Thursday, June 11, 2009

Books I've read this week - Passeggiata: Strolling Through Italy

I was sent a copy of Passeggiata: Strolling Through Italy ©2008 to review. The author is G. G. Husak and the book is a detailed account of the yearly trips she and her husband took to Italy. They started going in 1993 and have made a trip every year since. They've visited the major tourist cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and Naples but they also explored many of the small, off-the-beaten-path towns. They learned to travel light, use the public transportation of bus and train, and not be too upset when well-planned itineraries hit snags. The book gives a wonderful peek into the every day life of the Italians, their art, and culture. The title, Passeggiata, is the evening ritual of slow, strolling walks in the small villages. They don't walk for exercise like we do but it's their way to keep in touch with others in the community.

This book is not a novel in any way. It's a journal of the Husak's trips and is very detailed in some ways, with chapters devoted to individual areas and towns, and yet lacking in others. She mentions lovely little hotels and cozy restaurants but doesn't give the names. I wonder why. Surely, that's just as important to the potential traveler as what they had to eat or the view from their room. If you're planning a trip to Italy or have already been there, I'm sure you would find this book very interesting as it does tell many places to visit in different towns. She tells of art in churches and museums, breathtaking scenery, and historical sites. She gives many hints to make travel easier and less expensive, and her writing style is easy to read. For me, the casual reader who has never traveled to Europe, the only thing lacking was photos. Not one in the whole book except on the front cover. If someone's talking about breathtaking scenery, I'd like to see it. I think a few pages of photos would have added a lot to this type of book.

From the author's web site, : G.G. Husak has traveled with her husband Al to Italy for over ten years. Their adventures in Italian cities and villages and growing love for the Italian experience provide the inspiration for her writing. She brings the background and insight of an English teacher and museum art docent to historical sights and art of Italy. She tells her friends that she enjoys writing about Italy almost as much as being there.

In more recent years, Glen and Al have added other Mediterranean destinations to their travels but always end up in Italy. They have not found a place that they like better.

The book can be ordered through .

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