Notes from an Italian Terrace by Joan Marble

About the book

Thirty years ago, Joan Marble and her sculptor husband Robert Cook bought a piece of unpromising land in Lazio, the area north of Rome that was home to the ancient Etruscans. They built a house and, more importantly, grew a wonderful garden. All was not plain sailing, however, as they encountered a certain blank incomprehension from the local inhabitants. ‘Why do you want to have a garden here?’ they were asked. ‘There’s no water, the ground is all stones, it’s too cold in winter and too hot in summer, it never rains, it rains too much, the roads are impassable, the ravines are bottomless…’ But Joan and Robert’s enthusiasm for the land, their ignorance of the obstacles that faced them, their downright obstinacy, the unexpected friends who helped them, all served to conquer the intransigent landscape. Inspirational, aspirational, enchanting – this is an account of a passion for a place and an obsession with a garden that will charm and delight all who read it.

Reviewed by Titchfield Reading Group:

We all enjoyed the author’s descriptions of Rome and its inhabitants and their way of life. Lots of humour here. Some of us thought this more interesting than the gardening aspect of the book. Very easy reading. Excellent as a holiday book.

Star rating: ***

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