Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture and Memories in a Well-Known Region’s Unknown Places

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Hidden Tuscany vividly displays the coastal areas of Tuscany, a territory often overlooked by visitors to Italy eager to see Chianti, Florence or Siena. Veteran journalist and Italophile John Keahey points out the keen distinctions that the western cities maintain: in food, lifestyle, and the way its artists are paving new directions in art that differ mightily from the Renaissance-rich interior.

Keahey interviews sculptors and their artigiani, craftsmen and women who toil in the marble studios, eating their lunch in workers’ clubs and cafes. From beach locales such as Viareggio, to Livorno (which has Venetian-style canals), modern Orbetello and the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, Keahey reveals beaches rich in European visitors and magnificent medieval villages that rarely see outsiders. The larger, better-known Tuscan coastal city Pisa can even surprise a curious visitor with places of solitude.Keahey’s previous books on Italy have always received widespread and complimentary review coverage—garnering praise for the depth of his research and his comprehensive analysis. Travelers instantly flock to books about Tuscany, and this one promotes towns and villages that are often missed by tourists, letting readers in on these “secret” destinations. For armchair travelers or vacation seekers, Hidden Tuscany puts a very human face on the region in Keahey’s discussion of food, history and language. And the result is mesmerizing.

John Keahey is a veteran newspaper and wire-service journalist who spent forty-five years in and around journalism. He retired in 2011 after twenty-two years as a reporter and news editor for The Salt Lake Tribune. He has a history degree from the University of Utah and spends as much time as possible in Italy.

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Advance Praise for Hidden Tuscany

“Travel writer John Keahey (Seeking Sicily) delivers another insightful look at the wonders of Italy, this time focusing on the coastal areas of western Tuscany to discover places most Americans “quickly pass through en route to somewhere else… This is not a guidebook, but Keahey succeeds completely at producing a book that lovingly describes the beauty of the region at the same time that it embodies what Keahey feels is the best ‘guide to being a traveler: pick a direction, carry a map so you know how to get back to your resting place each evening, and set out each morning with no agenda.'”
–Publishers Weekly (Read full review)

“Keahey fully understands the art of taking the road less traveled—a solid addition to his body of work.”
–Kirkus Reviews (Read full review)

“A detailed and enthusiastic introduction to Tuscany’s coastal areas, this book will come as an intriguing surprise to many who thought they knew the region well.”
–Mary Taylor Simeti, author of Persephone’s Island and Travels with a Medieval Queen

“Better than a guide book, Hidden Tuscany offers us close-ups of the cities and villages of western Tuscany and puts us in touch with the people who live there.”
–Robert Hellenga, author of The Sixteen Pleasures and Fall of the Sparrow

“Every landscape hides a story, and it is the travel writer’s task to find it. John Keahey reveals a Tuscany starkly different from Merchant Ivory period films, a Tuscany of marble quarries and sulfur springs, medieval towns and Etruscan necropolises, poisonous marshes and prehistoric archipelagos, and cattle country as wild and wooly as any in the American West. Shaped by time and tide, scarred by war and haunted by exile, this is a Tuscany of stark contrasts. Dazzling sunflowers clash with somber cypresses, while local seafood evokes the ghost of the drowned poet Percy Shelley. Keahey wrote this book ‘to engender a spirit of discovery’ in readers. He succeeds spectacularly. His prose is as chiseled and polished as the finest Carrara.”
–Anthony Di Renzo, author of Bitter Greens and Trinàcria: A Tale of Bourbon Sicily

“If you’ve never explored the western part of Tuscany—and few people have—John Keahey’s Hidden Tuscany will make you want to run for the next flight. From the marble shops of Pietrasanta to the ruins of the Sant’Anna di Stazzema massacre to the remote villages in the Maremma, Keahey takes us on a cultural, historical and mouth-watering gastronomical journey through one of the most fascinating regions in all of Italy. Part personal journal and part guide, this is a book to treasure—and to take along when you make that trip. ”
–Paul Salsini, award-winning author of The Cielo