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

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