View from San Leo Castle, Le Marche, Italy
Book: A Traveller’s History of Italy by Valerio Lintner
I am absolutely, deliriously infatuated with the publishing company called Interlink. With 616 books that are dedicated to World Travel listed on their web page, it seems that you can go anywhere, with any interest and they’ve got you covered. For years, I have been buying their Traveller’s History series for European countries I visit. And I have never read one of them all the way through.
Instead, I dip into the parts that have relate to my particular destinations. After all, in the Italy book, it takes twelve pages just to list a chronology of important events. I do not need to know about every important event, and if I tried to learn I would just be hopelessly confused. So I like to go to the helpful Gazeteer, which lists cities or regions, and refers to important events and what page to go to for more information. Then I go back to read those pages, and generally, wander around through the centuries and the regions until I am lost.
If, as I travel, I see the name of Pope Calixtus III and can’t recall what family he belonged to or when he reigned, I can refer to page 233, Popes of the Renaissance, and learn that he was part of the famous Borgia family and ruled from 1455-1458. And did Luca della Robbia come before or after Fra Angelico? Page 235 lists Italian artists from 1200-1600 in order of their years of birth. Fra Angelico 1387-1455 and della Robbia 1400-1482.
But that is just the wealth of information in the appended pages. The first 229 pages take us from cave men to current day or in my case when the fifty edition was published in 1998. There have been three editions since then, and the latest is 2008. But since “current history” takes up fewer than ten pages at the end of the book, you’re safe to buy a used copy if you wish.
How about a standing ovation for Mr. Lintner who managed to cram all the confusing and overlapping history of Italy into a mere 229 pages? Have you read any of the History for Travellers books? How do you use them? Let’s talk.
Photograph by Vera Marie Badertscher. All rights reserved.
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