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One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Italy (101 Beautiful Small Towns) Hardcover – October 29, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Lazzarin has divided his book into the multiple regions of Italy from the north to the south and shows us all the hidden small towns that are in the regions of the famous cities such as Venice, Milan, Florence, Siena, and Rome. He is careful to acknowledge the influence of these cities we all know, but at the same time he graces each of the 101 towns with descriptions of the land the architecture, the artisans, the foods, and the special places that provide a strong magnet to the reader.
Many of the towns names are familiar, but only because the names appear on cheeses, wines, olive oil, and trinkets! Yet in this book the towns of Spoleto, San Gimignano, Arezzo, Gallipoli, Portofino, Gubbio, Ischia, Modena, Aosta and all the others come to life in warm prose and breathtaking photography.
This special book is illuminating as a resource guide for the next voyage to Italia; it also is one of the more beautiful gift books for treasured friends and loved ones on the market today! Grady Harp, November 2004.
And all in all, he does a pretty good job; certainly this book will help the Italy-lorn struggle through a long winter of discontent with being too far from the Blessed Peninsula. And, as Jane Austen wrote, or should have, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that staring at pictures of Italy never did a body any harm." The photos are the principal part and appeal of the book; this is not a survey course ("Italy: From the Etruscans to Berlusconi"). There is an abundance of them but I could wish more were better and/or better chosen.
Some do not illustrate, others do not evoke, and still others are well-worn tourist-office images. For example, here you'll get no hint of what Riva del Garda actually looks like, and still less of Faenza, which is represented only by its famous ceramics. In San Remo, must we see the casino--again? The entry for Valenza has an extended caption about a nature reserve sitting beside a large and ordinary shot of a palazzo's interior staircase.
As for the writing, the best I can say is that it avoids the customary excesses; Italians are too often overwhelmed by patrimony and resort to cheerleading in prose form. On the other hand, Lazzarin is mechanical, unspired.Read more ›
Because Milan journalist/photographer Paolo Lazzarin covers so many towns here, his treatment of them is necessarily brief. Typically, for each one he offers a page of text and, opposite, a handsome photograph of one of the town's highlights. Some towns, like Siena, enjoy two additional pages of photos. The book is probably most useful to readers planning a first or second trip to Italy. It serves up a scattering of charming towns that are extra-extra-special for one reason or another (not just for their beauty). Some of them, like the magical hill town San Gimignano, might later prove a highlight of one's entire trip, ranking right up there with Florence or Venice. At the front of the book is a map showing the 20 regions of Italy, making it easier to visualize a proposed itinerary, and at the back, an appendix lists, by region, lots of useful addresses & phone numbers--of recommended hotels, restaurants, tourist information offices, and shops.Read more ›
Nevertheless, the amount of the given information is appropriate for this kind of book. This is not a research book with all the details. For me the true gem of this book, are the foods and fairs listed at a lot of those places.
For example, Aosta almost at the crossroads with France and Switzerland often is being discovered by accident. I happened to be there this past summer and one raises a question why it’s not so touristy with such historical heritage. I found the answer in this book – this remote Alpine town is not easy to find. In the ancient times it was strategically located to watch for the enemy coming from the Alps. Today such strategic location proves to be hard to find. I didn’t know that Aosta had Sant’Orso Fair until I read it in this book. However, the book states that originally it was during the last two days of January and nowadays it’s on August 15. The official website of Aosta states that it is still during the last two days of January.
For most of the places, the pictures show the true spirit of the city. For example Alba, the city of truffles, shows it clearly with its market selling truffles. However, for example, the picture of a street in Merano doesn’t show the true spirit of the town and I know it, because I’ve been there myself. The town is known for its healing resorts and vineyards rolling down right into the town.
I was very surprised to see Verona in this book, which is not a small town. Bolzano is not a small town neither, but has so much more charm being nestled in the Alps with vineyards extending to the town.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this as a gift to a friend who grew up in Italy. She really liked it.Published 27 days ago by Joseph DeGraffenried
Charming little book with nice photos. Wish there had been more pictures of each of the locations.Published 2 months ago by Barbara Birchim
Beautiful book! I did not expect a lengthy dissertation on each town & was pleasantly surprised by the pictures... Read morePublished 4 months ago by nonesuch
If you dream of finding the off the beaten path in a small quaint town in Italy this is your book. Italy is like a museum. Read morePublished 6 months ago by heidi schlossberg