The books of Borgo Pignano

(A post mostly for bibliophiles)

Last Christmas we opened our present from our daughters to find this. DSCN7549On the back it explained that this was a long weekend (half-board) in Borgo Pignano in Tuscany. I am not about to post my 130 odd photos or describe our holiday, except to say that it was an uplifting experience. The ethos of owners of this beautiful 12th and 18th century cluster of buildings was of local, sustainable, organic living. We were happy, extremely well-fed (garden to table) guests, in the most stunning, spacious and peaceful of surroundings.

Among all the delights the one that enchanted me almost to delirium was the library. Never have I encountered such an eclectic mix of good books in such a wide selection of languages (original and translated) in my life before. I suspect it is unique.DSCN7373 DSCN7533

For tasters, here is a selection from just one shelf: Conosci L’Italia, il FolkloreQuarterly Review of Archaeology (1959), 4 vols; La Institución de Eserianza y su Ambiente, Antonio Jiménez; Manuale Storico della Letteratura Romana, Ranconi, Posani, Tandoi; Doppelspiel Mit Dame, Irving Wallace; Das Boot ist Voll…, Alfred A. Häsler; Kinder Brauchen Märchen, Bruno Bettelheim; The Fall of the Spanish American Empire, Salvador de Madriaga (many copies of this and other works by the same author in several languages); La Voce Che Ricorda, Ama Adhe (preface by the Dalai Lama); Ottjen Alldag, Georg Droste; Tschaikowsky, Alexander Andreavsky (in German); Secret de Centenaires, Jean Pelissier (Chinese medicine); Be a Goddess, Francesca de Grandis (Celtic spells); La Dottrina Celeste,  Emanuel Swedenborg; Mahā, Mudra (Mediation, French); The Twilight of Machines, John Zerzara; Spuren, Eric Ambler (German); Sesso, Antonella Biagioni; Fe Sin Blasfemia, Salvator de Madriaga; A Step by Step Guide to Drawing the Human Figure, John Raynes; Holbein’s Drawings at Windsor Castle, K. T. Parker; Shakespeare and the Emblem Writers, Henry Green. (Well, well, that really fixed spellcheck, it gave up completely.)DSCN7524I found little gems, such as a dual language school version of Coleridge’s, The Ancient Mariner. The text includes little resumés of the action written thus: ‘An Ancient Mariner meeteth three Gallants, bidden to a wedding-feast, and detaineth one.’DSCN7424_2 DSCN7425  Another cover that caught my fancy was Hawking’s Big Bang in Italian. DSCN7525

Then there was a music book of laments from the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland.DSCN7532

I have never known such browsing delight, but I’d better stop. Well, maybe the view from our bedroom window first thing in the morning.  DSCN7383