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A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

If you’re looking for books based in Italy, and specifically for books set in Siena, pick “A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar”. This book is a heartwarming memoir and a beautiful dedication to the city of Siena.

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

Synonpsis:

A Month in Siena is a gorgeous memoir set in Italy where the author is on a journey of self discovery.

The memoir starts with the author taking a month long trip to Siena. Originally from Libya, the author also often compares the Italian culture and lifestyle to his life in Libya. He especially feels entranced by the Sienese School of Painting (he doesn’t know why!) which he first saw in the National Gallery of London.

He loves the painting of Duccio di Buoninsegna’s Healing of the Man born Blind. Being fascinated by the Madonna dei Francescani, Hisham Matar goes on to say that he often feels the painting was made for him!!

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar is the author's story of fascination with Sienese art.
A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar
A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar is the author's story of fascination with Sienese art.
Piazza del Campo, Siena

In his month long journey he resorts to taking Italian lessons and also befriends a family from Jordan to feel more at home in the city.

There is nothing like learning a new language to remind you how agile and fluent the eye is and how unwilling and clumsy the tongue can be.

Hisham Matar

The author’s love for Siena is compelling and addictive as he evocatively explains it in this memoir.

A Month in Siena is not only a journey of discovery but also a wonderful lesson on Sienese art. Hisham Matar visits La Sala dei Novi in Palazzo Pubblico, La Piazza del Campo and La Pinacoteca Nazionale and feels smitten by all the palazzi and piazze.

The Duomo of Siena or Siena Cathedral.
The entrance to the Duomo di Siena

Should You Read?? Yes!

A Month in Siena is a marvelous book that captures the true essence of the city of Siena.

The author’s style of writing and the intimacy which he shares about Siena are noteworthy. I now long to re-visit Siena and hope to visit the inside of the Palazzo Pubblico instead of just gazing at it from the Campo.

I think I was living under a rock till I found out about Hisham Matar in 2020. A Pulitzer Prize winner with a calming and honest voice, his writings come highly recommended.

“I believed I could spend a lifetime here in this foreign city where I had, for so long and for some mysterious reason, longed to be.”

hisham matar

Read More:

Exploring Tuscany in 3 Days

Ten Favorite Books on Italy

Watching Movies in Italy

Palazzo Pubblico and Sienese art.
A View from Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

Love and Art are an expression of faith.

hisham matar

Explore Siena and it’s surroundings:

16 Comments

  • […] A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar […]

    Reply
  • Image Earth Travel
    May 23, 2020 at 4:28 am

    Siena is gorgeous and was there in 2018. Spent 12 days based in Pisa over Christmas/New Year and ventured on a day trip to Siena, Lucca, and Florence. Surround by constant beauty and would love to return.

    Reply
    • Italophilia
      May 24, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      What a wonderful trip that sounds!! I’ve yet to visit Lucca.

      Reply
      • Image Earth Travel
        May 25, 2020 at 5:30 am

        The whole area is gorgeous and I have to say, much cleaner than where I am in the south. Check out my post on Lucca when you have time… 😉

        Reply
        • Italophilia
          May 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm

          I have already read it in the past 😉

          Reply
  • Shikha Kothari
    May 21, 2020 at 2:14 am

    I have put this book on my list! I visited Siena all too briefly and need to visit again, so I am sure I will enjoy the book! Our daughter is named Siena, and we have promised to take her there on her 10th birthday 🙂

    Reply
    • Italophilia
      May 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      How lovely! Its a beautiful name 🙂

      Reply
  • LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia
    May 11, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Siena looks lovely! It’s one of those places I’d really like to visit one day! 🙂

    Reply
    • Italophilia
      May 12, 2020 at 10:54 am

      You should definitely spend more than a day then. I always regret not being there for the night.

      Reply
  • karenincalabria
    May 1, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Mamma mia, I’ve been under the same rock! Thanks to your post, I now have one foot poking out from under said rock. I just looked Matar up and the Pulitzer was just in 2017, so perhaps we’ve been busy?

    Reply
    • Italophilia
      May 1, 2020 at 9:52 pm

      Haha!! I felt the EXACT thing when I read about him and his works. Imagine.. Definitely we were. Glad you’re taking action and have a foot out!

      Reply
  • Silvana
    April 30, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Grazie per il tuo suggerimento letterario, Ishita. Mi hai incuriosito e cerchero’ questo libro sulla biblioteca digitale.
    Apprezzo moltissimo il tuo blog. Adoro l’entusiasmo con cui ti esprimi, la gentilezza che usi nel descrivere persone e luoghi, e le tue pagine sono state spesso di ispirazione per me durante le lezioni di italiano che faccio con i miei studenti.
    Sono felice di averti “conosciuta”, leggo sempre le tue pagine con piacere. Grazie di metterle a disposizione per noi lettori.

    Silvana

    Reply
    • Italophilia
      May 1, 2020 at 9:55 pm

      Cara Silvana!! Sei gentile come sempre. GRAZIE!!!!!! E` un piacere per me anche! Spero che il blog sia molto utile nei prossimi giorni della quarantena …Stammi bene, un abbraccio grande!:)

      Reply
  • Sheree
    April 30, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Sounds a wonderful book. I’ll keep a look out for it. I too enjoy visiting Siena though haven’t been for a couple of years.

    Reply
    • Italophilia
      April 30, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      I too went in 2018, haven’t after that. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did! x

      Reply

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