Thank you from the heart, and a book giveaway!

Grazie is a simple and easy way to say thank you in Italian. Perhaps you’ve used this word yourself from time to time, even if you’re not learning Italian. But sometimes, one wants to express a stronger sense of gratitude, a heartfelt thank you, something conveying more emotion.

Molte grazie (thank you very much), grazie mille (a thousand thanks), and even grazie di tutto (thank you for everything) are all great phrases to tuck into your back pocket when traveling to Italy. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to sincerely thank someone in their own language.

Speaking of thank yous, I want to say grazie di cuore (thank you from the heart), to all of you. Prayers and Piazzas has grown tremendously since it launched a few years back, which means so much to me! I’m grateful to connect with you all and share my love of all things Italian.

Which leads me to the important part of the post: Prayers and Piazzas’ first book giveaway! 

As a thank you to you cari lettori (dear readers), up for grabs are four wonderful, Italian-themed books, all signed by the authors! (molte grazie, belle donne!) Each book has special meaning to me personally, and I’m so excited (sono molto emozionata) to share them in this giveaway.

Contest details at the end of the post, but first, an overview of each libro:

La Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales

la-bella-lingua-pb-200This is the “bible” for anyone who has fallen in love with Italy. This bestseller combines Dianne’s journey of learning Italian and loving Italy with a comprehensive overview of Italian culture, tradition and history. Weaved throughout are personal anecdotes and plenty of lovely (and lively!) Italian phrases.

I found this book at an open-air bookshop in Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, when I was newly smitten with the Italian language and still a little bewildered by my love of learning Italian. Because of La Bella Lingua, I realized that others shared this passion, and I felt validated in my love of all things Italian. Now whenever I encounter this book in my travels, either in the states or abroad, it feels like running into a dear friend.

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales

Mona Lisa book

Mona Lisa is a tesorso (treasure) of a book, which reads like historical fiction but uses fact to detail the life of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, the woman believed to be the model behind the world’s most famous painting. Through her painstaking research and seamless writing, Dianne takes us through a magic portal and plants readers into Florence in the 1400s, allowing us to see life from Gherardini’s eyes, a woman born of nobility and married to a successful Florentine silk merchant.

This book is a comprehensive read for anyone who enjoys Italian art, history and the Renaissance. Plus, this book prompted me to run away to Florence for a short time and walk the same cobbled streets as Mona Lisa, with Dianne herself!

Keep up with Dianne’s work at her award-winning blog Becoming Italian Word by Word.

Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon


Italophile Melissa shares her passion for Italian and Italy at her popular, award-winning site, Studentessa Matta. She was another person, who, early in my language journey, encouraged me through her own enthusiasm to embrace my love of Italy and Italian.

As a blogger, graphic designer, and travel expert fluent in Italian, I thought Melissa had tackled it all, but she adds another dimension to her talents in her debut novel, Dreaming Sophia. (Benfatto, Melissa! Well done!) The story is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It’s about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. And there are surprise visits from some of the most notable characters in Italian history! I loved how this book takes us on a journey through both modern-day and historic Italy, and is sprinkled with Italian phrases and cultural tidbits. The winner of Dreaming Sophia will also receive an extra gift from Melissa: a beautiful 2017 calendar, with each month featuring a location visited in the book.

For more on Dreaming Sophia, spend some time at the book’s website or Pinterest page.

Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Margie Miklas

Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Margie Miklas

This book is so gorgeous that I am tempted to keep it for myself! This collection, with its rich colors and details, will transport you to the exquisite Amalfi Coast. I especially love how, in addition to stunning landscape photos, this book captures the spirit of the people who call this part of the world home.

Along with thousands of her fans, I have followed Margie’s blog for years, but I really connected with her after winning her memoir in a book contest. Margie has traveled Italy from top to bottom, and has a way of taking readers beyond the famous tourist sites and into the heartbeat of the country: the smaller towns and the people who make them unforgettable.

Keep up with Margie and her Italian travels at her popular site,  Margie in Italy

Thank you again, lovely authors! Your work enriches my life and I’m honored to share your books here. 

Here’s the Contest Rules:

The contest runs starting today through Sunday, November 27, 2016, and is open to all followers of Prayers and Piazzas.  One winner per book, chosen at random. I will choose winners on November 28 and notify you via email (and maybe in a blog post!) if you win.

How to enter: 

  1. Be sure you are following Prayers and Piazzas, either here on WordPress or via email, Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Leave a comment: I would especially love to hear what new things you’d like to see on the blog in the coming year that would be interesting or useful (want more: Italian language? Travel tips? Cultural notes? Dimmi, dimmi! Tell me, tell me!)
  3. Fill out the contact form below, which will not be visible to the public but will send me an email with your contact information, so that I can be sure to get in touch if you win!

Good luck with the contest, and thank you for being a part of the Prayers and Piazzas community!



28 Comments Add yours

  1. I already have Margie’s lovely book, but would like to throw my hat in the ring for a chance to win one of the other 3. I’m new to your blog, but I like when you weave a little of your personal story in with the post. I’m also curious, along with Un po’ di pepe above, to learn about your semester in Italy.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen. I appreciate your thoughts! I’ll put you in the running for the other 3 books!

  2. emolly says:

    Thank you for your website! I love reading about adventures in Italy and with learning the Italian language!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind feedback.

  3. Debbie D says:

    Love your site! Wouldn’t change a thing!

  4. I am so glad to be following your blog – I would love to see anything Italy related but I do especially love photos and the language!

    1. Welcome! I’m so happy to have you here! Thanks for entering the contest and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  5. Ishita says:

    BRAVA!! Amazing giveaway! I love hearing about your Italian experiences with new words and inspiration…Keep them coming. I’d love to read the book by Melissa as her words and experiences have kept me steady with my Italian.. Also because I have read the other three 😉

  6. Gloria Walsh says:

    I would love to read Dreaming Sophia
    I have the beautiful book Colors ofNaples and the Amalfi coast by Margie Miklas
    Italy is full of heart and soul

    1. Hi Gloria, welcome to the community! Italy is full of heart and soul, what a wonderful way to word that. Thank you for entering the contest. Blessings.

  7. Julie Busa says:

    Great blog and giveaway! I love to read anything and everything about Italy so, no matter what you post, it will be of interest to me!

    1. Thank you, Julie! So glad to have you here! 🙂

  8. What a great post Stacy and a great opportunity for someone to win some wonderful books. The three other authors are amazing and I am honored and surprised to find that I am among them. Best wishes with the contest. It’s a lovely way to say thank you. Brava

    1. Grazie di cuore, Margie! I’m so excited about the contest and honored to have you as a part of it. xo

      1. It’s a wonderful way to pay it forward Stacy. Four lucky readers will have an even nicer Christmas this year!

  9. “Grazie di cuore” for teaching me a new Italian thank you phrase. I’ve been overusing “grazie mille” for too long! I do love learning new phrases as my knowledge of Italian is limited, but far more than that I love how your site reveals the hidden histories of places and stories of people in the Italy not visited by most outsiders. It has been so wonderful to connect with you about travel and Italy and books. Looking forward to doing more of it in 2017!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that! I’m honored that you enjoy my site and I have loved connecting with you as well. Your site, and how you share so much more than just travel facts, inspires me to do the same. Grazie di cuore to you as well, and also, another favorite: tante belle cose, many beautiful things. I wish that for you today and always. 🙂 And thanks for entering the contest!

      1. E ‘una cosa più bella da sapere io sono una fonte di ispirazione per voi! I am honored in return. 😀

      2. Italiano…? Brava!! 🙂

  10. Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming semester in Italia 🎄

    1. Grazie, Cristina! I’m still trying to decide on the timing, late 2017 or early 2018. As we get closer, I’ll share some of my planning details. Thanks for being here with me and for entering the contest! 🙂

  11. Elihu says:

    I love hearing about your Italian experiences. I have always been fascinated with language (and Europe) so hearing about either is fun for me!

    1. Thank you, I appreciate hearing that! You’re officially entered! 🙂

  12. bonniegm says:

    I already have two of the above books: La Bella Lingua and Mona Lisa – A Life Discovered. The other two are on my Amazon Christmas list. 😉 I would love to also hear about how you live/incorporate Italian culture into your everyday life here in the U.S.

    1. Great idea for a post, thank you Bonnie! I’d love to hear about that from others as well. And thank you for being here with me and for your active support! Always enjoy connecting with you. Thanks for entering the contest…. 🙂

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