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Our Italian Summer Reader’s Guide

By Jennifer Probst

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst


Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst
Questions for Discussion

1.   When we first meet Francesca, we discover she seems to prioritize work over family. Did you feel sympathetic or critical toward her character and her responsibilities? Did she inspire any empathy for her situation, or did you believe she could have made better choices?

2.   The three main characters—Francesca, Allegra, and Sophia—all have individual struggles within the family. Were you able to relate to one of them better than the others? Why?

3.   Do you think it was wrong for Sophia to decide to keep her health problems to herself and not share them with her daughter?

4.   Italy plays an important role in Our Italian Summer. As the characters travel, they begin to find out more about themselves. Did you have a favorite town/setting you loved the most? Why? What was it about the scene that resonated with you?

5.   The relationship between Enzo and Francesca grows gradually throughout the book. What kind of future do you envision for them?

6.   Allegra struggles with her resentment of Francesca’s workaholic tendencies and with not feeling seen by her mother. Many of us may experience guilt over our work and careers, and trying to find balance between work and homelife. Discuss the mother-daughter roles represented and the character with whom you identified most closely and why.

7.   Allegra and Sophia share a deep bond, which Francesca seems jealous of. Is there someone you experienced a tight bond with other than your parents? What did you get out of the experience? Looking back, do you see why you bonded with that particular person?

8.   Francesca has always wanted to be the exact opposite of her mother and raise her daughter differently. Yet her daughter ends up feeling more connected to Sophia, embracing her view of life rather than her mother’s. What do you think of this dynamic? Do you believe that if Francesca hadn’t pushed her so hard, Allegra would have embraced more of her mother’s viewpoints?

9.   The overall theme of Our Italian Summer is that our relationships to our family develop and change us. Discuss each character’s growth arc and how they changed over the course of the book.

10. Allegra and Ian’s relationship begins with friendship but morphs into love. Do you think her feelings for Ian change Allegra for the better? How so?

11.  Ian wants to become a priest. Do you believe he should have pursued a different path after falling in love with Allegra? What do you think happens to Ian after the close of the book? Do you think Ian and Allegra will always have a relationship?

12. Do you think Allegra and Ian should have had sex if he was intent on pursuing the priesthood? Discuss.

13. The Ferrari women meet many characters during their tour of Italy. Who do you think made the biggest impact on Allegra? Sophia? Francesca?

14. The book includes several descriptive scenes of landscapes and food. What was your favorite? What feelings did it invoke?

15. Have you ever visited Italy? What was your experience there? If you have never been, do you dream of traveling to a specific part of Italy?
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