Italy week at A Traveler’s Library

The Coliseum, Rome

Destination: Italy

Book: Italy out of Hand, A Capricious Tour by Barbara Hodgson

We are about to spend a whole week in Italy. Virtual Italy that is–through books.

Why?  Because Americans love to go to Italy? Because plenty of  literature exists to introduce us to Italy? Because several book s on Italy sit on my library shelves?  Well, all of the above and one more.  At the end of this week, the predictably block-buster movie, Angels and Demons opens. I read the book long enough ago, that I have forgotten many of the details. I felt it was insubstantial, error-ridden and found it easy to solve the puzzle. But that does not stop me from being enthusiastic about the movie. I kind of like “shallow” in my movies.

Once you have seen the glorious locations in the city of Rome, you will cancel plans to visit Aunt Susie in Columbus, Ohio, and instead book the first plane to Italy. (Unless, of course you are one of my many Twitter buddies who have the good fortune to already BE in Italy.)

We start with the book the dog ate.  Really, the resident pooch loved Italy Out of Hand so much that he chewed up the cover and the corners of some pages. Being a dog of impeccable taste, he picked Florence.  However the words inside the book remain intact. And what words.

It is too bad that he ate the cover, because this book falls into that rarely published category of really attractively packaged words. Gold embossed words on the cover, lush with pictures in sepia, color or black and white.  Author Barbara Hodgson dwells on details–some serious, some quite mad–just like the country.  Her attention to detail is such that even the books typeface brings up a little story about a long-forgotten Italian.

Hodgson says “Exploring minutiae is a means of confronting a country that is too intricate and too inexplicable to tackle head on.” I’m sure that any travel writer who has tried capturing Italy, or even a part of it, is nodding in agreement.

Although I’m generally very methodical in my front to back reading of a book, this book invites diversions. Since it is arranged geographically, I delved into Florence, Venice and Rome before I went there three years ago and for days all my sentences started with “Did you know…..” So don’t get me started. Just go read. Then travel.

And I sincerely hope your dog does not get ahold of your book.

I have written previously about books for the traveler’s library about Italy, Rome and Venice.

Photograph by Vera Marie Badertscher. All rights reserved.

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler’s Library, recreating her family’s past at Ancestors In Aprons. She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

Vera Marie Badertscher – who has written posts on A Traveler's Library.


About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons. She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

2 thoughts on “Italy week at A Traveler’s Library

  1. Thanks Kathy. I checked out your list and I’ve read three of them–not bad, I tell myself. As a matter of fact one of them will be covered later this week.

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