Lena Dunham, creator/star of hit HBO television series Girls and co-founder of weekly feminist newsletter Lenny Letter, recently recommended Diana Athill’s A Florence Diary, calling Athill “the ideal writer to show us what survival looks like.”
“Diana Athill’s A Florence Diary is a deceptively sweet and slim book. What could be a casual tour of Italy describing its spoils is actually a meditation on female friendship, war and the rebuilding of the self. It’s the ideal book for this moment in time, and she’s the ideal writer to show us what survival looks like.”
A Florence Diary, written by Diana Athill
In August 1947, Diana Athill travelled to Florence by the Golden Arrow train for a two-week holiday with her cousin Pen. In this playful diary of that trip, delightfully illustrated with photographs of the period, Athill recorded her observations and adventures — eating with (and paid for by) the hopeful men they meet on their travels, admiring architectural sights, sampling delicious pastries, eking out their budget, and getting into scrapes.
Written with an arresting immediacy and infused with an exhilarating joie de vivre, A Florence Diary is a bright, colourful evocation of a time long lost and a vibrant portrait of a city that will be deliciously familiar to any contemporary traveller.