documented world." -- People
In dog years, Robert Rodi is 350. Age, however, couldn't possibly have prepared him for his experience with canine agility-the athletic cousin to best-of-breed shows. Rodi, an epicure and urban intellectual, picks up agility with aspirations for blue ribbons. His dreams of glory quickly fade when faced with the competition: hearty Midwestern handlers and their ferociously fit pups, who annihilate scrawny, scruffy, Dusty, Rodi's rescue dog and would-be champ, in the ring. The duo is utterly lost in the agility circles, but as in the best human/pet stories, they forge an everlasting bond to carry them through.
Combining the wit of Christopher Guest's Best in Show and the charm of Marley & Me, Dogged Pursuit is an uproarious account of a neophyte's year in the dog show world that abounds in humor and warmth.
The sights he sees and people he meets as he takes a one-mile walk through his village during the course of this noteworthy day trigger memories of his childhood and adolescence in Tuscany during the seventies, his experiences as a tour guide in Chianti, and some of the more remarkable people he has known. In addition to stories from his own past, included are oral histories from several village elders. History and the present mingle in this part of the world, and these stories bring both alive. Sometimes funny, often poignant, A Day in Tuscany weaves a magical spell and offers a candid insider's look at the people and culture of a fascinating land.
"There is a passage in Leviticus, long ignored, that forbids a man to lie with another man as he would with a woman." The truth behind the Merry Men's exile into Sherwood Forest is revealed, as is Robin's steamy past with King Richard. But now that Robin's friends are in danger, the Merry Men are faced with a choice. Stay in Sherwood, where their safety is all but guaranteed, or rescue those held hostage by the violent Guy of Gisbourne?