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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Hidden Treasures of the Mediterranean

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXMED664. Buy these 4 items as a set for $66 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

by Beppe Severgnini

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia. (ITL718, $15.00)

On the Shores of the Mediterranean

On the Shores of the Mediterranean

by Eric Newby

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

A sparkling observer and famously entertaining, Newby tackles the Mediterranean in this merry classic account of travels to North Africa, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cairo and Jerusalem. (MED25, $18.95)

Mediterranean by Cruise Ship

Mediterranean by Cruise Ship

by Anne Vipond

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

The best-selling, compact guide, featuring excellent local maps, hundreds of color photographs, concise background information and recommended excursions for ports-of-call throughout the Mediterranean. (MED34, $21.95)

Mediterranean Cruises Map

Mediterranean Cruises Map

by Freytag & Berndt

  • 2010
  • MAP

A double-sided, full-color map of the Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula, the Black Sea, North Africa and the Levant, at a scale of 1:2,000,000. (MED36, $14.95)

 
Italy South Map

Italy South Map


by Michelin

  • MAP

Covering Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria at a scale of 1:400,000. (ITL109, $11.95)

Sicily Map

Sicily Map


by Touring Club Italiano

  • 2011
  • MAP

A detailed map of Sicily (1:200,000) printed on water- and tear-resistant paper. (ITL181, $13.95)

Eyewitness Guide Barcelona & Catalonia

Eyewitness Guide Barcelona & Catalonia


by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this superbly illustrated guide features color photography, dozens of local maps and detailed information on the region's attractions. (SPN121, $20.00)

Eyewitness Guide Sicily

Eyewitness Guide Sicily


by Eyewitness Guides | DK Publishing

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

This superb guide to Sicily features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a synopsis of the island's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry. (ITL468, $23.00)

Lonely Planet Pocket Barcelona

Lonely Planet Pocket Barcelona


by A. Ham

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

A practical city guide to Barcelona that fits in your pocket, with the top sites, the best walks, food, art, shopping, views, nightlife and more. Includes a pull-out city map. (SPN513, $13.99)

National Geographic Naples and Southern Italy

National Geographic Naples and Southern Italy


by Tim Jepson

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

This attractive, visual guidebook features photographs, maps and information on history, culture and nature. Includes Puglia, Basilicata, Campania and Calabria, along with excursions to Sicily and Sardinia. (ITL802, $21.95)

A Traveller's History of France

A Traveller's History of France


by Robert Cole

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times. (FRN08, $14.95)

Barcelona

Barcelona


by Robert Hughes

  • HISTORY
  • 1993
  • PAPER
  • 570 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

A Longitude favorite, this big, thoroughly enjoyable cultural history of the city touches on architecture, art, religion and literature from Roman outpost to today. (SPN01, $21.00)

Beyond the Edge of the Sea

Beyond the Edge of the Sea


by Mauricio Obregon

  • HISTORY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 132 PAGES

The adventures of Jason and the Argonauts, Ulysses and other explorers of the ancient world are recreated in this personal account of ships, navigation and geographical discovery. (MED50, $15.00)

Italy and Its Invaders

Italy and Its Invaders


by Girolamo Arnaldi

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

A wide-ranging history of the many empires and world powers that have invaded Italy, and their lasting influences, both positive and negative, on Italian art, architecture and culture up to the present day. (ITL661, $19.95)

Italy, A Short History

Italy, A Short History


by Harry Hearder

  • HISTORY
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 294 PAGES

Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present. (ITL56, $29.99)

Lords of the Sea

Lords of the Sea


by John R. Hale

  • HISTORY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

A renowned archaeologist and historian presents the epic battles, indomitable ships, and the men of ancient Greece -- from extraordinary leaders to seductive rogues, taking readers on an illustrated tour of the far flung expeditions and legacy of the Athenians. (GRE366, $21.00)

Olive, A Global History

Olive, A Global History


by Fabrizia Lanza

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • HARD COVER
  • 128 PAGES

Lanza provides an engaging, potted history of the modest fruit. The author explains the olive's use in cooking and ritual and its appearance in art, from Greek myth to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Also includes a selection of recipes. (MED183, $17.00)

Seeking Sicily, A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean

Seeking Sicily, A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean


by John Keahey

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2011
  • HARD COVER
  • 320 PAGES

Taken with Sicily, its culture and its literature, Keahey explores the food, history and pure pleasure of the place, using his heroes Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Leonardo Sciascia and other Sicilian literary greats as guides. (ITA274, $28.99)

The Ancient Mediterranean

The Ancient Mediterranean


by Michael Grant

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1990
  • PAPER
  • 374 PAGES

Grant, a well-known classical scholar, provides this comprehensive history of the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean, including Egypt, Israel, Crete, Greece, the Roman states and many others. A very well-researched account of Western history's roots. (MED10, $20.00)

The Great Sea

The Great Sea


by David Abulafia

  • HISTORY
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 783 PAGES

With an eye for telling detail and anecdote, Abulafia traces the sweep of Mediterranean history from the time of Troy to the mid-19th century, populating his tale with vivid personalities. (MED179, $24.95)

The Histories

The Histories


by Herodotus

  • HISTORY
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 656 PAGES

In what may be the first travel book, Herodotus records the heroic struggle between Europe and Asia that culminated in the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. (MED15, $12.00)

The Mediterranean in History

The Mediterranean in History


by David Abulafia

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

A professor at Cambridge, Abulafia leads a team of eight historians in this engaging overview of the civilizations and societies affected by the great sea at the heart of Europe. Published in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the book features 150 color and 150 black-and-white illustrations. (MED79, $29.95)

The Middle Sea

The Middle Sea


by John Julius Norwich

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 720 PAGES

A marvelous writer who has already written on Byzantium, Venice and the Sahara, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean. (MED98, $21.00)

The Phoenicians and the West, Politics, Colonies and Trade

The Phoenicians and the West, Politics, Colonies and Trade


by Maria Eugenia Aubet

  • HISTORY
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

A new understanding of the Phoenicians and the Phoenician system of trade. (MED12, $52.00)

Vesuvius

Vesuvius


by Gillian Darley

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2012
  • HARD COVER
  • 144 PAGES

Darley unveils human responses to Mount Vesuvius, a place both feared and celebrated, from a cast of characters as far-flung as Pliny the Younger and David Hockney. This entry in Harvard University Press's excellent Wonders of the World series is a perfect introduction for travelers to Pompeii and Herculaneum. (ITA275, $22.95)

Etruscan Civilization, A Cultural History

Etruscan Civilization, A Cultural History


by Sybille Haynes

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

Haynes covers the society, history, art, and architecture of Italy's earliest inhabitants in this well-illustrated survey, from its origin in the Villanovan Iron Age in the ninth century B.C. to its absorption by Rome in the first century B.C. (ITA331, $45.00)

Pompeii, The Day a City Died

Pompeii, The Day a City Died


by Robert Etienne

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 215 PAGES

This indispensable pocket guide illustrates daily life in the city as revealed by its evocative frescoes, mosaics and treasures. (ITL01, $15.95)

The Fires of Vesuvius, Pompeii Lost and Found

The Fires of Vesuvius, Pompeii Lost and Found


by Mary Beard

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

With the panache of a gifted classicist, Mary Beard (Wonders of the World) conjures daily life in celebrated Pompeii, not only demolishing with particular relish the many myths that have grown up around the place but also emphasizing the limits of our knowledge. Some things we simply shall never know for certain. (ITA46, $19.50)

D.H. Lawrence and Italy

D.H. Lawrence and Italy


by D.H. Lawrence

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 495 PAGES

This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places, his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia. (ITL62, $20.00)

Granite Island

Granite Island


by Dorothy Carrington

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

Carrington's indelible account of the history and people, myths and magic of rugged Corsica. (MED157, $24.95)

Homer's Mediterranean, A Travel Companion

Homer's Mediterranean, A Travel Companion


by Wolfgang Geisthovel | Anthea Bell

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 224 PAGES

Geisthovel retraces the voyages of the Odyssey and places that may have inspired Homer, traveling through Greece and Turkey, Tunisia, Malta and Italy on a grand circle from Troy to Ithaca. (MED161, $19.95)

La Bella Lingua

La Bella Lingua


by Dianne Hales

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES
  • NEW

Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir. (ITA26, $15.00)

Napoleon

Napoleon


by Paul Johnson

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

In just over 200 blistering pages, British historian Johnson not only traces the major events of the emperor's life, from his birth on Corsica to his death on St. Helena, but also exposes Napoleon's ruthless appetite for power and his naked opportunism. (FRN348, $14.00)

On Persephone's Island

On Persephone's Island


by Mary Taylor Simeti

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1986
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a year-long journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land. (ITL03, $15.95)

Sea and Sardinia

Sea and Sardinia


by D.H. Lawrence

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 211 PAGES

A marvelous account of a trip to Sardinia, evoking both the charms and travails of the then-remote island and the personality of the author. It's a pleasingly exaggerated, accessible portrait of life on the island, circa 1921. (ITL349, $16.00)

Stolen Figs, And Other Adventures in Calabria

Stolen Figs, And Other Adventures in Calabria


by Mark Rotella

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

A warmly told, refreshingly candid account of travels and adventures in the south of Italy from the grandson of a Calabrese. (ITL465, $16.00)

The Glorious Adventure

The Glorious Adventure


by Richard Halliburton | Tahir Shah

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 232 PAGES

Halliburton and companions follow in the wake of Odysseus from fallen Troy to Ithaca in this rollicking account of adventures in the Mediterranean, originally published in 1927. (MED181, $18.00)

The Way of Herodotus, Travels with the Man Who Invented History

The Way of Herodotus, Travels with the Man Who Invented History


by Justin Marozzi

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

A Penguin Classics edition of The Histories in hand, Marozzi journeys from Herodotus' home town of Helicarnassus, now known as Bodrum, to Baghdad, Babylon, Egypt and Athens, weaving tales of his hero with erudite and entertaining modern travel. (MED138, $16.95)

Calabrian Tales


by Peter Chiarella

  • LITERATURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 377 PAGES

Chiarella retells the stories of injustice, poverty, avarice and survival his grandmother, father and mother told him of life in Calabria. The main character is the author's great aunt Marianna who became the mistress of a wealthy noble and whose lifestyle shamed her relatives. (ITA160, $21.95)

Master and Commander

Master and Commander


by Patrick O'Brian

  • LITERATURE
  • 1990
  • PAPER
  • 412 PAGES

The very first of O'Brian's wildly successful seafaring novels about Captain Aubrey and sidekick Maturin sets the duo against a well-researched Napoleonic wars backdrop in the Western Mediterranean. (MED27, $14.95)

Pompeii, A Novel

Pompeii, A Novel


by Robert Harris

  • LITERATURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES
  • YOUNG ADULTS

In this fast-paced historical novel set in Pompeii, a young engineer sets out to repair the Roman aqueducts and discovers the imminent eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Full of suspense and historical detail. (ITL560, $15.00)

The Leopard

The Leopard


by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's memorable tale, set on a rural Sicilian estate during the days of independence, follows the world-weary Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina. A classic, now in a 50th anniversary edition. (ITL11, $16.00)

Birds of the Mediterranean, A Photographic Guide

Birds of the Mediterranean, A Photographic Guide


by Paul Sterry

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

A slim, concise and clearly organized guide to 440 species of birds from the Mediterranean. Range maps and descriptions are opposite good, clear color photographs, digitally enhanced to aid in identification. (MED82, $30.00)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.