Course Hero. "Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 Sep. 2017. Web. 17 Jan. 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/>.
Course Hero. (2017, September 20). Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 17, 2019, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide." September 20, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/.
Course Hero, "Eat, Pray, Love Study Guide," September 20, 2017, accessed January 17, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eat-Pray-Love/.
Gilbert travels all around Italy for six weeks. Giovanni dubs her "a spinning top" as she goes to Bologna, Florence, Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Naples, and Calabria on short trips. She glories in her freedom and often wakes herself at night with her own laughter during her dreams.
Gilbert's Uncle Terry and Aunt Deb arrive in Florence on vacation, and Gilbert goes to visit them for a day and show them around. Then she goes on to the wealthy town of Lucca, in Tuscany, known for its smoked meats—which she admires greatly—and lush, fresh produce. She enjoys a fine meal in a restaurant across from the birthplace of famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924).
Gilbert also explores the city of Bologna on this trip and finds it incredibly beautiful. Traveling by train to her next destination, she is delighted to discover that she now knows enough Italian to actually flirt with a handsome young guy sharing her car.
Gilbert's friend Linda, from Seattle, is meeting her in Venice; she is excited to see her but also happy to not have to explore this "most romantic city on earth" alone. She and Linda met and became very good friends during Gilbert's magazine assignment to Bali and then traveled together to Costa Rica. She is an upbeat person, with "one of the world's most intact psyches."
It's a bit gloomy in Venice in November. The mood of the owner of a restaurant where the two friends dine more than once matches that of the city. Having been jilted by a lover who left her with three children, the restaurant owner feels doomed to live in this conservative "tomb" of a city. Gilbert is relieved that she herself does not become depressed. She credits Linda with keeping her mood buoyant.
Back in Rome it is hot and sunny, and Gilbert is glad to be back in this city she loves. She recalls a conversation she had with Giulio, in which he familiarizes her with the Italian notion that the essence of each city or person can be described in a single word. The word for Rome is sex. When he asks Gilbert what her word is, she does not know the answer—but she knows for sure it is not sex, which is why she can never feel as if Rome were truly "her city."
After this conversation, though, Gilbert goes and buys lots of sexy lingerie. She is not sure why she does this, especially since she will certainly not use it in India at the ashram.
Giovanni's description of Gilbert as a "spinning top" is an apt one. Readers can sense in these chapters that her time in Rome is winding down. She feels free and easy as she travels. She has mastered Italian to the point where she can engage in flirtatious banter with a native. She no longer questions her right to do what she feels like doing.
Gilbert is also apparently peaceful about leaving Rome, having decided that, although she loves it, it is not a city where she wants to live. She is looking forward to India, and it's obvious that her journey of self-discovery is not over. The story about her conversation with Giulio and her inability to come up with a word that defines her essence is important: not only is it symbolic of her quest not yet being complete, it is another instance of a time when her emphasis on a single word is important for readers to file away for future reference.