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About the book A Year in TUSCANY

"A tale of reality, history, landscape and art."

History, art, gastronomy, monuments, images: these are the elements that dominate the impressions of Barbara Athanassiadis in Tuscany, where she spends the four seasons of the year painting watercolours and discovering the hidden treasures of one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The excursions through the vineyards in autumn give her the opportunity to let her imagination roam free and to transport us to the unique landscapes that surround her.

The winter walks through Florence and Siena are an extraordinary exhibition dedicated to the world of Art.

The spring excursions in her Beetle to the medieval towns open her eyes, and ours, to the traditions of the place, which she critiques with her own Mediterranean influences as to how Tuscany was viewed by the English during the Grand Tour.

In the summer, she leaves for Maremma, virgin land within Tuscany, where she lives through the stories and legends of its people while at the same time taking a step back to look at the Etruscans.  She makes quick stops to local restaurants to taste the delicious, traditional cuisine allowing us to share in her meal of sliced bread seasoned with olive oil, ravioli al pecorino, and pappardelle in rabbit stew, all flavored with herbs and cheese and washed down with a glass of the famous Vin Santo.

Her travel story, written from the heart, clearly shows that she is charmed not only by the peculiarities and traditions of the region, but also the hidden details of everyday life.  It is these little details, an unknown aspect in the daily life of Tuscans, which surprise her and never fail to charm.

The eBook is illustrated with colourful photos.

Watch You Tube book trailer videos of A Year In TUSCANY: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrbC-aJ-0WKut5nkv_JgpMuMgAy3tV63


"Through the images, Barbara Athanassiadis writes a lyrical text, in which Tuscany, the noblest of the Italian lands, is celebrated in all its splendor. Centuries of human effort have changed the original natural fabric creating a landscape on a human scale that has no equal. I should add that I would like to read the text in its original language but it was not possible, since I do not know it. However, the translation, beautiful, with a fluid language, charming and persuasive, allows  me to assume that the original  text is of equal beauty: the cases in which the translations have been able to overcome the originals can be counted on the fingers of one hand, in more than three millennia of the civilization of writing."

Professor Fabrizio Lemme, Academy of San Luca - Rome

"The pages of your books are like paintings that a painter paints in real time, while living, capturing the moments - not just spatially but also through the sensory nuances that give color to life. The choice of Tuscany, over other colourful Italian regions, only reinforces the passion and the materiality of the feelings generating chapters, paragraphs, lines, words ... "

Roberto Castellucci, Painter

"With time and disposition as her allies and, above all, her thorough knowledge of Italian  Renaissance Art, Barbara Athanassiadis offers a journey along which I came to learn exactly what to look at, not just to feel what she herself may have achieved, but mostly to attain a conciliation with style and culture, the two natural companions of any wanderer. The painter that she is allowed for certain strokes of her brushes to go astray, much to the benefit of the rest of us!  Secret nuances and mixtures of colors so vivid that they transpire, despite everything, in the watercolors striving to surge from the pages of her book. The numerous references to Art and the reports of talks she had with several people she has met throughout her life, not just dwelling in Tuscany, have admittedly made me richer and definitely strengthened my resolve to revisit the region harboring the sources of elixir. For this is what Tuscany is all about."

Yiannis Spaveras, Greek Writer

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About the author

 Athanassiadis Barbara is the author of seven novels, including three travel narratives on Italy: "A Year in Tuscany" (2007), "Feeling Rome" (2009) and "My Venice" (2014), which make up a trilogy on three major Italian cities of Art. She divides her time between Athens and Rome.

Author's website:  http://www.barbaraathanassiadis.it/

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Additional Information

AA Publishing
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Published on
Sep 17, 2014
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Art / European
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
Travel / Europe / General
Travel / Europe / Italy
Travel / General
Travel / Museums, Tours, Points of Interest
Travel / Reference
Travel / Special Interest / Adventure
Travel / Special Interest / Literary
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Content Protection
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About the book INDIA and my Persian garden 

A must have book for any true traveller 

“…I was walking in a labyrinth of extreme beauty:  serene interior gardens; shady, covered verandahs; cool, marble loggias.  I’d climb up small towers and descend into yet another garden, where I ended up swinging on a sofa.  On either side were a pair of marble urns with rose petals floating prettily in the water…”  

 “…At other times we would be walking in the bazaars, going up a slight hill to the palace of the local maharajah, careful not to step on the baskets full of fruit, vegetables and spices being sold by women vendors, sitting cross-legged on the ground.  The vibrant colours of the saris of the shoppers surrounding them would form a flower garden that lay on the street…”  

 “…Getting lost in the fields of India is the most one can hope for, and what we saw before us was sheer poetry.  A green plain stretched out to our right, in the middle of which stood an Indian farmwoman wrapped in a turquoise sari looking at the wheat.  Dancing around her were some little girls in red saris, looking like so many poppies dancing in the wind…” 

“…There was no moon that night.  Instead, thousands of stars could be seen dazzling the night sky like so many diamonds while, on the opposite bank and beautifully lit up, was the City Palace, with all its domes, closed terraces and ledges with ornate windows.  As I gazed at it, I saw colours swirling in the water:  green; red; yellow...”  

“…I felt I was breathing an India of another time… an entire symphony of luminous diamonds, sapphires of the deepest blue, rubies the colour of pigeon’s blood, pink pearls and sea-green emeralds, most of which were set in gold… like in the tales of  A Thousand and One Nights…” 

The Jewel in the Crown of England in the 19th century, today India spreads its shine on the Globe. A feast of colours, landscapes and works of Art; a mosaic of ideas and people that bear the stamp of its ageless wisdom. Everything in superlatives in the Indian world, seen through the alteration of contrasts:  another order, both subversive and charming to the gaze of the traveller. 

The book is illustrated with colorful pictures. 

Watch the YouTube book trailer videos of INDIA and my Persian garden: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrbC-aJ-0WKvgI0SRse-Ysx2PSDjd9L7u 
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.  In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his  cash.  He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.  Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away.  Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life.  Admitting an interst that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the dries and desires that propelled McCandless.  Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris.  He is said  to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity , and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding--and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the book Feeling ROME 

"An intimate portrait of the Eternal City" 

Visiting a city and then describing it in a guide book is very different than living it, breathing in the atmosphere, enjoying its surprises, discovering its details and recounting its hidden personality in an engaging and passionate way. 

In “Feeling Rome” Barbara Athanassiadis does just that: she introduces us to Rome, the Eternal City, albeit contemplating it from a different perspective, one that is more humane but also more penetrating, revealing the secrets of the particular way of life of the Romans, masterfully balanced between their glorious past and a bright and promising present. 

At the same time, she delicately touches upon the monuments, palaces, fountains, piazzas and shops of this fascinating city, breathing in the ineffable aura of the "dolce vita" of fashion and art. 

The author takes readers by the hand on a revealing walk, inviting even the most fanatical admirers of this city to fall in love again, as if it was the first time! «... As I walked through the gate of the Piazza del Popolo, in front of me I saw the square, dominated by the twin churches and the high obelisk, marking the top of the three streets opening like a fan ahead, leading to as many squares with stairs in marble and baroque palaces. Two hundred years before, that same imposing gate had been crossed by Goethe, who, finding himself in the presence of such a spectacle, a prelude to the wonders of the Eternal City, opened his arms and said, 'Now I begin to live!'»

The eBook is illustrated with colourful photos. 
Watch the YouTube book trailer videos of Feeling ROME: 


"Ever the charmer when she hits the paper, Barbara Athanassiadis takes us along on a stroll through Rome, her dwelling city of adoption. As a matter of fact, this journey is bound to take us far beyond the walls of this city and on to a trip to the Holy Land, where the journey turns into a soul-searching experience, as the author endeavors to connect her establishment in Rome to her remote origins.

Thus, as light as a feather, from palazzos to verandas, and from piazzas to movies of the ‘60s, Barbara flutters along, shedding what she feels is superfluous, along the way. Sometimes entire blocks are obliterated, churches seem to vanish into thin air and even historic accuracy seems as some point, to lose importance…. An experienced traveler, fully conversant with the art of getting rid of unnecessary burdens in her own, so very special, unmistakably feminine and romantic way, something like picking up the most beautiful Mediterranean flowers, before putting them in a vase to share the composition with roses and… artichokes alike!"
Maria Ioannides, Review in Vakchikon Magazine

"In her new travel book, Barbara Athanassiadis lives, breathes, takes delight in, discovers and guides us with a personal and insightful look of Rome, the Eternal City. She deciphers the unique lifestyle of the Romans, easily juggling between their glorious past and their bright present. She takes her readers on transcendent strolls, revealing precious and little-known secrets and inspiring all, even the most unrepentant lovers of Rome, to rediscover it once more." 

Theodore Gregoriadis, Review in Passport Magazine

The eBook is illustrated with colourful photos.

Author's YouTube video Book Trailers: 



"Discovering the Land of Art, History and Culture" 

It is from Italy that the journey into My World of Great Beauties begins.

Having lived in Italy for 25 years, a tender smile etches itself upon my lips.  “Just a smile?” you may find yourself asking.  Yes, but that smile is the result of thousands of images that have remained vibrantly alive in my memory, as if the quarter century that has passed was only yesterday.  The smile also happens to best express the extreme sentimentality which, from within the three books of my trilogy, takes on the semblance of a light and airy dance.

In Italy, beyond anything else, the senses dance, and it is the most sensual dance in the world.  The theatricality of the Roman Baroque is in harmony with the curt steps of Tuscany and the fragile grace of Venice.  And the people are full of movement as well.  The Romans swirl crazily about in arches, the Tuscans, completely aligned and bringing back a sense of order, while the Venetians confer their own charming mystical note.  

It is true that God graced Italy with an abundance of Beauty, and if its expression is best defined with four elements:  nature, color, harmony and elegance, then as charmed as I was at encountering them, I set out to share this experience with you.  If each book is a reflection of the fantasy of its creator, it is also a reflection of the fantasy of its readers.


"In her new travel book, Barbara Athanassiadis lives, breathes, takes delight in, discovers and guides us with a personal and insightful look of Rome, the Eternal City.  She deciphers the unique lifestyle of the Romans, easily juggling between their glorious past and their bright present.  She takes her readers on transcendent strolls, revealing precious and little-known secrets and inspiring all, even the most unrepentant lovers of Rome, to rediscover it once more."

Theodore Gregoriadis, Review in Passport Magazine

"A Year In Tuscany by Barbara Athanassiadis retraces the world of the Medici through the eyes of a traveler fully impregnated by classical culture, capable of discovering the long thin line that binds the cradle of Italy to Greece, Mediterranean  mother of our intellectual universe. Barbara's eyes delve into aspects beyond our habitual vision of Tuscany."

Giuseppe Di Stefano, Corriere della Sera

"Attentive to the Venetian glances of  Barbara Athanassiadis’ book, I  realized an emotional escalation, as the author is quite literal with her title: MY VENICE. This is indeed her own Venice, with the meaning not so much of her subjective glance or the focus on what selectively charms her, but in the particular way she sees things, looking towards the view of many sights, and not really seeing them.  She wanders amongst her favorite places and drags my gaze to colors and sensations without guiding it .  Just as charmingly, she approximates aspects of everyday life in her extra-literary life, calmly, with a nonchalance and always with a smile.  Just as spontaneously, and naturally, she unfolds the myth in which she dresses her wanderings.  Motives, thoughts, quests, reactions of her heroes, occur nearly as obviously... By reading her book, we follow the confessional narration  of a friend, where the intimacy of her voice is entrusted to our ears.

Helen Kritika , Book Critic

Guarda il video book trailer "Un Anno in Toscana" su YouTube:


 L'eBook è illustrato con fotografie a colori.


"Un racconto tra attualità e storia, paesaggio e arte."

 Meta tra le più prestigiose, la Toscana ha attratto nel corso dei secoli intellettuali e artisti provenienti soprattutto dall' Europa centrale e settentrionale, incantati dalla natura e dalla cultura di quella regione e, in generale, del nostro Paese.

 Nel suo libro "Un anno in Toscana" Barbara Athanassiadis, seguendo le orme dei suoi predecessori, compie lo stesso cammino già percorso nei secoli dai cultori del "Gran Tour".

 Di origine greca e grande conoscitrice del mondo mediterraneo, l'autrice non sceglie di visitare la Toscana perchè attratta dal sole, dalla luce o dal '"dolce far niente" a lei ben familiari, ma spinta dalla curiosità verso i suoi abitanti e dal loro stile di vita che riesce a conciliare mirabilmente cultura e natura, arte e buona tavola. 

Sulle orme dei suoi antenati bizantini e consapevole dell'apporto culturale dei dotti greci rifugiatisi in Toscana dopo la conquista ottomana e la caduta di Costantinopoli, Barbara Athanassiadis costruisce un interessante parallelo tra il Rinascimento toscano e il secolo d'oro dell'Atene classica. Con stile coinvolgente e accattivante e grazie all'arma formidabile dell' ironia, l'autrice coglie vizi e virtù degli italiani, facendo scoprire a noi stessi aspetti inediti più o meno divertenti, ma sempre rivelatori del nostro carattere nazionale.


"Attraverso le immagini, Barbara Athanassiadis scrive un testo lirico, nel quale la Toscana, la più nobile delle terre italiane, è celebrata nel suo splendore: secoli di fatica umana hanno modificato l'originario tessuto naturale, creando un paesaggio a misura d'uomo che non ha eguali. Aggiungo che mi sarebbe piaciuto leggere il testo nella sua lingua originale ma non mi è stato possibile, visto che non la conosco. La traduzione peraltro bellissima, con un linguaggio sciolto, affascinante, suadente ed essa mi lascia supporre un testo d'origine di almeno pari bellezza: i casi nei quali le traduzioni siano riuscite a superare gli originali si contano sulle dita, in oltre tre millenni di civiltà della scrittura". - Fabrizio Lemme, Accademia di San Luca

"Un Anno in Toscana di Barbara Athanassiadis ripercorre il mondo che fu dei Medici con gli occhi di una viaggiatrice ricca di cultura classica, capace di scoprire la lunga linea sottile che lega la culla dell’arte italiana alla Grecia, madre mediterranea del nostro universo intellettuale. Gli occhi di Barbara indagano aspetti che sfuggono alla nostra visione abitudinaria della Toscana." - Giuseppe Di Stefano, “Corriere della Sera”

 "Una stella letteraria mediterranea, Barbara Athanassiadis scrittrice nota nell’avita terra greca è da pochissimo approdata nel tirreno italico. Salutiamo con vivace gioia, il suo primo lavoro in Italia -Un anno in Toscana- un libro che ci riporta all’etica del Grand Tour. Barbara viaggia “slow” e dalle sue permanenze scrive i suoi romanzi tuffandosi nella quotidianità della gente che incontra divenendo lei stessa parte della micro-storia. I suoi racconti hanno un tale grande respiro da sembrare reali. Se pensiamo che sia stato scritto tutto sulla straordinaria terra e umanità toscana, sbagliamo! Il punto di vista della nostra ateniese curiosa e solare è tutto da scoprire…..la lettura è fluida e tesa fino alla fine!" - Chiara Anguissola d'Altoè 

Δείτε τα βίντεο από το YouTube των βιβλίων:


Ταξιδεύοντας στην ΙΤΑΛΙΑ: «Ανακαλύπτοντας τη Χώρα της Τέχνης, της Ιστορίας και του Πολιτισμού»

Είναι από την Ιταλία που το ταξίδι μου στον κόσμο της Ομορφιάς αρχίζει.

Έχοντας ζήσει στην Ιταλία για 25 χρόνια, ένα τρυφερό χαμόγελο διαγράφεται στα χείλη μου. «Απλά ένα χαμόγελο;» ίσως ν΄αναρωτιέστε. Ναι, αλλά αυτό το χαμόγελο είναι το αποτέλεσμα χιλιάδων εικόνων, που έχουν παραμείνει ζωντανές στη μνήμη μου, σαν αυτό το τέταρτο του αιώνα να πέρασε μόλις χθες. Το χαμόγελο εκφράζει επίσης τα συναισθήματα μου, όπου στην τριλογία μου αυτά παίρνουν τη μορφή ενός ανάλαφρου, ευάερου χορού.

Στην Ιταλία, πέρα από οτιδήποτε άλλο, οι αισθήσεις χορεύουν, και αυτός είναι ο πιο αισθησιακός χορός. Η θεατρικότητα του ρωμαϊκού μπαρόκ έρχεται σε αρμονία με τα κοφτά βήματα  της Τοσκάνης και την εύθραυστη χάρη της Βενετίας. Ενώ οι άνθρωποι βρίσκονται κι αυτοί σε μια συνεχή κίνηση. Οι Ρωμαίοι στροβιλίζονται με πάθος, οι Τοσκάνοι, ευθυγραμμίζονται φέρνοντας πίσω την αίσθηση της τάξης, ενώ οι Βενετσιάνοι προσδίδουν τη δική τους γοητευτική νότα μυστηρίου. 

Είναι αλήθεια ότι ο Θεός χάρισε στην Ιταλία αφθονία Ομορφιάς. Και αν η έκφραση αυτής της Ομορφιάς ορίζεται μέσα από τα τέσσερα στοιχεία: φύση, χρώμα, αρμονία και κομψότητα, τότε γοητευμένη, μοιράζομαι μαζί σας αυτή την εμπειρία. Διότι αν κάθε βιβλίο είναι μια αντανάκλαση της φαντασίας του δημιουργού του, είναι επίσης μια αντανάκλαση της φαντασίας των αναγνωστών του.

Για να με ακολουθήσετε, λοιπόν,  σε αυτό το προσωπικό Grand Tour της Ιταλίας, επέλεξα για την απόλαυση σας, το πρώτο κεφάλαιο από κάθε βιβλίο της τριλογίας μου.

Bon voyage!


«Η Βαρβάρα-Ρίτα Αθανασιάδου στο καινούργιο ταξιδιωτικό της αφήγημα ζει, ανασαίνει, χαίρεται, ανακαλύπτει και μας ξεναγεί με μια ανθρώπινη αλλά και πιο διεισδυτική ματιά στη Ρώμη, την Αιώνια Πόλη. Αποκρυπτογραφεί τον ιδιαίτερο τρόπο ζωής των Ρωμαίων, ακροβατώντας με δεξιοτεχνία στο ένδοξο παρελθόν τους και το λαμπερό παρόν τους. Οδηγεί τους αναγνώστες σε υπερβατικούς ρωμαϊκούς περιπάτους αποκαλύπτοντας πολύτιμα μυστικά και εμπνέοντας, ακόμα και τους αμετονόητα φανατικούς της Ρώμης, να την ανακαλύψουν ξανά. »

Θεόδωρος Γρηγοριάδης, Περιοδικό Passport


«Ιστορία, τέχνη, γεύση, μνημεία, αξιοθέατα, εικόνες: ιδού τα στοιχεία που συνθέτουν το λογοτεχνικό οδοιπορικό της Βαρβάρας-Ρίτας Αθανασιάδου σε έναν από τους ωραιότερους τόπους του κόσμου, την Τοσκάνη. «Ταξιδεύω,όχι για να γνωρίσω την Ιταλία,αλλά για την ψυχική ικανοποίησή μου». Με αυτά τα λόγια του Σταντάλ κατά νου η συγγραφέας, που ζει μόνιμα στη Ρώμη, ξεκίνησε την περιήγησή της στον Παράδεισο, όπως η ίδια χαρακτηρίζει την Τοσκάνη. Το ταξιδιωτικό της αφήγημα φανερώνει ότι η συγγραφέας έχει μελετήσει τις ιδιαιτερότητες αυτού του τόπου, τις παραδόσεις, την τέχνη, την ιστορία, ακόμη και ασήμαντες (αλλά σε κάθε περίπτωση χρήσιμες σε όσους αγαπούν τα ταξίδια και τη γνωριμία με νέα μέρη) πλευρές της καθημερινότητας των Τοσκανών. Στις σελίδες του βιβλίου «Ενας χρόνος στην Τοσκάνη», που κυκλοφορεί από τις εκδόσεις Libro, ο αναγνώστης μαθαίνει για τους Ετρούσκους, τις ακουαρέλες στο Αρέτσο, τους ανθρώπους του Βόργκο, τη Σιένα, τη Μαρία Λουίζα, την τελευταία των Μεδίκων, αλλά και για το κιάντι... »

«Η Τοσκάνη με τα μάτια μιας Ελληνίδας», Εφημερίδα το Βήμα


«Παρατηρώντας τις βενετσιάνικες ματιές του βιβλίου της Barbara Athanassiadis, συνειδητοποίησα και τη συναισθηματική κλιμάκωση, καθώς η συγγραφέας κυριολεκτεί απολύτως: La mia Venezia. Πρόκειται πράγματι για τη δική της Βενετία, με την έννοια όχι τόσο της υποκειμενικής ματιάς ή της κατ’ επιλογήν εστίασης σε ό,τι γοητεύει την ίδια, όσο του δικού της ιδιαίτερου τρόπου να κοιτά προς την κατεύθυνση της θέας των πολλών και να μην βλέπει τα ίδια αξιοθέατα.

Γιατί η ίδια περιδιαβαίνει τα αγαπημένα της μέρη και παρέσυρε το δικό μου βλέμμα σε όψεις, χρώματα και αισθήσεις δίχως να το καθοδηγεί. Όπως χαριτωμένα προσεγγίζει τις όψεις της καθημερινότητάς της στην εξω-λογοτεχνική ζωή της, ήρεμα, νωχελικά, με χαμόγελο πάντα, εξίσου αυθόρμητα, φυσικά, ξεδιπλώνει και τον μύθο με τον οποίο ντύνει την περιήγησή της. Κίνητρα, σκέψεις, αναζητήσεις, αντιδράσεις των ηρώων της προκύπτουν σχεδόν ως αυτονόητα… Έτσι, που να νομίζει κανείς, διαβάζοντας το βιβλίο της, πως παρακολουθεί την εξομολογητική αφήγηση μιας φίλης, που η οικειότητα της φωνής της εμπιστεύεται στ’ αυτιά μας δικές της στιγμές.»

Ελένη Κρητικά, Κριτικός βιβλίου

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