Travel to Italy

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Travel to Italy

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elokuu 20, 2010, 12:02pm

I am traveling to Italy soon (Tuscany), and outside of "Under the Tuscan Sun". what are some other good books I can read about Tuscany, or Italy in general?

elokuu 20, 2010, 12:24pm

You can do much better than Under the Tuscan Sun. My husband's family lives in Tuscany, so I've read a lot of books that are about, or are set, in the region. Some of my favourites:

Travel guides: Rick Steve's Italy--the touchstone seems to lead to his Cinque Terre book, but he has a general Italy book that is just great, and then some more specific books too. His are THE most helpful travel guides.

Other good reading:

Italian Hours, Henry James
The Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim
Too Much Tuscan Sun, Diario Castagno
A Room with a View, EM Forster
Fabrizio's Return, Mark Frutkin
Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
Brunelleschi's Dome, Ross King
The Hills of Tuscany, Ferenc Mate
Short Stories in Italian: New Penguin Parallel Text

If you're going to be viewing a lot of art, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth century Italy by Baxandall is a must-read.

Hope that helps!

elokuu 20, 2010, 12:58pm

For something a little older as in early 20th century, try D. H. Lawrence's Twilight in Italy.

elokuu 23, 2010, 11:54am

Indian Summer by William Dean Howells has a bit of the Room With a View vibe but with Americans.

helmikuu 7, 2011, 4:21pm

I've read a couple of great books about Italy recently, both have a sort of "travel" vibe, due to the fact that they're both narrated by Italians who emigrated to America and then returned to their hometowns:

Conversation in Sicily by Elio Vittorini
The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese

If I ever get the chance to travel to Italy, I'll take these two with me!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 8, 2011, 1:01pm

I collect books on Italy; you may wish to browse my Italy and Tuscany tags. As for favorites, I have three that can be read that are interconnected: A Tuscan Childhood by Kinta Beevor; Castle In Italy by Lina Waterfield ; and, Castle In Tuscany by Sarah Benjamin (biography of Janet Ross). Beevor grows up in a castle along the Tuscan coast with her mother Lina Waterfield. The first two books by mother and daughter capture the experience from different points of view. During WWI and with the approach of WWII both move in with Lina's aunt - Janet Ross - a British expat living in another castle outside of Florence. Two other interconnected books are by Eric Newby: Love And War In the Appennines; and, A small place in Italy. The first chronicles Newby's experience as an escaped POW in Tuscany, including his falling in love with an Italian nurse. In the second book he has returned to Tuscany after the war and married the nurse. Finally a more contemporary view of Tuscany is offered by Matthew Spender in Within Tuscany. As for guidebooks, I genrally prefer the Michelin green guides; however, for Florence, I highly recommend Florence In Detail: A guide For The Expert Traveler - should you go to Rome there is a like guidebook to Rome.

helmikuu 8, 2011, 3:53pm

The Path to Rome by Belloc is a great and idiosyncratic little travel memoir (wherein one discovers that the wine which was so delicious at dinner tastes rather dreadful for breakfast). Also Poets in a Landscape by Gilbert Highet is very charming--the author is wandering around the Italy in search of the Roman poets.

toukokuu 6, 2011, 9:31am

The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones

(I'm Italian)

joulukuu 8, 2011, 10:19am

5 Thanks for the Sicily recommend. I think Sicily in general is rather neglected in travel literature.


joulukuu 30, 2011, 3:12am

> 9

Recently I purchased two books on Sicily: Bagheria and Sizilien, Sizilien.

joulukuu 30, 2011, 8:14am

10 Thanks for the info, Attempting to build an all Sicily bookshelf :)


Muokkaaja: joulukuu 30, 2011, 1:42pm

The Rick Steves website is good, the message boards are worth a browse. I went to Greece and there is a bizarre scam involving the train/subway from the airport to athens. The airport is a little ways from the city. Both subway and train go to Athens, the train only goes so far and you have to get out and then use the subway (of course, there's no real way to figure this out at the airport train station). You buy tickets at this unmanned airport station which is rife with confused travelers all with the same question, which train do I get on, which ticket do I buy? (and of course both subway and regular train are waiting on the platform below, open doors, not especially well-marked platform or train). Anyway, assuming you get on the correct train for the ticket you have purchased, the commuter train terminates and then you have to find your way to the subway station and get the one going into Athens. Not too mcuh of a problem if you take your time and you remember to find the machine to stamp your ticket (because you are in the system at this point and if you didn't stamp your ticket it would still be good for a fare and thus if you haven't you are stealing), but if you get the correct tickets stamped (if you buy the train/subway thing like I did (not purposefully mind you) you have 4 total, 2 for each train, one train/one subway, and a pair for the ride back, confusing huh?--and they are the smallest, stubs of paper). So all need to be stamped when you pass in or out of stations (typical of Europe) or in or out of trains (the correct ticket needs to be stamped of course, and then, don't toss them out!). Anyway coming back from athens, if you haven't screwed up so far, most tourists stay on the subway and don't switch back to the commuter train, which you would if you have purchased the tickets we did for that particular train. My sister-in-law, a first generation Greek, poo-pooed the idea of getting off the subway to walk up stairs to get on the commuter train. "What does it matter, we paid"...I knew this was trouble so I sat off to the side with a pout while my brother and his wife leaned against the vertical pole like two marks. Honest to goodness 30 seconds later what do you know, three uniformed station guards came through checking tickets just like it said on the Rick Steve's website! There was some maculation on my ticket and as I seemed the part, no souvenir bags, looking down, they weren't sure so they keep going. But my God, I could tell my brother and his wife were going to have a time of it. She does speak Greek and got into an lengthy verbal discussion with the female guard after handing over their tickets. It went on for 5 minutes and I was really sweating it. Anyway, they made them get off at the next stop and so they could get on the subway upstairs. I followed them out and the agents looked at me like a villian who had managed to elude their grasp. The best part of it was she pointed at me during that conversation, so I thought we were all going to get pinched...Anyway, deal is, when they catch you, 50 Euros cash. You don't have 50 Euros you go to the police station. Because a lot of people want to get rid of their Euros before flying out most people don't have that much. So if that's the situation they ask for your passport. If you don't have your passport (and some don't because they are flying out the next day, don't want to lose it the night before, they leave it in the hotel room safe, etc.) you go to a different police station and then all sorts of things happen. Anyway, what they really want is that 50 Euros. It is a complete money maker and I'm sure if I go back I would see the same exact thing. I was a little flustered too because I had left my passport behind...and I had read about this exact situation on the Rick Steves message boards. I should have been more forceful in making everyone switch trains, but whatever. I found a handmade backgammon seller in the plaka (probably the last one) and purchased a beautiful board, so it was worth going in for that last night instead of spedning the night at that miserable airport hotel doing nothing. Perhaps Greece is a little more backwards than Italy, so you may not have anything to worry about. I must admit, it was a real challenge with the Greek alphabet.

But the Rick Steves stuff and online boards are always good, not just for the situations described above, but for other things...Have fun!!!

* I read this a few years back, I don't know if you'd like them:

Three Italian chronicles

And: Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History, it's new...

joulukuu 30, 2011, 11:19am

And please don't forget the Michelin Green Guides, wonderful books! And theuir website as well (a little clunky to use at times, but still informative. Please have a wonderful visit!!