Sam Hilt records his experiences moving to and living in Italy, giving readers a real-life perspective on all that life in Tuscany entails
How many people dream of one day living ‘under the Tuscan sun’? The area is filled with charm, romance, and culture, making it a popular destination to daydream about. In 2004, Sam Hilt and his wife decided to pursue their dream, leaving to Bay Area and settling into a village in Tuscany. Turning Tuscan tells the story of their “slow-motion migration” to Tuscany, as well as offering an insider’s perspective on what living and working in Tuscany is really like.
Turning Tuscan is a collection of essays about Tuscan life: its food rituals, village life, language oddities, and everything else that makes it unique—both for better and for worse. Hilt says, “I wrote the book to share my insights both about what makes Tuscany such a magical place, as well as why living here can easily drive you crazy.”
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would really feel like to pursue the Tuscan dream and become a part of a village community, Turning Tuscan offers a perspective that is unique. The trick, Hilt says, is capturing that “limited window of time” available to record your insights; “You have to become Italian enough to play the game, but not so Italian yet that it all becomes invisible. If you wait too long, you are no longer in a position to reflect or comment on cultural differences because what people are doing seems totally normal to you.” And life in Tuscany, by American standards, is anything but normal: Hilt describes the challenges of getting an internet connection, understanding the political scene, “appreciating” the bureaucracy, and enduring customer service at the phone company, as well as those magical opportunities, like enjoying Renaissance art and participating in village festas. Hilt’s book is one that will, inevitably, have readers longing to go to Tuscany, despite the cultural quirks.
Sam Hilt went back to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in the early 90s. He wrote his dissertation on 15th century Florentine art and fell in love with Italy while he was spending his summers in Tuscany doing research. After completing his doctorate, Hilt taught part-time at various colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. He had the opportunity to organize and teach an alumni summer tour in Tuscany for a Bay Area college. After its success, he began promoting and teaching art seminars in Florence every summer. After a few years, Hilt and his wife decided to turn their summer hobby into a full-time tour business. In 2004 they moved to a little village in Tuscany and have never looked back.
Sam Hilt and his wife run Tuscany Tours, a tour company that offers unique lodging, immersion in Italy, and “time to savor the unexpected.” They pride themselves on striking that delicate balance in their tours between history, shopping, art, cuisine, and fun. By limiting their tour size to sixteen travelers, Tuscany Tours is able to offer their guests food and lodging experiences that are not available to large groups. Tuscany Tours is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents.
For more information, please visit http://www.tuscanytours.com/.
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Two representative chapters from Turning Tuscan may be reviewed online at https://www.createspace.com/pub/community/give.review.do?id=1113658&rewrite=true