Summer in the Islands

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More About This Title Summer in the Islands


Imagine spending a carefree summer in the Italian sun, beachcombing, eating and drinking with abandon, and drifting without restraint from island to island, from port to port. Here is the record of Matthew Fort doing just that—hopping between the Aeolian Islands, something he hadn’t done since his early twenties. Traveling by Vespa and by ferry, Fort tours the islands at his leisure. He takes us to Elba, where Napoleon was once imprisoned; to Salina, famous for its capers, just as Pantelleria is famous for its dessert wine; to Pianosa, where dangerous Mafia bosses were kept and which Joseph Heller used as the setting for Catch-22; to Capri, where Maxim Gorky ran a school for revolutionaries which was visited by Lenin and Stalin, to all of Italy’s 52 islands which he has never written about before. With 30 years of experience as a food critic, travel writer, and adventurer, Fort is an excellent guide through the culinary and cultural history he encounters during his summer in the islands.


Matthew Fort’s writing career began in 1986 when he started a column about food in the Financial Times Saturday Review. Between 1989 and 2006 he was Food & Drink Editor of the Guardian. He was named Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year and Restaurateurs’ Writer of the Year in 1991, Glenfiddich Restaurant Writer of the Year in 1992, and Glenfiddich Cookery Writer of the Year in 2005. His book Eating Up Italy was the Guild of Food Writers’ Book of the Year in 2005, and Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons won the Premio Sicilia Madre Mediterranea in 2009. He is currently a judge on The Great British Menu.