Recommended Reading – Made in Italy by David Rocco

"Made in Italy", David Rocco
“Made in Italy”, David Rocco

Admittedly I am a cookbook addict and when I find a new cookbook that captures my attention for more than a week I know that I have found a good book.  Such is the case with David Rocco’s, Made in Italy .  I am working on cooking my way through the entire book of 140 recipes featuring simple rustic food.

I had no idea that David had a cooking show on TV when I purchased his book at the Feltrenelli Bookstore on Via del Babuino.  I liked the cover and I liked the pictures.  Leafing through the book I saw many of the dishes that I have come to love eating and was hopeful that I would be able to remake many of them when I returned to Maryland.  I wasn’t disappointed!

Some of my favorites from Made in Italy include; Gateau di Patate (Potato Cake) pg.100, Le Mie Polpette Preferite (My All-Time Favorite Meatballs) pg. 303, and Caponata Napoletana (Caponata Naples Style) pg. 72

Recommended Reading – Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks

Italian Neighbors, Tim Parks

I am always looking for books about Italy that help me to better understand the idiosyncrasies of modern Italian culture.  This easy to read book with short chapters chronicles the life of Tim Parks and his Italian wife Rita as they insert themselves into the city of Verona.

For anyone who has visited or lived in Italy for either a short time or a longer stay this book will undoubtedly bring back memories, more than a few laughs, and validate your own experiences.

The first in a series of books that I highly recommend, Italian Neighbors (1992), An Italian Education (1996), Italian Ways, On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo (2013), in addition to Tim’s numerous other books, both fiction and non-fiction, about Italian history and culture.

“his eye for the illuminating moments in the miniature worlds he describes—condominium meetings, beaches, nursery scenes, and elementary-school parents’ groups, to name just a few—is so sharp that the ordinary gains a kind of magical lustre, and the particular becomes universal.” – The New Yorker, June 6, 2013

Italy – A Photographer’s Dream

Italy is many things – food, history, color, texture.

One of the special qualities about Italy is the endless juxtaposition of scenery, color, the old and the new.  Every time I arrive in this country, face pressed against the window of the plane, I look forward to the opportunity to capture some of these beautiful juxtapositions with my camera.

Whether you are using an iPhone, a small digital point and shoot, or a sophisticated professional camera take the time and opportunity to “see” Italy through photography.  Often I get up early in the morning and go for a walk with my camera photographing whatever interests me.   Going alone affords you the space and time to focus and enjoy the creative experience.

Below are some of my photographs which remind me of the many wonderful friends and experiences that are Italy.

Rome, 2012
Detail, Santi Luca e Martina, Forum, Rome, 2012
Rome, 2012
Rowing on the Tiber, Early Morning, Rome, 2012
Detail, Il Vittoriano Monument
Detail, Il Vittoriano Monument, Rome, 2012

I love looking through vintage photographs and books about photography related to Italy. Below are links to some of my favorite books and photographers I admire.

Recommended Reading

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am always looking for books about Italy that help me to understand the complex history and culture.  This short book, easily read in a day, is such a narrative.  Given to me by a friend and fellow Italophile, Vicki, who shares my love of all things Italian.

If you are planning a trip to Florence I would encourage reading this book before you arrive.

“David Leavitt brings the wonders and mysteries of Florence alive, illuminating why it is, and always has been, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.”

Recommended Reading

City Secrets of Rome

This little gem of a book makes a great gift for friends and family that may be headed to Rome and definitely is something to pack into your own suitcase.  I referred to this book often especially when having a “tourist block”.

City Secrets Rome brings together the recommendations of artists, writers, historians, architects, chefs, and other experts whose passionate opinions and highly informed perspectives illuminate well-known sites as well as overlooked treasures. These expert travel companions share with you their favorite little-known places including restaurants, cafés, art, architecture, shops, outdoor markets, strolls, daytrips, as well all manner of cultural and historic landmarks.

City Secrets Rome, Series Editor – Robert Kahn

Walking the Via Appia Antica

Visiting the Appia Antica Rome, 2007David, Kimi, and Joe in front of one of the many imperial monuments lining the Appia Antica

It must be the romantic in me that brings me back to this ancient and oft travelled road whenever I visit Rome.  You could spend weeks walking along this stretch of highway dating back to 312 BC and referred to as “the queen of the long roads”.  You can still see grooves worn in the stones by years of chariot traffic.  While I highly recommend you visit I also highly recommend that you plan your visit as there are many options and you can end up frustrated, tired, and dusty if you wing it.  Generally I recommend 2 to 3 hours actually walking along the Appian Way not including getting to and from the park.  This will leave you time to tour one of the Catacombs that allow visitors.

Below are some good links to help you plan to enjoy this amazing park and make the most of your visit.

Official Website of the Parco Appia Antica

Recommended Reading – The Appian Way – Ghost Road, Queen of Roads

Christian Catacombs of Rome