Books that Inspire Wanderlust #3- Playing for Pizza

If you have been reading this blog since the beginning, you know that Italy is one of my favorite destinations in the world, Florence is my favorite city. Part of the first trip I took after starting my sabbatical was to Cinque Terre in Northwestern Italy to hike the great coastline trial from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore.

Cinqueterre Vernazza Playing for Pizza

Some other favorites in my life are reading, the Iowa Hawkeyes (my alma mater), food, and football. When you combine all of things together with Italy- Andrea is a happy girl.  The book that links all of these things is called Playing for Pizza by John Grisham.  Not at all similar to the blood and guts murder mysteries he normally writes, Playing for Pizza is a character book filled with Italian and football imagery.

John Grisham's Playing for Pizza

The main character, Rick, is a washed-up quarterback who played for the Iowa Hawkeyes in college.  His pro career doesn’t go so well (putting that mildly) so he ends up basically playing football for pizza in Parma, Italy.

My pizza in Italy Smile


John Grisham takes you to Italy, the land of winding roads, cured meats, fresh pasta, grand cathedrals, opera, and gorgeous woman. The book itself is a quick and fairly easy read- a story about teamwork and making the best of things. This book is a very good beach read.  I bet that after you read Playing for Pizza, a trip to Italy will move up the bucket list to the top.


I have been craving antipasto, gnocchi al rose, and Chianti since I started reading this book. A trip to Baltimore’s Little Italy is in my weekend plans!

Florence Chianti

Have you ever read Playing for Pizza? Have you ever been to Italy? What is your favorite food or town in Italy?

Installments #1 and #2 of Books that Inspire Wanderlust

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3 Responses

  1. Mom says:

    I love this book!

  2. I’ve been to Italy and love this book! Cinque Terre is truly a magical place!!

  3. That is great title for a book! I do not know why but one of my most vivid food memories in Italy is a slice of pizza I had in Assisi. Once in a while, I think of how delicious it was. The crust was thin and crispy and the cheese was messy. I can’t ever remember the name of the place were we had that pizza.

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