In the spirit of travel, I picked up this book, Italy out of hand, A Capricious Tour by Barbara Hodgson. Italy has always been one of my favorite countries. I lived there for 5 years, from 1982 to 1987. My father was stationed there, first with the Sixth Fleet (Mediterranean), AFSOUTH (Armed Forces Southern Italy), then at the Naval Hospital. I have fond memories of living in Europe: going to Rome for Christmas Eve Mass, visiting the islands of Sicily and Capri, traveling via hydrofoil in Venice, eating ices and gelati at Tony Sampan's, and eating pizza al metro (pizza by the meter) in downtown Naples.
Naples is one of the cities explored in Hodgson's book. The list includes Genova (Genoa), Milano (Milan), Bologna, Ferrara, Venezia (Venice), Padova (Padua), Firenze (Florence), Arezzo, Perugia, Pisa, Roma (Rome), Napoli (Naples) and Sicilia (Sicily, including Palermo). This is no ordinary guidebook; it brings together famous (and notorious) historical figures, expatriates, churches, squares, fashion, food, music and stories galore. I enjoyed revisiting places I'd been (albeit almost 30 years ago, now). There is always more to learn and more to discover, no matter how much you know.
Life can be gritty, messy, and wholly embarrassing, and the book explores the scandals as well as the triumphs. I was disappointed to reach the end of these travels...it only made me want to go back. Someday, I will.
All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011