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Italy for the Gourmet Traveler Paperback – May 16, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Eating as the rationale for traveling through Italy?where food and culture are so naturally bound together?is the theme of Italophile Plotkin's latest book. His ardent admiration for the country and its cuisine is evident in his personalized tour through the nation's 22 regions, including the islands of Sicily and Sardenia. Guiding us through a land bountiful and diverse in terrain, history, and tradition, he explores each area's distinctive foods and wines. When not traveling, Plotkin lectures and writes about things Italian and has penned The Authentic Pasta Book and Opera 101. He uses his extensive knowledge to create a catalog of helpful restaurant reviews, recipes (indexed), a glossary of food terms, profiles of cities and their local histories (indexed), and anecdotes that blend into an informative, entertaining, comprehensive guide. This selection is a treat for any travel collection.?David Nudo, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this exhaustive guide, Plotkin provides travelers to Bella Italia with information on the best places to eat in 300 cities and villages. Practical advice, such as making reservations, goes hand-in-hand with colorful descriptions of the Italian ristorante, trattoria, pizzeria, friggitoria, and other types of eating establishments. Plotkin is particularly adept at depicting the cultural climate of each region, listing appealing towns a traveler must not pass by and those area culinary specialities to be savored. Whether one desires the address of a fine butcher shop, has a hankering for pastries and an espresso, or seeks a dining experience fit for a king, these listings more than fit the bill. When seeking out excellent culinary fare, doubtless, the true gourmet will be undaunted by this weighty tome. Alice Joyce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Books (May 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190686831X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906868314
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My husband and I have had, along with friends, four month-long trips to Italy in the last ten years. In the spring of '97 and in the fall of '99, we designed our trips around Italy for the Gourmet Traveller. I had read the book cover to cover when first purchased and couldn't wait to use it. The amount of regional information in it is staggering, the promise of "authentic experiences" such a lure to us. We not only never had a bad meal, all were memorable in some way, our experiences enriched by the wealth of background provided by Fred. We were so blown away by the '97 trip, I wrote a lengthy letter to Fred via his publisher. His response was a polite and friendly phone call, and we have corresponded occasionally ever since. We have eaten our way from Venice to the Emiglia-Romagna to Liguria to Tuscany to Umbria to the Amalfi Coast and throughout Sicily. We have even made special side trips just to look up one of the recommendations. Because most of the places are small, we have often had some of our most precious experiences with Italian people at the most remote restaurants. Our experiences at the restaurants mentioned above in Norcia and Venice were great, but it might have been the time of year, as we don't travel in high season. When you "study" Italian cuisine with Fred Plotkin, you come away with more than a dining experience. You gain an understanding of the regional differences, not just of the food, but the people as well. Sure, there might be a few mistakes in the book, or some things that have changed since it was written, but overall, you couldn't travel with a better companion than this learned man. There is a 'style' of travel being taught here, a style that speaks to quality, openmindedness, a willingness to learn, a sense of adventure in seeking out the unusual. Even if you're not going to Italy, it's a great read. I would give it a sixth star if I could.
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Format: Paperback
I kept buying travel books for Italy, looking for something but not quite knowing what -- until I discovered this book. It's not just a list of restaurants or a list of hotels -- you can get that in any travel book, and feel uneasy, because you can't help wondering if anyone really stayed at the place or ate the place. Plotkin's book is about the whole experience of going to Italy, with details about the specialties of each region, so that if you go into ANY restaurant anywhere in Italy, you will know what to look for.
At the same time, everything is put into a historical and cultural context, so you know what you're eating and where it's from.
So many travel books feel like they were written for the sake of writing a travel book. That is, they give the impression of a squad of writers dispatched to a location, with an expense account and a limited number of days, who have to inspect so many hotels and restaurants and write up a summary. Recommendations seem arbitrary.
THIS book seems more like a sincere journey of exploration that happened to turn into a travel book. And Plotkin is the ideal guide, because he lives there, knows the country, loves it . . . and yet he's American, so he has an American perspective. He's just one guy, so you'll inevitably, in practice, find that you disagree with some of his choices. So what? That's part of learning how to use the book. At least with this book, you know they really ARE his choices. And they're informed choices.
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By A Customer on September 19, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My favorite book on travel in Italy. Mr. Plotkin helps me see and taste Italy the way I like to: independently, but with tips to lead me to the places that would be my favorites if I actually lived in a town. He writes insightfully not only about Italian food, but also about the people who grow, cook and eat Italian food. Other travel books have their place: Rough Guide, Cadogan, Touring Club Italia, even Frommers. But only Plotkin is indispensable.
Now my one suggestion: Mr. Plotkin, please set up a web site where you could alert your readers to restaurant closings. I understand that you would not want to provide new listings for free, but the internet is the perfect medium for warning us that a restaurant has gone out of business.
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Format: Paperback
If you are at all serious about Italian food, this book is worth its weight in gold on your next trip to Italy. Yes, its big (aprox. 700 pgs), but thats because its a real book, and incredibly thorough. This isn't just some run of the mill pocket guide book thats going to tell you "go here" "do this".

It details the history and culture of each region in detail, so you don't just eat, you understand what and why you're eating what you are. For each major city (and plenty of small villages also!) he will detail the best places to eat, drink, and shop to get the best true local experience.

And because you know the author takes food seriously, you know that you're eating at true, authentic places where locals eat, and you won't fall into the trap of eating at run of the mill tourist driven places (especially if you're in cities like Florence, Venice, or Rome!)

One reviewer complained this book didn't let you know where to go within Italy. Well that's not really its point. The point is that each region has its own unique flair and flavor, and one is not "better" than the other. To try and judge them as so is missing the point. The joy of italy is discovering those unique flavors that each region has unique to itself. (Though he does point out a "Classic City" for each region. That is, the city to go to if you want to experience the most authentic food culture of the region, such as Treviso in the Veneto, Siena in Tuscany, and Rome in Lazio)

What this book WILL do is compliment your trip to any of these regions. Pointing out exactly where to go to find these authentic and unique local dishes.

I'm writing this from Trieste right now, and without this book I would be totally lost as to where to go.
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