I watched this movie when it came out almost two decades ago (gah!) and liked it, but thought it was sort of awkward - especially the whole romance part. Now I know why. There is no romance part in the book: she in already in a relationship when the book begins and they buy the house together. I always wondered why that part of the movie felt so clunky.
The movie (and the book) drew me in because I've always wondered who I'd be if I lived somewhere else. I lived the first two decades in the same house, and the next 1.5 more or less in an 80-mile radius of it, so the idea of pulling up stakes and moving to another country held a strong fascination for me. Of course, now I live on the other side of the planet, so now I know the answer. Still, the book had it's appeal.
I'm not sure I ever adjusted to the writing style - it reads very much like she's writing in her journal; stopping and starting as thoughts or experiences come. Like the movie, I loved the parts of the book about the home restoration, and the gardens - especially the discoveries they make while clearing their land to restore it. I loved hearing about Cortona and the markets. But about half-way through the book, the author veers off into a very detailed, street-by-street walking tour of a town (Cortona, I think) that completely bored me; I started skipping whole paragraphs to just get through it already. The second half of the book got better, but then veered off into this very weird philosophy/theology/stream-of-consciousness thing that just lost me again.
I enjoyed more of the book than I didn't, and I'd definitely re-read - but I'd skip all the sections I didn't care for and stick to the good stuff.
[PopSugar Challenge: A Book that became a movie.]