Synopses & Reviews
After two decades in the Southwest studying plant use and cultivation by the native hunter-gatherers and first farmers of the New World, Gary Nabhan, one of
America's finest naturalists and nature writers, turns his attention to the Old World, walking the Franciscan Way, nearly two hundred miles from Florence to
Assisi. Accompanied by a friend, Nabhan enters the heart of the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside in order to read the landscape as one reads a sacred book,
slowly and with growing delight. He talks with peasant farmers, truffle sellers, cooks, and bakers, all eager to share their plants, seeds, cooking methods, and
cultural insights with the American pilgrims. Saint Francis has come to be a model for what it means to be human in the natural world, and Nabhan takes him as a
guide. This journey becomes a spiritual quest as well as an ethnobotanical field trip. Together with Nabhan we discover what is useful in the old ways, what
remains wild in the civilized world, and what in ancient science has survived to make its way into contemporary culture.
Arousing the mind and the appetite, Nabhan tells of his adventures as he walks through northern and central Italy along a route used by St. Francis of Assisi. From his talks with peasant farmers and others rich experiences, Nabhan offers profound reflections on the spirit with precise observations of nature as well as lively asides on Italian cuisine.