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About Michelle Damiani
Michelle Damiani is a writer living in Spello, Italy. She is the author of "Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center", a memoir of living in an Umbrian village with her three kids and two cats. To encourage other families to leap into the arms of an international adventure, she gathered 36 traveling families to share their practical tips and experiences and wove them together in "The Road Taken: How to Dream, Plan, and Live Your Family Adventure Abroad." Her life in Italy later inspired the bestselling "Santa Lucia" series, all four books which have been published and are available everywhere. When not planning her next adventure, you can find her at www.michelledamiani.com.
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Books By Michelle Damiani
An Italian café. A barista with an eye for trouble. And a village determined to create as much as possible.
Chiara has presided over the espresso machine at Bar Birbo for as long as anyone can remember. In Santa Lucia, this is the only place for cappuccino served with a side of delicious gossip.
In this ancient village, neighbors rely on each other and resent each other, all the while keeping their secrets well hidden. Romance blooms, even as the truth behind those love affairs threatens them all.
When everyone has ulterior motives and unspoken desires, it’s only a matter of time before tensions explode into flames. And unfortunately for the townspeople, the revelations could prove deadly.
Santa Lucia is the sweeping tale of a town on the brink of change and the villagers that call it home.
"Santa Lucia is a wonderful, sprawling, satisfying novel....This was my favorite novel of 2017." -- Caseful of Clues
"One of those books that keeps you awake at night reading. Loved the characters and the story."
"Santa Lucia brings small town Italy to life!"
Small villages keep big secrets.
Chef Stella Buchanan, rising star in the Manhattan restaurant scene, suddenly finds herself blackballed, without a job or any prospects. She retreats to Aramezzo, her family’s ancestral village in Italy. Her plan: sell the abandoned bed-and-breakfast and use the money to start over.
Her mother never had a nice word about the quaint Umbrian town, so Stella is resistant to the warm welcome of the locals: a quippy trash collector, an eccentric bookstore owner, a burly cop with a penchant for historical romances, an antiquarian who spins fantastical yarns, and a former race car enthusiast who now drives a porchetta van.
Plus, to Stella’s chagrin, the property comes with a belligerent cat.
Then her first guest dies under puzzling circumstances, and suddenly, Stella—a stranger in a small town—comes under scrutiny.
She must sniff out new clues and develop a theory of the murder, as she would a recipe in her kitchen. Searching through ancient cobblestone alleys and across vineyards full of tangled vines, can Stella discover the bitter truth before the town's buried secrets claim another victim?
Read the eagerly awaited debut cozy mystery by bestselling author of books set in Italy, Michelle Damiani! Death in Aramezzo is book one of a six book series.
In this witty and warm-hearted memoir, Michelle Damiani tells the story of abandoning her fast-paced American days in favor of discovering the Italian secrets of food, community, and life.
Along with her husband and three children, the author untangles bewildering Italian customs, delights in glorious regional cuisine (recipes included), and creates lasting friendships. From grandmothers eager to teach the ancient art of pasta making to bakers bagging bread in their underpants to butchers extolling the benefits of pork fat, Il Bel Centro is rich with captivating characters.
Throw in clinking glasses of Umbrian red with the local communists and a village all-nighter decorating the cobblestone streets with flower petals to offset the pain of embarrassing language minefields and a serious summons to the mayor’s office, and you have all the ingredients for a spellbinding travel tale.
Exquisitely observed, Il Bel Centro is an intimate celebration of small town Italy, as well as a thoughtful look at raising a family in a new culture and a fascinating story of finding a home. Ultimately though, Il Bel Centro is a story about how travel can change you when you’re ready to let it.
With laugh-out-loud situations and wanderlust-inspiring storytelling, Il Bel Centro is a joyous and life-affirming read that will have readers rushing to renew their passports.
“This is one of the most beautiful book I’ve ever read.”
“I absolutely couldn’t get enough of this book.”
“This book made me want to pack my bags.”
“I loved, loved this book. Fabulously written, engaging, and entertaining.”
“A magical read.”
A ruined castle. A town picking up the pieces. And a mysterious stranger who could change everything.
The fire may be out, but smoke and suspicion still linger in Santa Lucia. Though the townspeople still gather for espresso at the town café and swap recipes at the butcher shop, their iridescent blue sky is clouded by a veil of uncertainty and mistrust. The statue of the Madonna, set in a wall outside the café, watches it all in collected silence.
But when New Yorker Alessandro arrives to claim his inheritance, it unearths long buried secrets. His renovation plans set off a chain reaction of dangerous relationships and forbidden romance while exposing explosive truths—not just for himself, but for the people who call this village home.
Will secrets brought to the surface destroy peaceful village life forever?
"The second book in this series was exactly what I hoped it would be! The rich descriptions of the town, the plot twists and turns, the characters who came alive...this was a great read! I felt like I was in Santa Lucia and knew these characters myself."
"Well done and the twists and turns are unique and spellbinding. Cannot wait for book three."
"I absolutely loved the first book of this series and I couldn't wait for book two! The Silent Madonna didn't disappoint. I couldn't put the book down. I actually stayed up all night to read it! I read very quickly because I was so anxious to find out what happened. As soon as I finished, I started all over again so I can savor every word. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you love Italy!"
"Like meeting old friends in small town Italy. Following the lives of old friends and meeting new ones. Suspense, mystery and romance. I can't wait for the next in the series."
"Falling in love with the people of Santa Lucia. The excitement never seems to end in this small Italian village."
"This second book in the Santa Lucia series is a real page-turner. In fact, I raced through it and then went back and took my time to reread it! The characters are well developed and so is the plot. I cared about the characters and their challenges and triumphs. And the details of life in a small Italian town like Santa Lucia are authentic and believable. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Brava!"
Old secrets. New lies. An Italian village on the brink of catastrophe.
Things are changing in Santa Lucia, and not necessarily for the better. As the town’s residents move through their daily lives, finding love, friendship, and themselves, the past starts to catch up with them…and spill its secrets.
Sins thought long-forgotten return with vengeance, threatening the happiness of those who deserve it, and those who don't.
When children go missing, it sets off a series of events that expose hard truths and painful lies.
Will Santa Lucia crumble under the weight of these devastating revelations?
"Michelle Damiani has done it again!"
"A hair-raising ending keeps the plot moving up to the very last page."
"Beautiful setting with interesting people and so well written. You must read them all. A great getaway during these trying times-or anytime!"
"Loved the characters and their stories as much as I did the heavenly hilltop village. As an Italophile I was so wonderfully absorbed in this series."
"Oh, I love the Santa Lucia series."
Rumors. Romance. And more than a little espresso.
Santa Lucia has seen a lot of changes, and they’ve made life for the villagers harder than they ever imagined. Creating a working vineyard. Parenting a teenage daughter. Romance with the mayor. Being gay in a quintessential Italian village. None of these are easy, and everyone is feeling the pressure as their annual festival nears.
The villagers are back for one last passeggiata through the flower-lined alleys of Santa Lucia. Swapping gossip at the local café has never been so delicious until a storm of secrets threatens the village’s very survival.
With the rain beginning to fall and the wine turning to vinegar in the barrels, can the villagers bring themselves back into the wavering blue light of Santa Lucia?
"I absolutely loved the continuation of this story! I have literally fallen in love with Santa Lucia and these characters and was so happy to have another view into their lives. The writing is so well done in these books that I feel like I know the characters and the places."
"Beautiful view into small village Italian life. As a native Italian I find the books accurately describe the tightly-knit neighborhoods that are typical of my country, where everybody knows your name and your business."
"I can’t believe that I’ve devoured this series feeling such an intricate part of Santa Lucia."
"Damiani spins an engaging, exciting plot with wonderful characters and hauntingly evocative details of place and season."
It’s time to discover the world…together.
Author and clinical psychologist Michelle Damiani weaves together her story of a family year in an Italian village with the captivating experiences of 36 other contributors to create The Road Taken: How to Dream, Plan, and Live Your Family Adventure Abroad, the definitive manual for parents who crave the family-bonding and horizon-broadening of an international expedition.
Whether you want to spend a season catching lizards together in a remote jungle or a year making friends in a French village or an extended stretch circumnavigating the globe, The Road Taken will—
- shatter the myth that only trust fund babies can afford the global adventure of a lifetime by offering practical strategies to make money abroad
- inspire families to think outside the box and discover which experiences would be meaningful for them
- demystify the visa process and guide families to their new home
- share principles grounded in child psychology so parents can help their children with the inevitable transition adjustment like homesickness, culture shock, and anxiety
- describe the adventages and disadvantages of various educational options, including worldschooling, boatschooling, roadschooling as well as the more traditional local schools or international schools, and even hybrids of these
- embolden parents to step bravely into the unknown of possible hardships like language learning and medical issues and travel snafus
- offer comprehensive information on everything from banking to phones to what to do with your mail
More than a how-to book, The Road Taken inspires families to venture out of their comfort zones to create meaningful experiences together, at home and abroad. The well-researched and organized topics encourage families to dream and make that dream happen. It’s also the perfect book for those who love thrilling adventure tales. Even if you are just looking for ideas to spice up the next family vacation, this book is for you.
“Who knew there was a practical guide to making magic?”
“You may want to start packing your bags.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed The Road Taken and recommend it to anyone thinking of moving abroad or just armchair dreaming...”
“This book will open your mind about what is achievable and it will inspire you with how travel can strengthen family bonds and family understanding of the world.”
“Made me wish I’d moved abroad when my kids were younger, but really put some ideas in my head about retirement!