Kate Langbroek’s deliciously funny, irreverent and inspiring memoir about moving to Bologna with her family to seek la dolce vita is a glorious reminder of what we can learn from the Italians about living life to the full – and what really matters when the world goes to hell in a handbasket.
‘I wasn’t looking to fall in love. It just happened. There were moments, encounters as fleeting as feelings. Sometimes – tellingly – they emerged from chaos.’
When Kate Langbroek first dreamed of moving to Italy, she imagined a magnificent sun-drenched pastiche of long lunches and wandering through cobbled laneways clutching a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of wine, Sophia Loren-style, while handsome men called out ‘Ciao Bella!’
In the stark light of day the dream Kate shared with her husband Peter after an idyllic holiday in Italy seemed like madness. They didn’t speak Italian. They knew no one in Italy. They had four children. Kate also had the best job in the world on a top-rating radio show with her longtime friend, Dave Hughes.
But the siren song of Italy was irresistible. This would be the adventure of a lifetime, a precious opportunity to spend more time with their children – Lewis, Sunday, Artie and Jannie – and it came from a deep well inside to seize life after they almost lost Lewis to leukaemia.
Ciao Bella! is about having a dream and living it as Kate shares the sublime joys and utter chaos of adapting to a new life in Bologna, what you discover about yourself when you are a stranger in a strange land, and how she fell in love.
With a country.
Deliciously funny, irreverent, inspiring and often deeply moving, Ciao Bella! is Kate’s love letter to Italy and her family. It is also a glorious reminder of what Italians can teach us about living life to the full – and what really matters when the world goes to hell in a handbasket.