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The Other Side of the Tiber: Reflections on Time in Italy

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A moving and illuminating memoir about a singular woman's relationship with a fascinating and complex country A fresh, nuanced perspective on a profoundly perplexing country: this is what Wallis Wilde-Menozzi's unique, captivating narrative promises—and delivers. The Other Side of the Tiber brings Italy to life in an entirely new way, treating the peninsula as a series of di A moving and illuminating memoir about a singular woman's relationship with a fascinating and complex country A fresh, nuanced perspective on a profoundly perplexing country: this is what Wallis Wilde-Menozzi's unique, captivating narrative promises—and delivers. The Other Side of the Tiber brings Italy to life in an entirely new way, treating the peninsula as a series of distinct places, subjects, histories, and geographies bound together by a shared sense of life. A multifaceted image of Italy emerges—in beautiful black-and-white photographs, many taken by Wilde-Menozzi herself—as does a portrait of the author. Wilde-Menozzi, who has written about Italy for nearly forty years, offers unexpected conclusions about one of the most complex and best-loved countries in the world. Beginning her story with a hitchhiking trip to Rome when she was a student in England, she illuminates a passionate, creative, and vocal people who are often confined to stereotypes. Earthquakes and volcanoes; a hundred-year-old man; Siena as a walled city; Keats in Rome; the refugee camp of Manduria; the Slow Food movement; realism in Caravaggio; the concept of good and evil; Mary the Madonna as a subject—from these varied angles, Wilde-Menozzi traces a society skeptical about competition and tolerant of contradiction. Bringing them together in the present, she suggests the compensations of the Italians' long view of time. Like the country, this book will inspire discussion and revisiting.


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A moving and illuminating memoir about a singular woman's relationship with a fascinating and complex country A fresh, nuanced perspective on a profoundly perplexing country: this is what Wallis Wilde-Menozzi's unique, captivating narrative promises—and delivers. The Other Side of the Tiber brings Italy to life in an entirely new way, treating the peninsula as a series of di A moving and illuminating memoir about a singular woman's relationship with a fascinating and complex country A fresh, nuanced perspective on a profoundly perplexing country: this is what Wallis Wilde-Menozzi's unique, captivating narrative promises—and delivers. The Other Side of the Tiber brings Italy to life in an entirely new way, treating the peninsula as a series of distinct places, subjects, histories, and geographies bound together by a shared sense of life. A multifaceted image of Italy emerges—in beautiful black-and-white photographs, many taken by Wilde-Menozzi herself—as does a portrait of the author. Wilde-Menozzi, who has written about Italy for nearly forty years, offers unexpected conclusions about one of the most complex and best-loved countries in the world. Beginning her story with a hitchhiking trip to Rome when she was a student in England, she illuminates a passionate, creative, and vocal people who are often confined to stereotypes. Earthquakes and volcanoes; a hundred-year-old man; Siena as a walled city; Keats in Rome; the refugee camp of Manduria; the Slow Food movement; realism in Caravaggio; the concept of good and evil; Mary the Madonna as a subject—from these varied angles, Wilde-Menozzi traces a society skeptical about competition and tolerant of contradiction. Bringing them together in the present, she suggests the compensations of the Italians' long view of time. Like the country, this book will inspire discussion and revisiting.

30 review for The Other Side of the Tiber: Reflections on Time in Italy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mary Tacconi

    I have been an ardent fan of Wallis Wilde Menozzi since reading her Mother Tongue, An American Life In Italy. Once again, in The Other Side of the Tiber, I am overwhelmed by the breadth of material the author tackled, explored, examined, reflected upon...as well as the remarkable insights she shares. Her thorough understanding of the too often extremely baffling nuances of Italian life and culture is profound and so well illustrated by numerous examples to which (as someone who has lived in Ita I have been an ardent fan of Wallis Wilde Menozzi since reading her Mother Tongue, An American Life In Italy. Once again, in The Other Side of the Tiber, I am overwhelmed by the breadth of material the author tackled, explored, examined, reflected upon...as well as the remarkable insights she shares. Her thorough understanding of the too often extremely baffling nuances of Italian life and culture is profound and so well illustrated by numerous examples to which (as someone who has lived in Italy for 45 years) I closely relate and with which I intimately identify. It is extremely difficult for me to write a review which does this book minimum justice. I am in awe of the intellectual depth, breadth, understanding, humility, openness, humanness, emotional honesty and empathy the author demonstrates in describing such a wide array of memories of varied nature -poignant and surely painful memories of both her American upbringing and her early Italian experience - her Rome years. I found the author's examples and descriptions of the stark differences of the psychological/social/emotional/physical reality of the two distinct cultures extremely vivid, clearly in focus...as in a good photograph (of which there is also a nice selection of the author's very own). I was especially touched as the author painted a picture of the life of the courtyard with its interpersonal relationships, raw hardships, tragedies and heartaches endured so stoically by her co-dwellers - the poor souls who nevertheless lived their miserable plights with dignity...never failing to generously look out for each other as they shared their dreary realities. The author also reveals several poignant personal episodes which add to our understanding of her background and experiences which shaped her view of the world - a view of life which was necessarily challenged during her Rome years by myriad experiences and situations in the entirely new context in which she was living. There are also interesting glimpses of the author's more recent years as she continues to live in Italy. Art lovers will be especially thrilled by the author's significant attention to art. While it is quite a task to be original in commenting on Caravaggio or Michelangelo, the author shares enlightening personal insights. For those readers yearning for realistic, insightful, beautifully written and intelligent material on Italian life, this book offers all this...and much, much more. The author's personal memoirs help us better define our own reflections on intriguing Italy. An appreciative 'thank you' goes to this amazing author for another remarkable and engaging book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    **I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks Goodreads!** I’m conflicted about this book. I can totally see the beauty in the writing and the stories, but it just didn’t do anything for me personally. The entire time I was reading, I could admit that the sentences were beautifully formed and amazingly written, but I only understood about 60% of each line. It was almost too complicatedly written for a memoir/travel book. For me, travel books should make me exciting about the place it’s descri **I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks Goodreads!** I’m conflicted about this book. I can totally see the beauty in the writing and the stories, but it just didn’t do anything for me personally. The entire time I was reading, I could admit that the sentences were beautifully formed and amazingly written, but I only understood about 60% of each line. It was almost too complicatedly written for a memoir/travel book. For me, travel books should make me exciting about the place it’s describing. The book should be written in a way where I feel like I’m actually there, experiencing this new place. When I’m done with a travel book I should feel like I’ve been to that place and have no reason to go back because I’ve experienced it all. Although some lines do a really good job of creating the mood of being in a new, foreign place, most of the time I was just trying to figure out what was going on and what the author was describing or talking about. Wilde-Menozzi tried to find a deep meaning in every little thing and for me that gets a bit ridiculous. Something’s just are, and they don’t need to be described and analyzed for 3 pages. On the technicalities of the book, I really wished that the pictures had captions or at least a title so I would know what exactly I was looking at. Sometimes I was able to use context clues and mostly make an educated guess, but I would much rather be told in certainty what the picture was of especially when it came to the pictures of the statues or paintings. But having pictures in the book was really awesome and I think it definitely added another layer to the story which I appreciated. The organization of the book was also done in a really interesting way. It was organized by subjects, like memory, elders and newspapers, to name a few. It did help with the flow of the story and kept things moving and it really helped me to finish the story. Writing it not in a chronological way is different and for the most part I appreciated it, but towards the end, when I realized that I hadn’t learned much about the author or her trips, I found myself wishing for more order. I wanted to know more about Wilde-Menozzi herself. Halfway through the book I decided to start a list of all the things I learned about her, and sadly the list only comprised of 6 facts. I read a lot about the artwork in Rome and Italy. I read a lot about the politics and the religion but I didn’t read a lot about her. And while those things do interest me, if she didn’t want to talk about herself, I would have wanted to read more about life in Italy. Not the history of it, or the politics or religion. I want to read about what it was like to be a young woman in her 20s living in Italy and Rome. I don’t want an entire book analyzing things. I want to read about life. When Wilde-Menozzi did talk about life it was the best parts. Her describing her neighbors in the courtyard and her students where my favorite parts. I just wish I got more of that, instead of the little bits and pieces. Basically this book talks about four things: art, religion, history and politics. With all this being said though, it wasn’t a terrible read. I finished it, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but it was good. I was satisfied, hence the three stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vassilena

    It was an interesting read, although I skipped some parts dealing with art in a lot of detail. It shows a fresh perspective on the way Italians do things (or, at least, did in the 60s-70s)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Bergman Carlin

    This is a beautiful book about what it means to be a young woman alone in Rome. Wilde-Menozzi, after fleeing her marriage and a good job at Oxford University, spontaneously moves to Rome and rents a single room in a rowdy courtyard full of characters, some she describes in devastating detail. She has moved to focus on her goal of becoming a writer (something she obviously accomplishes). This book is part-memoir, of course, but it's also a lovely introduction to Rome-- her vivid description will This is a beautiful book about what it means to be a young woman alone in Rome. Wilde-Menozzi, after fleeing her marriage and a good job at Oxford University, spontaneously moves to Rome and rents a single room in a rowdy courtyard full of characters, some she describes in devastating detail. She has moved to focus on her goal of becoming a writer (something she obviously accomplishes). This book is part-memoir, of course, but it's also a lovely introduction to Rome-- her vivid description will bring you right onto the streets, as though you were actually walking through the Eternal City (or, at the least, looking at it on Google Street View). She talks about how Rome is the perfect place to be lost because you can never really be alone there. Rome belongs to the people and it offers inclusivity, as well as centuries of history, culture, and art, to anyone who visits, especially those with a sense of wonder and imagination. I love the way she writes of being alone, of loneliness. She has a very healthy, productive relationship with solitude. And her love for Rome is so powerful it's enough to drag you down with her. It's almost enough to make me want to surrender my life and move to Rome on a whim...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I received The Other Side of the Tiber as part of a Goodreads giveaway. The daughter of a political family in the American Midwest, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi arrived in Italy decades ago by way of Oxford and a failed first marriage. Since that time, she has made Italy her home, marrying an Italian man and raising a daughter. These are her thoughts on a range of subjects in Italy, including, art, food, architecture, social and political attitudes, and physical and cultural landscapes. I found this a rea I received The Other Side of the Tiber as part of a Goodreads giveaway. The daughter of a political family in the American Midwest, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi arrived in Italy decades ago by way of Oxford and a failed first marriage. Since that time, she has made Italy her home, marrying an Italian man and raising a daughter. These are her thoughts on a range of subjects in Italy, including, art, food, architecture, social and political attitudes, and physical and cultural landscapes. I found this a really engaging and enlightening read on the ordinary and extraordinary points of making a life in Italy, especially from an outsider's perspective. Each chapter is fairly short divided into smaller sub-chapters, which keeps the narrative quite succinct, leading to a richer read. The variety of subjects covered is interesting, even examining qualities like light, and how it is different in Rome than anywhere else in the world (or even Italy). Nice, quick read, interesting without being dense.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    The Other Side of the Tiber is a subtle yet generous masterpiece. With a simple subject, a young American woman on her personal quest of self-discovery while living in Rome, the author opens up the foundations on which our civilization is based, questioning constantly her discoveries so that she includes the reader in each step of the way. Intelligent, but modest, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi allows readers, at their own pace, to advance from one part of the mosaic to another, offering photographs as pr The Other Side of the Tiber is a subtle yet generous masterpiece. With a simple subject, a young American woman on her personal quest of self-discovery while living in Rome, the author opens up the foundations on which our civilization is based, questioning constantly her discoveries so that she includes the reader in each step of the way. Intelligent, but modest, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi allows readers, at their own pace, to advance from one part of the mosaic to another, offering photographs as prompts. This is not an easy book, but eventually one comes to understand that "only a few things really matter" and these are of importance to all human beings.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ellen

    Wallis Wilde-Menotti arrived in Italy in the 1960s, a young American woman looking for a new start after a failed relationship. Years later, married to an Italian scientist and with an adult daughter, she wrote this combination of memoir and essay. It is not a book to read straight through quickly, but a book to savor slowly. Every page yields beautifully crafted sentences, thoughts worth reflective pause and writing worth appreciating. I was charmed both by her love for the people of her adopte Wallis Wilde-Menotti arrived in Italy in the 1960s, a young American woman looking for a new start after a failed relationship. Years later, married to an Italian scientist and with an adult daughter, she wrote this combination of memoir and essay. It is not a book to read straight through quickly, but a book to savor slowly. Every page yields beautifully crafted sentences, thoughts worth reflective pause and writing worth appreciating. I was charmed both by her love for the people of her adopted country and her patience and sympathy for her younger self.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Possibly it is being in Rome for a three week stay, and reading "The Other Side of the Tiber", that made this book so personal and revealing. But I think it is more than that. I think there is a resonance of thought in the book that extends beyond Rome, to the American Midwest, and to an understanding of how people resolve their lives within a culture, whether that be a birth culture or an adopted community. Wallis Wilde-Menozzi provides insight into the Italian people and culture and answers ma Possibly it is being in Rome for a three week stay, and reading "The Other Side of the Tiber", that made this book so personal and revealing. But I think it is more than that. I think there is a resonance of thought in the book that extends beyond Rome, to the American Midwest, and to an understanding of how people resolve their lives within a culture, whether that be a birth culture or an adopted community. Wallis Wilde-Menozzi provides insight into the Italian people and culture and answers many questions for me, and I would recommend the book for anybody visiting Italy, or not.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Benson

    This memoir of time in Italy included no maps of the country (a pet peeve of mine) yet I found it probably didn't need one. It was more a series of meditations on aspects of a life time in Italy, often concentrating on its art and long history. Some parts were very good, at others, I felt my mind wandering This memoir of time in Italy included no maps of the country (a pet peeve of mine) yet I found it probably didn't need one. It was more a series of meditations on aspects of a life time in Italy, often concentrating on its art and long history. Some parts were very good, at others, I felt my mind wandering

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew McTammany

    This was a very thoughtful and reflective memoir about a Italy and what it means to be Italian told from the perspective of an American expat. The writing was beautiful, but at times a little too opaque. It made the final product somewhat unapproachable. I actually kind of liked this book, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. This was a very thoughtful and reflective memoir about a Italy and what it means to be Italian told from the perspective of an American expat. The writing was beautiful, but at times a little too opaque. It made the final product somewhat unapproachable. I actually kind of liked this book, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Betty Dickie

    Endless run on sentences and inside jokes and stories made what could have been an interesting book into a rather tedious one. There were moments when the information was really interesting or at least new. But it just didn't catch me. Only finished it because it was a review book. Endless run on sentences and inside jokes and stories made what could have been an interesting book into a rather tedious one. There were moments when the information was really interesting or at least new. But it just didn't catch me. Only finished it because it was a review book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Almost any memoir that is set in Italy or in the city of Paris will hold my interest, and this one is especially good in portraying the amazing culture and complexity of modern Italy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    Ich habe ein Buch bei BookCrossing.com registriert! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14267132 Ich habe ein Buch bei BookCrossing.com registriert! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14267132

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    With exquisite, lyrical prose, WW Menozzi conveys impressions of a lost and fascinating Rome.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kate Padilla

    A little drudging at times, but an all-around experience on Italy, from its food to its history, art and culture.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathrine

  18. 4 out of 5

    Norma Demay

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom Wheatley

  21. 4 out of 5

    martha scott poindexter

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ishita Sood

  23. 4 out of 5

    Clarissasol

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dante Li

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Huntley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Raad Aziz

  28. 5 out of 5

    Claire Bradford Di Caro

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Cosmano

    very slow going for me in parts. Interesting book but it seemed disjointed to me

  30. 5 out of 5

    Suzan G

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