The Road to San Donato: Fathers, Sons, and Cycling Across Italy (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

This one took me off guard in the best way possible. What starts off as an enjoyable ramble about a Boston area father and son mountain bike trek through the hills of Tuscany to the town of their patriarchal homeland becomes so much more upon their arrival in San Donato. It is not just the reader's growing emotional stake in the lives of the two main protagonists (narrator and father), but the history of that small town and its role in protecting the lives of Jews during WWII is both remarkable and truly touching. And if that doesn't put the tear in your eye, Cocuzzo's artful, auto-biographical tale of family, heredity and father and son, multi-generational bonds will do it for sure. Highly recommended. — Jon Fine


The Road to San Donato is an adventurous travel memoir of an American father and son tracing their Italian heritage by bicycle. With only the bare essentials on their backs, author Robert Cocuzzo and his sixty-four-year-old father, Stephen, embark on a torturous 425-mile ride from Florence, Italy, to San Donato Val di Comino, an ancient village hidden in the Apennine mountains from which their family emigrated a hundred years earlier. After getting lost, beaten down, and very nearly stranded, when they finally reach the village the Cocuzzos discover so much more than their own family story.

For many Jews in the 1940s, the road to San Donato was one of exile; during World War II, dozens were interned in the village. When the Nazis came to ship them off to death camps, however, many of the villagers went to heroic lengths to save their lives. Walking and pedaling through this history, Robert Cocuzzo is determined to learn the role his family played at the time. The Road to San Donato is a story of fathers and sons, discovering lost cousins, valorous history, and the challenge and exhilaration of traveling by bicycle.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781680512441
ISBN-10: 1680512447
Publisher: Mountaineers Books
Publication Date: September 1st, 2019
Pages: 224
Language: English