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Blog posts tagged with 'italy'

The Alps
ALP51In his entertaining new history, Stephen O'Shea drives 500 miles through the Alps, crossing six countries while musing on the historic personalities who braved the forbidding range, including Napoleon, Hitler and James Bond. His account, The Alps, begins with the idea of the sublime and the Romantics who championed it--artists and writers whose works evoked the beauty and terror of the Alps. O’Shea himself admits to a fear of heights and carefully chronicles each hairpin turn as he snakes his way from Geneva to Trieste through dizzying high passes in his shiny muscle car.
Year's Best Reads
USA592It's the perfect time to reflect on the past year. When we look back over 2016, we see a path littered with memorable reads, many of which we’ve selected as our  top ten travel books of the year. We hope each featured title serves to inspire further adventures in the New Year. The Hour of Land. Award-winning author Terry Tempest Williams travels to 12 carefully chosen national parks including Yellowstone, Acadia and Big Bend in this insightful journey. Equal parts memoir, natural history and ecology manifesto, Williams' book honors the centennial of the National Park Service by exploring why the protected, wild lands matter to the soul of America.
The Medici
It would be difficult to write a boring book about the Medici, but it takes a thoughtful writer to weave the many complex storylines of Italy’s most infamous ruling family into an accessible narrative that is both entertaining and informing. Paul Strathern has done exactly this in his latest release The Medici: Power, Money and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance. In his straightforward history, Strathern chronicles the rise of the Medici, briefly covering the earliest descendants before launching into the origins of the Medici Bank. This well-oiled banking system was extremely profitable and far-reaching, eventually obtaining the papal account and establishing branches across Europe.
In Memoriam: Harper Lee & Umberto Eco
The world lost two great authors on February 19, both of whose works evoked the spirit of place, even when the places were fictional, from Harper Lee’s small town in Alabama to Umberto Eco’s complex imagined world of Milan. “The town is not a real town. The characters aren’t drawn from living or dead people. The book is a record of the general spirit of something,” Harper Lee said in a rare interview in 1961. “This was life in the 30s. This is the way it was with children in the South.” Maycomb, Alabama, where Lee’s classic is set, may be fictional, but
Spring Travel Titles
Like many travelers, we’re already looking ahead to spring. Whether plotting your travels or simply hoping for a good armchair vacation, here are some titles to watch for as the weather warms. Why the Dutch are Different. Mingling history with travelogue, English expat Ben Coates speaks to why the Netherlands is such a fascinating country, significant beyond its size. His probing narrative explains the importance of the color orange, the ongoing battle to keep water out, the Dutch love affairs with milk and beer, their attitudes toward nature, their world-famous culture of tolerance and why there are many “nether lands.”
Naples, Italy
Kindly contributed by Bonnie Alberts, who presents this amuse-bouche from the award winning Napoli Unplugged Guide to Naples. This new guide to one of the oldest cities in Western Europe shines a light on an under explored city, Naples, Italy. Written by longtime expat Bonnie and fellow authors Barbara Zaragoza and Penny Ewles-Bergeron, who love to wax lyrical about their adoptive city, the Napoli Unplugged Guide will make you feel you’re seeing Naples through the eyes of your best friends.
In Other Words
Language can be seen as a barrier to travel, or it can be part of the adventure. For Jhumpa Lahiri, author of bestselling short story collections and novels like Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, it is the latter. In her latest book Lahiri abandons not only her preferred genre of fiction but even the comfort of the English language and embarks on a new journey to document, in Italian, the process of learning a language.
The Traveling Pope
If you can’t make it to see the pontiff as he visits Philadelphia, New York City and Washington D.C. this month, you can read about the life of Pope Francis and the history of the Vatican in these fine books. Or, better yet, plan your next trip to Vatican City! Pope Francis and the New Vatican. National Geographic photographer David Yoder spent six months ensconced in the Vatican to produce this vivid and intimate portrait of "the people's pope." His extraordinary images -- including the Sistine Chapel with the Pope alone on Christmas Day -- capture the pontiff's public life and personal crusades as well as the inner workings of the Catholic Church.
Grosseto, Italy
Kindly contributed by Italy correspondent for The Economist John Hooper, who explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in his new, illuminating portrait The Italians. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the country as it exists today.
  For the traveller, unexpected discoveries are commonplace; unexpected journeys are rarer. I had been at a conference in Siena. On the night before my departure, there was one of those apocalyptic storms that break surprisingly often in the skies over Italy. At the railway station the next day they told me the line to Florence was impassable -- hopelessly flooded. The only way back to Rome was by way of Grosseto.
Puglia
Following its popular predecessors Tuscany and Sicily, Puglia is the latest title in the Silver Spoon regional cookbook series, a collection that celebrates rich Italian heritage through the country's local cuisine. It’s not hard to see why the southern heel of Italy was chosen for this year’s installment. Puglia's climate and long coastline make it ideal for growing olives and fresh produce. Author and chef Tara Russell explores this landscape, providing information on the area's bountiful markets alongside over 50 recipes.