Solo in Salento begins with a lie.

Donna was raised never to lie, but she was desperate to break out of a life haunted by a wretched past, a loss of faith, toxic relationships, and a slow sink into domestication. Her life had stalled after an extensive and stressful management career in public and private sectors and early retirement. She craved time away from everything and everyone, including her loving husband. To give herself permission to take a personal journey, she lied, telling everyone she was traveling alone to do research for a historical fiction she intended to write.

While in Otranto, Donna learned how to master the complexity of a recycling system in a country where she didn’t speak the language. In the process, she discovered by applying these same trash rules to her own life she could sort, recycle, and discard the personal garbage that had plagued her over a lifetime.

The book’s universal themes of personal growth and travel invite you to come along. Active travelers, solo travelers, courageous wanna be travelers, and armchair travelers enthusiasts alike will be drawn into the magic. The Italian-American community as well as anyone who has traveled to or wants to travel to Italy will relish this transformational story filled with music, mosaics, mysterious sacred places, culinary delights, and the possibility of being kidnapped.

Reviews for Solo in Salento

“A sassy and sacred memoir for those sorting out what’s most valuable in life.”

Cassandra King Conroy, author of TELL ME A STORY: My life with Pat Conro

Donna Armer
2020-04-10T16:57:54+00:00

Cassandra King Conroy, author of TELL ME A STORY: My life with Pat Conro

“A sassy and sacred memoir for those sorting out what’s most valuable in life.”
“Donna Keel Armer’s gorgeous memoir is an invitation to explore Italy with an artist’s eye, a sommelier’s palate, and a mystic’s heart. Her story – reflective and riotous, intimate and illuminating –bares a bold and vulnerable personal journey of loss, discovery, and epiphany. Don’t miss this book!"

Rebecca Bruff, author of Trouble the Water

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:22:48+00:00

Rebecca Bruff, author of Trouble the Water

“Donna Keel Armer’s gorgeous memoir is an invitation to explore Italy with an artist’s eye, a sommelier’s palate, and a mystic’s heart. Her story – reflective and riotous, intimate and illuminating –bares a bold and vulnerable personal journey of loss, discovery, and epiphany. Don’t miss this book!"
"Solo in Salento is a journey of self discovery amid the white washed town of Otranto. There's sumptuous seafood, delicious wine and local hospitality like no other! Solo in Salento will woo you completely and make you dream of visiting the boot of Italy...to experience it all yourself.”

Ishita Sood, India’s only blogger on Italy - Italophilia www.ishitasood.com

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:43:28+00:00

Ishita Sood, India’s only blogger on Italy - Italophilia www.ishitasood.com

"Solo in Salento is a journey of self discovery amid the white washed town of Otranto. There's sumptuous seafood, delicious wine and local hospitality like no other! Solo in Salento will woo you completely and make you dream of visiting the boot of Italy...to experience it all yourself.”
“In the words of Donna Keel Armer, “Enchantment comes to those who open their hearts, minds and souls to its possibilities.” Solo in Salento is an enchanting story of her time in a small village in Italy. In inviting us to share a journey to rediscover herself, Donna opens up with vulnerability, honesty, and, yes, enchantment. She is so masterful with descriptions, we walk along side of her, seeing the village, tasting the food, dancing with new friends. This is not a book to race through. It’s a book to savor, to linger over each dinner, to enjoy outings and new people, to struggle with language, to feel the cramping of hands creating mosaics, and to take in the gems of insight she weaves seamlessly through the story. You will feel you’ve been to Salento and met a new friend.”

Donna Bearden, Author of Finding More Me: Journaling to Go Soul Deep

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:39:31+00:00

Donna Bearden, Author of Finding More Me: Journaling to Go Soul Deep

“In the words of Donna Keel Armer, “Enchantment comes to those who open their hearts, minds and souls to its possibilities.” Solo in Salento is an enchanting story of her time in a small village in Italy. In inviting us to share a journey to rediscover herself, Donna opens up with vulnerability, honesty, and, yes, enchantment. She is so masterful with descriptions, we walk along side of her, seeing the village, tasting the food, dancing with new friends. This is not a book to race through. It’s a book to savor, to linger over each dinner, to enjoy outings and new people, to struggle with language, to feel the cramping of hands creating mosaics, and to take in the gems of insight she weaves seamlessly through the story. You will feel you’ve been to Salento and met a new friend.”
“With searing honesty, Donna Keel Armer sweeps us along on a sun-kissed, soul-stretching journey of discovery. Her lyrical descriptions, as vibrant as postcards, capture the beauty and spirit of the ancient village in Salento that healed her heart. A life-affirming vicarious voyage that captures the magic of Italy and the joys of coming into one’s true self.”

Dianne Hales, author La Bella Lingua, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World.

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:21:07+00:00

Dianne Hales, author La Bella Lingua, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World.

“With searing honesty, Donna Keel Armer sweeps us along on a sun-kissed, soul-stretching journey of discovery. Her lyrical descriptions, as vibrant as postcards, capture the beauty and spirit of the ancient village in Salento that healed her heart. A life-affirming vicarious voyage that captures the magic of Italy and the joys of coming into one’s true self.”
“Armer sets off on her solo journey to rediscover the self she has forgotten, to step into her power, to heal, and we eagerly read on to discover what she learns about her life so that we, in turn, can learn about ourselves.”

Joan Dempsey, author of This Is How It Begins

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:39:07+00:00

Joan Dempsey, author of This Is How It Begins

“Armer sets off on her solo journey to rediscover the self she has forgotten, to step into her power, to heal, and we eagerly read on to discover what she learns about her life so that we, in turn, can learn about ourselves.”
“Solo in Salento is a mosaic—a rich tour of Italy, an art history lesson, a culinary adventure, a primer on trash, a tale of self-discovery, a love story, and so much more. Donna Keel Armer assembles the pieces with the flair of an artist and the care of an artisan. This book is for anyone who has ever felt the pull of wanderlust or the desire for some time alone.”

Tiffany Quay Tyson, author of Three Rivers and The Past is Never, winner of the 2018 Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:23:21+00:00

Tiffany Quay Tyson, author of Three Rivers and The Past is Never, winner of the 2018 Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction

“Solo in Salento is a mosaic—a rich tour of Italy, an art history lesson, a culinary adventure, a primer on trash, a tale of self-discovery, a love story, and so much more. Donna Keel Armer assembles the pieces with the flair of an artist and the care of an artisan. This book is for anyone who has ever felt the pull of wanderlust or the desire for some time alone.”
"Solo in Salento: A Memoir is so much more than a book about travel. It’s a touching memoir of self-discovery and renewal. The stunning prose will transport you to the Puglia region of Italy, where you’ll see masterful mosaics and taste Italian delicacies, and be moved by Donna’s personal journey."

Cele Seldon, travel journalist, Seldon Ink

Donna Armer
2020-03-03T22:35:06+00:00

Cele Seldon, travel journalist, Seldon Ink

"Solo in Salento: A Memoir is so much more than a book about travel. It’s a touching memoir of self-discovery and renewal. The stunning prose will transport you to the Puglia region of Italy, where you’ll see masterful mosaics and taste Italian delicacies, and be moved by Donna’s personal journey."
“As both an avid reader and a world-wide traveler, I enjoyed Solo in Salento immensely. Donna brought to life the magic of this lessor known region of Italy, and I could relive my past visits through her eyes. It was also a story of a women coming to terms with her life and the meaningful relationships she found along the way. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to immerse themselves in a beautiful story about love and friendship.”

Panda Richie, owner, Windows of the World Travel LLC

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:44:46+00:00

Panda Richie, owner, Windows of the World Travel LLC

“As both an avid reader and a world-wide traveler, I enjoyed Solo in Salento immensely. Donna brought to life the magic of this lessor known region of Italy, and I could relive my past visits through her eyes. It was also a story of a women coming to terms with her life and the meaningful relationships she found along the way. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to immerse themselves in a beautiful story about love and friendship.”
“Donna gives each reader permission to follow her playful lead… diving into their own hearts, cleaning off who they aren’t, and snuggling up, ever so gracefully, to who they really are.”

Sally Veillette, author of Coming to Your Senses: Soaring With Your Soul and Sicilian Roots

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:43:52+00:00

Sally Veillette, author of Coming to Your Senses: Soaring With Your Soul and Sicilian Roots

“Donna gives each reader permission to follow her playful lead… diving into their own hearts, cleaning off who they aren’t, and snuggling up, ever so gracefully, to who they really are.”
“Donna Keel Armer made a personal pilgrimage to Otranto, Italy to rediscover value in the fragmented pieces of her life. As she learned to make mosaics and participated in the village’s rituals for trash removal, she enhanced her own personal healing from abuse, rejection, and the engagements that littered her life. Solo in Salento is the story of one woman’s journey of magic, mystery, and music on the way to finding her heart place. A work of colorful literary prose, this is a book for everyone looking for strength, courage, and joy in their life.”

Susan Cushman, author of Friends of the Library and Cherry Bomb, and editor of Southern Writers on Writing and A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:24:34+00:00

Susan Cushman, author of Friends of the Library and Cherry Bomb, and editor of Southern Writers on Writing and A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be

“Donna Keel Armer made a personal pilgrimage to Otranto, Italy to rediscover value in the fragmented pieces of her life. As she learned to make mosaics and participated in the village’s rituals for trash removal, she enhanced her own personal healing from abuse, rejection, and the engagements that littered her life. Solo in Salento is the story of one woman’s journey of magic, mystery, and music on the way to finding her heart place. A work of colorful literary prose, this is a book for everyone looking for strength, courage, and joy in their life.”
“A captivating joy for armchair travelers and a balm for wounded souls, Donna Keel Armer’s empowering memoir transports us into the wonders of southern Italy on a pilgrimage of healing and self-discovery. Armer writes with the spirit of a born storyteller, inviting readers to linger in her language and champion her voyage inward. Robust with artfully presented metaphors, intoxicating in sensual details of adventures abroad, and courageously forthright in chronicling the reclamation of a sense of self from the fragments of a damaged life, Solo in Salento is a heartfelt and venturesome triumph.”

Jonathan Haupt, coeditor of Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy  

Donna Armer
2020-06-15T17:21:36+00:00

Jonathan Haupt, coeditor of Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy  

“A captivating joy for armchair travelers and a balm for wounded souls, Donna Keel Armer’s empowering memoir transports us into the wonders of southern Italy on a pilgrimage of healing and self-discovery. Armer writes with the spirit of a born storyteller, inviting readers to linger in her language and champion her voyage inward. Robust with artfully presented metaphors, intoxicating in sensual details of adventures abroad, and courageously forthright in chronicling the reclamation of a sense of self from the fragments of a damaged life, Solo in Salento is a heartfelt and venturesome triumph.”
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Donna Armer

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About the Author

Donna Keel Armer

Donna Keel Armer’s first trip to Italy occurred in 1995. She fell in love. While she has traveled extensively in North America, Europe, and Africa, she was compelled to return to Italy over and over. When she found herself alone in a small village in Southern Italy, she put the experience in a email journal to a small group of friends, hoping that one day she’d find the words to share the mystery, the music, the mosaics, the martyrs, and the marvelous food with the world.

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