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Artful Italy: The Hidden Treasures (Invisible Cities Travel Guide S) Paperback – November 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Invisible Cities Travel Guide S
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Invisible Cities Press Llc (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193122904X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931229043
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,273,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Every year, millions of tourists throng Italy, patiently standing in interminable lines to see the great museums of Venice, Florence, Rome, and other cities. Brandon, a former arts editor who lived in Rome for 20 years, asserts that in a year 2000 study, some 2.8 million Americans said they planned to visit Italy and 1.2 million said they wanted to explore less familiar sights. This guide is certainly intended for those who want to break away from the crowd and see the "hidden treasures" of Italy. Brandon points out that there are many seldom visited but highly important sights all across Italy, usually around the corner from the popular attractions, such as the Piazza, the Palazzo, and the Pote. While some feature works of great artists, the majority focus on unique, often ghoulish, subjects. In Florence, for example, the Museo della Storia el la Specola (a few feet away from the Pitti Palace) features a macabre collection of bones, muscles, tissues, and other flotsam of the human body, arranged into artistic representations. Packed with information rarely found in standard guides, this guide offers a fresh perspective on Italy's art and as such deserves a place in all travel collections. Highly recommended. Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Persuade[s] her readers to experience the unknown, to go beyond first impressions . . . witty and well-written . . . for those who savor art.” —Chicago Tribune


“Candid tone . . . interesting reading, whether you have been to Italy before or not . . . an engaging read, lively and informal.” —The Vermont Sunday Magazine

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Zerby on March 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Artful Italy is a wonderful book. I checked out Florence and Venice first because those are the cities that I really know. I was daring Artful Italy to come up with something I didn't know. And it did.. The Stibbert Museum which sounds like a delight I missed entirely. But the thing I really regret is not knowing about the Bomarzo Gardens, a bit of a trip from Florence; as a teen I was always after the odd, hidden statuary that you turned a corner and came suddenly upon.. Both sound like winners and make me eager to return to a place I thought I knew well.
Artful Italy's prose hits just the right tone, conversational without being condescending, funny without that guidebook jokiness that can be so off-putting. And it sometimes can take your breath away. When the 17th century architect , Borromini is compared to an origami master, suddenly we see again how Mannerist architects have turned stone into paper - to give just one example. And you have a nice discursive air that proves always to have a real point to it. The book is unique and a pleasure. It will make those who know Italy start looking for cheap air fares, and even those making a first trip to Italy will find the book valuable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 31, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if one never travels to Italy, there'd be no harm in reading this book. It is well-written, entertaining, and loaded with fun and interesting facts. I disagree with the notion that this is a tour or travel guide; what it is in fact is a semi-scholarly appreciation of Italy off the beaten path. (It is meticulously researched and documented, to boot.)

Ann Brandon must be a kick at a cocktail party. Historical examples trip off her tongue and add just the right humor, import, and context for each bit of art appreciation. Reading this book is not a necessity for travel planning; the volume is a standalone orchestration of Ms. Brandon's love affair with Italy.

I have a few qualms with the book, but they are merely intellectual disagreements with some of its premises. First, I would not focus so much on art, but on the whole invisible lifestyle of the Italians, the life that "turisti" probably never see. I would also go beyond visual arts, and talk about music, as well as the culinary and design arts. Even in the visual arts there is so much architecture that one could find off the main trails. But Brandon promises more books in this vein, and will no doubt address these topics.

Second, I do not feel that the Parco dei Mostri qualifies as a hidden treasure. I consider it an excellent yet run-of-the-mill tourist attraction. A lot of people go there.

Finally, I disagree with the glowing assessment that Vasari's "Lives of the Artists." I have always considered this book at best uneven. It apparently draws its inspiration from Diogenes Laertius' "Lives of the Philosophers," which suffers from a similar spottiness in insight and accuracy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl Taylor on January 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am recently back from a visit to Venice, where I used this outstanding new guide. I found it the ideal guidebook: highly readable, gets you off the beaten path to a combination of less mobbed attractions and some quirky fun places, and (my favorite) includes lots of fascinating historical and personal backgrouind on the sites and artists. This book is sure to enrich greatly your visit to Italy's major art destinations. And it's fun to read even if you are just dreaming about visiting Italy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gretel Schuck on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is for all visitors to Italy-even the jaded few who feel they have seen it all. Ann Brandon has covered
so much art that most of us have neither seen nor heard of. I was totally captivated by just reading the book, Ms. Brandon has great writing style and wonderful detail covering all of the pieces. What I found most exciting was visiting sites that I hadnt been to before-expanding upon the content. This book isnt just about museums!!-
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By A Customer on January 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
A work of art! You don't need a plane ticket to see what's inside some Italy's great churches and museums. Chock full of interesting details and artifacts, I was given a wonderful tour of Italy's "hidden treasures,'' many off the beaten path. As one who once lived in Italy, I would say this book is an essential guide for anyone who plans to visit one of the world's most beautiful countries.
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