This is one of those books that defies description. Formed as a joint project between the Italian Tourism people and the New York Times, this generously illustrated volume covers all of Italy, not only photographically but also with immensely readable and helpful articles about the regions, the people and their idiosyncrasies, the culture, the history, the sights not to be missed, the foods, and an ebullient flow of gentle humor that makes this the first choice of reading in preparation for a visit to this popular country - or an invaluable memento for perusing once home from the pleasures Italian.
Not only are there superb 'articles' by NY Times staff writers about the famous places (Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence, Sienna, etc), but here are also vignettes about the tiny secrets of Italy like Posillipo, the Aeolian Islands, Trieste, Portofino and on and on. Forty articles do far more than describe a place: these articles are written by people who can define the flavors so clearly they leap from the page.
Keeping the book in the realm of art, the introduction is by none other than the brilliant Italian novelist Umberto Eco who puts a spin on the wealth of pleasures that follow, basking in Italy's history and the reasons the people are so unique. It is a joy to read. Highly Recommended for both active and armchair travelers! Grady Harp, November 05
on March 10, 2008
I was unprepared of the size of this book. I expected a medium-sized volume of writing, but found myself with a heavy and BIG book which consists of an equal portion of photography. The writing is selected as to cover the whole peninsula, but I still felt that it's somewhat haphazardly assamblied. But then, you can't cover everything. My point is that a single writer selects topics/places more consequently, after some principle(-s). But it's interesting reading and mostly well-chosen photography.
on February 27, 2006
I got this beautiful book for two dear friends, brilliant musicians, who will be traveling to Italy soon. They were entranced, and have thanked me several times, saying the book makes them feel "as if we are already in Italy."