Reader reviews from 

 5.0 out of 5 stars A PERFECT VINTAGE,
September 12, 2012 By steffi f - 
I loved this book. It captured the humour and essence of struggling to start a vineyard and produce a wonderful wine. Tony Rocca has a laid-back style which I found informative without being preachy - and full of wit and pathos. I read it glass in hand.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fireflies and wine. Fascinating and, thankfully, realistic., September 13, 2012 By Julia Gardiner "Online cat" (LONDON) 
Going to live in Tuscan is a dream that many of us have had. Books, glowing with unlikely tales about the food and the local people, have been written about it. I've read them and felt a big whiff of adman's insincerity in the prose. This book is different. It is how it really was - and, I suppose, still is. If you are following your Tuscan dream, you'd better read this first.
I stayed at Tony and Mira's Tuscan dream apartments and had a wonderful holiday. The fireflies lit up the hillside and Tony's wine lit up my husband! As a holiday it was all that we wanted. What I didn't realise then was the sheer hard work that had gone into it and the difficulties in getting the project off the ground.
A good read and an intelligent book.
 5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Read, September 13, 2012
By KevynDee 
You really won't read a better book on how one man's dream became a reality and a triumph over so many adversities along the way. Tony Rocca is an inspirational writer and this book had me gripped from the opening pages of the first chapter. Not even knowing this area of Italy is no boundary to the wonderful flow of writing which remains captivating throughout every subsequent chapter and what's more Tony Rocca takes you on such a colourful journey, he is probably doing a better PR job in highlighting the sheer beauty of the area than the local tourist board! This is a well written book on one man's vision and is certainly worth raising a glass or two of Chianti for!
5.0 out of 5 stars Is It Time for You to Move to Tuscany?, September 14, 2012
By Odysseus II "Walking Man" (Valbonne, France) 
Are you still dreaming of buying a dilapidated farmhouse in Tuscany and converting it into a prize-winning, wine-producing estate that will quadruple in value? Or maybe you're more humble and are merely contemplating an earthy but chic ristorante or celebrity-attracting agriturismo B&B?
Better not celebrate your move and good fortune with a bottle of Chianti before reading Tony Rocca's bittersweet and amusing memoir.
Accompanied by his wife Mira, the Roccas experience with crusty Italian bankers, corrupt local politicians, pie-in-the-sky winemakers and a generally dysfunctional bureaucracy in a scandalous black economy reveal that many sour grapes accompany profitable vintages and an idyllic life in rural Italy.
This lively book, and the glass of wine you sip while reading it in your armchair, may encourage you to think twice, save your money and maintain your sanity.
5.0 out of 5 stars 5.0 out of 5 stars What great fun this book is, September 27, 2012By Dwight L. Nye (Cashiers, NC USA) 

What great fun this book is! Of course the subject matter is fascinating, dealing with ambitions of combining business success with the joys of Italian country living. But this is a project that is clearly not for everyone. I have enjoyed hours of pleasure here in Mr. Rocca's exciting tale of courage, ambition, intrigue and success (and the failures as well). It is hard to imagine that any person who enjoys travel, wine and a story told with humor and intelligence would be disapointed in this effort.





I love hearing from readers, so if you'd like to send me a message please do so via this link.  Here's what some very kind people have been saying about Catching Fireflies.

•  I have just finished reading 'Catching Fireflies' & just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed it. What a sense of achievement you must feel, looking back on building & creating something from where there was practically nothing. Your book was a joy to read, thank you.

Helen West,  UK


•  I picked up your book "Catching Fireflies" as my summer holiday read at Edinburgh Airport recently and was thoroughly engrossed in it from start to finish. I don't know what first attracted me to the book, but it simply caught my eye!

What an experience you had!! It’s a captivating read and your ability to triumph over some many adversities made it compelling. No sooner is a page turned than you seem to be hit by another obstacle.  Looking back, it must've been a tremendous hassle, but ultimately,  a most rewarding experience.

Well done and thanks for making my holiday read so enjoyable.

Kind Regards

Kevin Dorrian


•  I read your book Catching Fireflies and you made me laugh so hard at so many others you made my stomach HOW -- do I wonder -- did you cope against all odds! What IS your zodiac sign?

My husband Eric (winemaker, born in Denver, Colorado, USA and raised in Missouri...or better yet MISERY!) and myself, Argentine of Italian parents, moved to Tuscany only three years ago. I now work for Castellare in Castellina, and alas, go hunting (yes a woman huntress) with -- believe or not one of the Calabrese workers that did your roof at Collelungo!....

Kind regards,

Valeria Bottazzi


•  I finished the book somewhat reluctantly a couple of weeks ago, and have been trying to find your wine to sample before replying. Alas, I did not find the wine, but I did enjoy the book immensely! I think that it must have taken me several days to read the last chapter because I didn't want to leave you!!

I'm amazed at what an acclaimed wine you produced, especially after your 'little mishaps' Tony!! 

I loved the book, but was a little disappointed at the end that people had moved on and that you too were considering leaving behind your wonderful home - disappointed because I wanted to imagine you all there forever!! I looked at your other website and what an amazing place you have created, parts just how I imagined from the book.

I sincerely hope that you are both happy, and thank you for the inspiration and dreams that your book gave to me at the start of 2005.

Very best wishes,



•  Have just finished  yr book and loved it.  What ups and downs you both suffered during those first few years, and it took a lot of courage to see it through to the success it became.  A really good read.

My husband and I live in the UK and would love to go and see Italy and particularly Tuscany this year.  I have started taking Italian lessons and it’s obvious that the only way to improve is to be where Italian is spoken 24/7!   I have been onto the Collelungo site and it is still getting good write ups.  I see however they they now allow animals, which I know you and Mira didn't.  Have you any idea how this has impacted on the place - do you ever go there these days?   You must both miss it a lot - or maybe its a relief just to relax and not be responsible for so much!

Once again, thanks for a lovely, inspiring story.

Kind regards

Jenny Johnson


•  It is the end of a very rainy Easter weekend and I have just finished your wonderful book. I have not enjoyed reading a book like your Catching Fireflies since I read The Famous Five by Enid Blyton as a child. My ninety year old mom has nagged me non- -stop to finish as she couldn’t wait to read it.

What was so great is your dry sense of humour and you told it like it is without the reader getting a feeling that you were out to be funny.  It is one of the few times in my life that I have laughed out aloud on my own. 

Thank you, thank you for such a great book,  I borrowed it from the library but I am definitely going to buy a copy to keep on my bookshelf.

Kind regards


Swellendam, South Africa


•  I’m in the middle of reading your book which is fabulous reading. You & your wife's determinatation & courage is amazing & comes across so vividly in the book. I had to look up your website which is also fascinating. I don’t see anywhere on the website that you are still renting out the cottages? I read that you had lots of problems acquiring guests before you started making the wine. I would love to visit Tuscany & your place seems ideal..Please can you advise if possible to rent?

Many thanks,




•  We just visited Collelungo and Fabiola shared your book with us! We enjoyed reading it and wondered if we could buy two signed copies from you! Our friends loved Collelungo, and would enjoy the book! Your sense of humor, honesty, and descriptions made the book very interesting. We missed you!!

Sincerely, Janis S

Colorado. USA


•  I am writing from Australia to tell you both how much I am enjoying your book. When I go to bookshops I am always on the lookout for books written by people going from their courntry of origin to make a new life for themselves in particulary France or Italy. When I saw your book I was sure it would be a great read. In the year 2007 a friend and I did a tour of Great Britain & Ireland , also spent a week in Paris which still dream about. We travelled Eurostar to Rome then joined a Tour of Tuscany. Part of our day trips involved going to a Chianti Calassico vineyard. I had always stayed away from red wine as it caused migraines; I was thrilled to see "Chanti" didnt have that effect. When I retire at the end of next year I am coming to Europe again.

Cheers from Australia,

Eleanor O


•  What a wonderful book, and what a great story. I have worked in the wine trade for 25 years and what you have written was my dream. I have travelled the world tasting etc and just loved your journey into Chianti. Our brand is Villa Caffaggio, it’s great as well. I presume you have no 1997 left ??.

Please let me know when you write again, I just could not put the book down. Super read.

Regards to Mira as well, she IS special.

Robert H


 HOME                       BACK to