Read The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit by Helena Attlee Online


The Land Where Lemons Grow uses the colourful past of six different kinds of Italian citrus to tell an unexpected history of Italy, from the arrival of citrons in 2nd century Calabria, through Arab domination of Sicily in the 9th century, to slow food and cutting-edge genetic research in the 21st. Along the way Helena Attlee traces the uses of citrus essential oils in theThe Land Where Lemons Grow uses the colourful past of six different kinds of Italian citrus to tell an unexpected history of Italy, from the arrival of citrons in 2nd century Calabria, through Arab domination of Sicily in the 9th century, to slow food and cutting-edge genetic research in the 21st. Along the way Helena Attlee traces the uses of citrus essential oils in the perfume industry and describes the extraction of precious bergamot oil; the history of marmalade and its production in Sicily; the extraordinary harvest of 'Diamante' citrons by Jewish citron merchants in Calabria; the primitive violence of the Battle of Oranges, when the streets in Ivrea run with juice. She reveals the earliest manifestations of the Mafia among the lemon gardens outside Palermo, and traces the ongoing links between organised crime and the citrus industry. By combining insight into the country's cultural, political and economic history with travel writing, horticulture and art, Helena Atlee gives the reader a unique view of Italy.Helena Attlee is the author of four books about Italian gardens, and others on the cultural history of gardens around the world. Helena is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and has worked in Italy for nearly 30 years....

Title : The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781846144301
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit Reviews

  • Fiona
    2019-03-09 09:29

    The product of several years’ investigation into ‘the story of Italy and its citrus fruit’, Helena Attlee has written a book that is a perfect combination of food and travel. Sour oranges, citrons, esrogim, tangelos, tangerines, mandarins, satsumas, grapefruit, lemons - the list is a long one. The Sicilian mafia has its roots (no pun intended) in the citrus trade which has been a staple of Italy’s economy for hundreds of years. There are some products, eg esrogim, which can only be grown successfully in southern Italy which sees an influx of rabbis every August as they arrive from all over the world to buy them for Sukkoth, a religious festival.There is so much history in this book, not just about citrus fruits but about Italy itself, and it’s so well written. Attlee describes citrus groves so evocatively that I felt I was there. She gives us mouthwatering recipes which are pointless to try making unless you can source the original product. I’m amazed at how interesting I found this book. Thanks to my friend, Linda, for lending it to me. I have to buy my own copy now as I definitely want this one on my bookshelf.

  • Rebecca Foster
    2019-03-17 13:40

    I started reading this during a vacation in Tuscany last month. Attlee, a garden historian, does a great job of blending travel, science, and history – and she even includes some recipes, too. Here are a few of the fascinating and unexpected things I learned about citrus fruit:• Lemons originated in the Himalayan foothills; all oranges come from Assam or Burma (research suggests China may be another source)• Blood oranges get their color from anthocyanins, which can only develop where there is a difference of at least 18 degrees F between daytime and nighttime temperatures in fall and winter• The bergamot contributes its essential oils not only to Earl Grey tea, but also to perfumes (including the original Eau de Cologne) and some disinfectants• Every year at the close of Carnival season, the city of Ivrea hosts a Battle of the Oranges, in which the fruit is indeed used as a missile [footage available here]• One type of citron, the esrog, has religious significance for Lubavitcher (Hasidic) Jews, who believe Moses sent to Calabria for the fruit to use during the Sukkoth festival [apparently citrons are the “fruit of the goodly tree” mentioned in Leviticus 23:40]; even today Jews import perfect specimens for ritual presentationI feel I’ve gained a new appreciation for the range of citrus fruit out there (it’s really not just oranges and lemons), and this was perfectly atmospheric reading material for my time in Italy. However, pushing myself through the last 150 pages in the five weeks that I’ve been back has felt somewhat tedious. To truly enjoy this book, I think you’d have to have more of an interest in horticultural varieties than I do.Sous les Citronniers by Claude Monet

  • John
    2019-03-15 12:37

    I started the book looking forward to travel narrative; there was some, though the focus is more on the history of lemons in the Mediterranean region - well presented, never bogged down in detail (or at least rarely, as I have a bit of a short attention span at times). Author starts with the big picture of citrus in Italy in general, saving the best chapters for later: a discussion of chinotto - used for the liqueur Campari, as well as citron that's harvested by Orthodox Jews for Sukkot holiday use (Hebrew: esrog). The latter sounds like a fascinating fruit, so I really felt that I've missed out never experiencing it in any form. Recommended especially for Italophiles, but general interest enough for most readers.

  • Paul
    2019-03-04 13:48

    These days lemons are a part of our culinary lives, but there was a time not long ago when these were seen as exotic fruit. People would return from Italy on holiday in the 1950’s with tales of trees laden with fruit, inhaling the heady aroma that the fruit gives.And it is to Italy that Atlee takes us. From the Sicilian terraces full of mandarins and blood oranges, to the Southern Italian groves full of the huge citron and bergamonts. She visits the perfumed gardens of Liguria to see their particularly sour chinotti and witnesses the festival in Ivrea where the inhabitants throw 400 tonnes of oranges at each other. Along her journey she draws together the history of the places and the fruits, sips limoncello on sun soaked terraces, discovers new pastas, meets Rabbis choosing perfect citrons, but mostly lets these fruits permeate her soul.I really enjoyed this. Atlee writes with authority and confidence on her subject, talking about the Arabs who brought the fruits to Italy, to the modern organised crime syndicates who controlled the Scillian trade. All the way through she manages to evoke the feel and atmosphere of the places that she visits, and on a damp day in the UK there is no place that I would rather be than a sun drenched piazza in Italy.

  • Laura
    2019-03-18 09:36

    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the Week:Mixing travel writing, history and horticulture, Helena Attlee takes a celebratory journey through Italy, exploring why citrus holds a special place in the Italian imagination.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-17 11:50

    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  • VictoriaNickers
    2019-03-19 10:31

    I was sent this as a first read copy. I really wanted to like this book and obviously someone who knows much more about books and writing, decided this book was worth publishing so this is just my little honest opinion. I have read National Geographics since I was a child. I have never meet a subject in which I couldn't become somewhat interested.The books explains the story of lemons in Italian history as she travels though Italy. The cover is beautiful. I'm assuming it's of an Italian painting. I searched for the artwork credits but could not find any. She is very passionate about lemons, culture and history. She is well researched which shows in her writing but she suffers from what I call the "science syndrome" in writing. She's a researcher first then a writer. There for the research becomes much more important than the story. She flatly gives you the story like a boring lecturer instead of showing you the story. This is why journalist make the best non-fiction writers, because it's been drilled in their heads that the story is what's the most important. They know that using words like wonderful and glorious do not enrich a story.

  • Giovanna
    2019-03-06 13:36

    Lo esperaba desde que leí las críticas cuando apareció en Gran Bretaña y, si bien el cultivo de cítricos no era algo que me produjera mucha curiosidad, el sólo hecho de prometer una nueva mirada sobre Italia me lo hizo deseable. Y ahora estoy fascinada con los cítricos, con su historia y su carga cultural. Lo disfruté de principio a fin, he aprendido montones y he descubierto un nuevo tema de interés. Qué más se le puede pedir a un libro?

  • Silvia Agostini
    2019-03-07 13:51

    this book is so good i wish i could take away one star from all the books i have rated 5 stars and leave this one only with the top mark! so interesting and catching. incredible

  • Cyndi
    2019-02-23 08:30

    This book contained some very interesting information, but, unfortunately, it really lacked in organization. I would have expected it to have some sort of overall organization, such as chronological or moving north to south in Italy. Instead it was just a mashup of stories, both historical and contemporary, and information and this made it very difficult for me to process everything.The book also would have benefited greatly from a few color photos. I guess one is expected to use the internet when the author's descriptions are lacking...

  • Trina
    2019-03-05 08:37

    An absolutely fascinating book. Obviously not a novel, but there are many many stories here.

  • Christine
    2019-03-24 08:34

    BBC BOW starting April 21 The land where lemons growA celebration of the Italian love affair with citrus fruit.Mixing travel writing, history and horticulture, author Helena Attlee sets out to meet Italy's dedicated gardeners and farmers - whose passion for their life's work is as intoxicating as the sweet scent of zagara (citrus blossom).(view spoiler)[1. the elaborate naming systems of Renaissance botanists for the myriad varieties of citrus; and a journey to the Gulf of Naples to experience the mild yet intensely flavoured juice of the Amalfi lemon.2. Sicily's rich tradition of citrus cultivation.Citrus first arrived on the island in the ninth century, brought by the Arabs whose sophisticated irrigation systems made it viable there as a crop. The island is still renowned for the quality of its fruit, particularly the arancia rossa, the blood orange, hailed as the 'prince among oranges', which is grown in the shadow of Mount Etna.3. The extraordinary story of the Lake Garda lemon. In spite of the coolness of its northern latitude, Lake Garda was once the centre of a thriving citrus industry, producing extremely bitter lemons that were exported all over northern Europe. It was a feat only made possible by dogged determination and a lot of hard work.4. Uncovering the origins of the fantastically violent and messy Battle of the Oranges - an annual event that marks the end of carnival in the Northern Italian town of Ivrea.5. A journey to Calabria, in the deep south of Italy, to discover one of the rarest and most precious of citrus fruits: the bergamot.Bergamot is the product of a natural cross-pollination between a lemon tree and a sour orange that occurred in Calabria in the mid-seventeenth century. It's very particular about its environment and fruits successfully only on a thin strip of land that runs for seventy-five kilometres from the Tyrrhenian coast to the shores of the Ionian Sea. (hide spoiler)]

  • Karima
    2019-03-09 08:26

    Fascinating! Chock full of the beauty and history of Italy via its citrus. It contains history, horticulture (I learned a lot about grafting, such a magical process), travel, maps, interviews and even a few recipes (citron tonic anyone?) 16 chapters with titles such as: Cooking for the Pope, Oranges Soaked in Sunsets and Green Gold.Some interesting information: ~ The Mafia's involvement in citrus production (grim) ~Traditional to keep citrus under cover fro one St. Catherine's Day to the next; St. Catherine of Alexandria is celebrated on Nov. 25th and St. Catherine of Sienna on April 30th. ~The Four Kinds (four personality types of Jews represented by citrus) p. 189-190 ~ how marmalade became a commercial enterprise (late 1700s) in Scotland. ~bacchettoni - Italian for a sucker (the new shoots that need to be pruned off). It is also a word that might be used to describe your sister's boyfriend if he were tall and handsome but utterly useless in every other way.Warning: This is a specialized book and those that are not that interested in gardening practices might find parts tedious.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-23 14:43

    Absolutely one of the best books I have read this year - the scent of citrus seems to percolate from each page. I realise this type of book isn't for everyone, but I love to read about the history of food products and the history of citrus is fascinating.I've dog-eared my copy of the book, making sure I don't forget some of the places I want to visit as, fortunately, I'll be in Sicily in a couple of months. However, the ever-thoughtful Attlee includes a list of places to visit in the back of the book along with a list of further reading and her comprehensive notes.Definitely a must-read for anyone interested in food history.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-08 09:45

    This book could definitely benefited from having photos and illustrations in it, so that the reader can see the different fruit particularly as much of what she focuses on are not commercially available such as bergamot and citron. The first chapter did rather jump around but it settled down after that and on the whole I enjoyed it, although I have visited some of the locations eg Sicily and lake Garda which made it easier to visualise.

  • Grace Ollerhead
    2019-03-04 06:27

    This is a well-researched, delightful book that traces the role of the citrus in Italy. The author provides scientific data on the various types of fruit, places of origin, recipes and towns where one will find specific varieties. Part travel memoir, part Italian history but mostly a sensory journey. Now turning the car to the south of Napoli!

  • Kelly
    2019-02-22 13:32

    If you had told me two years ago that today I would be obsessed with gardening - and not just gardening, but growing citrus trees in particular - I wouldn’t have believed you. Well, okay, I might have believed you because my obsessions are both impulsive and many. However, of all the possible foods to want to grow, starting with citrus is the equivalent of jumping headlong into reading Proust in his native French with only one high school level language class under your belt. Basically, it’s crazy talk.Yet - here I am growing citrus trees, in the Pacific Northwest of all places.In the past year or so of learning about the citrus family it turns out there is an astonishing diversity of fruits (over 4,000 distinct species of oranges alone) and their history and globalization is quite complex. Aside from being edible, the fruits are used in essential oils, perfumes, and religious ceremonies. All modern citrus are descended from some variation of three ancestors: pomelo, mandarin, and citron. It speaks to the prolific nature of those suckers that 3 species begat 4,000 more - and counting.If you find this particular snippet of information interesting, then The Land Where Lemons Grow might be worth checking out. Helena Attlee focuses on the development of the citrus industry in Italy, but there is also a lot of culinary history that spans the rest of the world, and several recipes that showcase the versatility of the fruits. Obviously this book is only going to appeal to a pretty niche audience but if you are in this lucky minority prepare to get a unique perspective on politics, history, and food. You might also want to prepare a space on your patio because you are probably going to want at least one tree (or five) before it’s all over with. 4 stars.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-01 12:25

    I found this book utterly fascinating and a delight to read. I love Italy, and I felt I was travelling alongside Helen Attlee in her citrus journey through Italy, steeped in the strange and colourful history of citrus cultivation and in the scents and taste of sour orange, chinotto, bergamot and cedro. Having it read it all the way through, I will dip into it again to inspire me on visits to different parts of Italy.

  • Molinos
    2019-03-25 08:28

    El país donde florece el limonero es una frase que Goethe utilizó en su libro Viaje por Italia en el que relataba su viaje por ese país en 1787. Yo no lo sabía pero Italia estaba plagada de plantaciones de cítricos en esa época, era la meca de la producción de cítricos en Europa. Atlee es una investigadora especialista en jardines y paisajismo, que nos lleva de viaje por Italia, por su geografía y su historia descubriéndonos ( o por lo menos descubriéndomelo a mí que no sabía nada del tema) todo tipo de datos tanto económicos, como históricos sociales o botánicos sobre los cítricos y todo lo que les rodea. Limones, naranjas sanguinas, mandarinas, bergamotas, cidras y un sin fin de variedades aparecen en sus páginas. A ratos me ha recordado un poco a Bryson porque Atlee es también inglesa y tiene esa misma visión del mundo que mezcla la sorpresa y la ingenuidad con unas leves gotas de «están locos estos romanos».Es un libro más que recomendable, entretenido, divertido, interesante y que al cerrar te deja con unas irresistibles ganas de planificar un viaje a Italia y comer naranjas a bocados (sin cáscara).

  • Ann Tonks
    2019-03-03 10:28

    I really wanted to enjoy this book. The cover is beautiful so I opened it with great expectation but failed to engage with it. I think the reason is to be found in the insight of another reviewer - Ms Atlee's writing style is more research than literary and the result is that the words are cold rather than engaging.

  • J Bradbury
    2019-03-09 07:42

    A lovely book about the history and cultivation of the many varieties of citrus in Italy from Lake Garda in the north to Sicily and Calabria in the South. Essential reading for all lovers of Italy! Wonderful

  • Annette
    2019-02-28 08:42

    The best kind of armchair traveling - I learned so much and feel like I just returned from an amazing journey I wish I could stay on forever.

  • Yolanda Morros
    2019-03-05 09:47

    "Un libro bellísimo que desprende el perfume agridulce de los cítricos y sabe a Italia". (The Guardian)

  • Hannah Hurley
    2019-03-18 09:52

    Recommendation from Chris.

  • Harrie Carr
    2019-03-22 11:37

    Interesting and enjoyable read exploring the history of citrus within Italy. I particularly enjoyed the part about the mafia and their involvement in growing lemons.

  • Richard Anderson
    2019-02-27 11:36

    Very evocative travelogue for citrus.

  • lacosmicomica
    2019-03-11 11:34


  • Lila
    2019-03-08 10:42

    Wonderful book about my country! Following the citrus trail Attlee writes about art, culture, history and life in these very special places home of all sort of citrus variety. Makes me want to visit (or visit again) every single place and I already went looking for some of the artists mentioned. I'm only sorry that I cannot find a translation in Italian of this book to give as a gift to friend and family.

  • Anna Marie
    2019-03-08 06:36

    This book leaves you with the refreshing taste of homemade lemonade served on ice or alternatively the lingering taste of a slice of lemon drizzle cake served with a pot of Earl Grey Tea infused with bergamot oil. The Land Where Lemons Grow brings you in touch with Italy and its privileged relationship with the early Chinese Mandarin, the Malaysian Pomelo and the Himalayan Citron. Italy has welcomed the early species of these fruit to develop a wonder of beauty, taste and commence. The journey starts in the sixteenth century in the time of the Renaissance great discovery of its vast collection of Medici citrus in the gardens of Florence and Castello. The legacy of fruit left behind at the Baboli Gardens is of historical pride. The journey takes you further south to Amalfi. The description of the Sorrento region leaves you with no option but to venture there yourself and celebrate the intensely flavoured juice of the Sorrento lemon and its regional digestivo, a slice of lemon sprinkled with coffee and sugar. There's more passion in this book than any ordinary travel guide! I am drawn to Ivrea, located in Italy's far northern region of Piedmont to battle away with oranges during their carnevale or across to Lake Garda, more specifically, the small town of Limone where the first cultivations of lemons in their new lemon houses took off. I could go on but I will leave the rest for you to discover! Buona lettura!

  • Mary Mimouna
    2019-02-23 08:38

    This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I'm giving this book my highest rating of five stars.The book reads slowly like a fine wine, and is a mixture of history, travel, art, science, and horticulture, as we are transported all over Italy, meeting interesting personages of the past and present who share all sorts of little-known jewels of knowledge. The book is a history of citrus in Italy which interweaves all these aspects of life. While reading, I enjoyed eating tangerines picked off my own ripe tree, and also have lemon and sweet orange trees now laden with fruit in my garden. This book is all about how lemons (and other citrus) came to Italy and became part of the cuisine and landscape, and the hundreds-of-years history of citrus in Italy. The Medici and other wealthy people used to have huge citrus gardens as a hobby and developed many varieties of citrus fruit.Every time I picked up the book, I found it really hard to put down. It's only 200 pages, but so packed with information of various types that one wants to read it slowly in order to savor each page!If you don't find the book currently in Amazon USA, it can be easily found in Amazon UK.