Review: Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore
Welcome to Milan, as seen through the eyes of Barbara Conelli. As someone who clearly loves this city, she takes you beyond the tourist laden streets and down the back alleys of the city, to discover the parts she loves. Along the way, you will encounter some of the more well known landmarks of the city but their history will be explained in a way that goes beyond the travel guide summaries.
I have mixed feelings about Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore. The enthusiasm that Conelli has for this city is beyond criticism and this is a book that clearly has much love behind it. The various chapters have all the hallmarks of stories that have been passed from person to person and the history of Milan in this book is as much about the fiction and the legend as the facts and the figures.
Where the book falls down for me is that I feel it’s both a little short and also a little difficult for me to fully embrace as I haven’t visited Milan and feel that I don’t know enough about this city to fully appreciate the gems that the author is trying to uncover for me. To me, it’s a little like deciding to cook and suddenly going from having a vague idea of how to make toast to being in a cordon bleu cooking class.
To me, this would be a perfect gift for someone who has been to Milan or intends to go. It would be an ideal accompaniment to a guide book as it injects a wonderful dose of magic into the idea of an already intriguing city and feels like she is showing you through the secret doors of the city in order to see it in another way. It’s certainly unlike any travel book I have ever encountered and was an enjoyable – though rather short – read that I’d likely recommend to lovers of travel, Italy or both!
(Book source: reviewer received a copy via WOW! Women on Writing in exchange for a fair and honest review)