Towns of the Renaissance Paperback – April 10, 1998
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
- Publisher : J N Townsend Pub; 2nd edition (April 10, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 226 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1880158205
- ISBN-13 : 978-1880158203
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.75 x 8.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,319,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Although Mr. Hume and his wife spend time in several large Italian cities, including Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, these are not the prime focus of this book. The bulk of the book covers visits to small and medium-sized cities and this is one of the book's strengths. Each city or town is described in a short, separate chapter and usually includes descriptions of key works of art and architecture as well as some personal observations regarding hotels, restaurants, and the local cuisine. The places visited include the following: Cremona, Bologna, Ferrara, Vicenza, Verona, Mantua, Modena, Ravenna, Urbino, Cortona, Siena, and Orvieto,
Another thing that the author does well, I feel, is to provide several chapters on some practical advice about getting around Italy and feeling comfortable while traveling there. Because he traveled both by train and rental car, Hume devotes a chapter to each mode of travel. Useful information is also presented in a chapter on crime, where tips on avoiding pickpockets and bag-snatchers riding motorcycles is given. Hume also advises travellers to learn a little Italian before their trip, a lesson that is worth following, in my opinion.
One of the things that I especially appreciated about this book was the author's plain-spoken honesty. For example, about their stay in a hotel in Mantua, a place their taxi driver had tried to warn them about, Hume writes: "...we encountered in the city of the Gonzagas the only really grubby overnight accomodation we found in any town in Italy." Besides the dust and dirt found in their room as well as in the halls, the author discovers that the restaurant downstairs had been shut down in mid-season "with the tables still uncleared of the final night's service..." Despite these negative experiences, Hume and his wife "promised ourselves that we would come back in the future to attend an opera or a concert in the beautiful little Teatro Accademico."
At the end of the book, Hume provides a brief section on books that he recommends to travellers. Among them is one of my favorites, H.V. Morton's justly-famous A Traveller in Italy. About Morton and his book he says: : Morton is a most genial traveling companionj in northern Italy. For a happy blend of history, travellers tales, and sensitive description of the great works of art, Morton is the best." While far less comprehensive than Morton's richly detailed book, Hume does well in providing the same type of "happy blend" of history, art description, and personal observations.
Finally, I would like to mention one other characteristic of Hume's writing, what I will call "travel wisdom," for lack of a better term. I found myself in general agreement with several of his insights, such as this passage related to his time in Florence: "Although I really try to keep the image of the lavish distribution of internal combustion engines from dominating my memory of Forence, I think that oft-repeated walk into the oldest part of town scarred my sensibility." I think his experience in Florence is one which many travellers share: one unfortunate experience with one's lodgings or at a restaurant can unfortunately stamp one's judgement of a particular town or city, and even affect one's desire to return to that place a second time.
In addition to his gifts as a travel writer, Mr. Hume is an accomplished artist whose attractive pen-and-ink sketches are interspersed throughout this delightful and thoughtful book.
Highly recommended to any first-time traveler to northern Italy and also to more experienced travelers who simply enjoy reading about some of the Italian cities off the more beaten tourist tracks.