Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Italy the way it ought to be seen, January 31, 2002
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Artful Italy: The Hidden Treasures (Invisible Cities Travel Guide S) (Paperback)
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. If I had to recommend a book that does what Brandon purports Vasari's does, it would be Burkhardt's "Civilization of the Renaissance."

All these quibbles aside, anyone who wants to learn about Italy should buy and read this book. It does not disappoint. I learned so much from this book, and it was as if Ann Brandon was telling me what I learned in a personal conversation. So warm is her style of writing that it just makes for a quick and delightful read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

5.0 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Cincinnati, OH

Top Reviewer Ranking: 385,758