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|Print List Price:||£8.99|
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Stumbling through Italy: Tales of Tuscany, Sicily, Sardinia, Apulia, Calabria and places in-between Kindle Edition
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|Length: 272 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Like countless others before them, they started off in tidy Tuscany but gravited south to Sicily, Apulia and Calabria and west to Sardinia; they frequently stumbled off the beaten track where they encountered ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
It is a travelogue with a difference. Generally the places Niall Allsop visits are interesting not because of their historical or aesthetic track record but because of the people he observes or gets into conversation with; even the homes he gets invited into.
When visiting the tourist hot-spot of Florence he explains the rationale: "We do not instinctively home in on the nearest church or cathedral when we visit a town ... we're more likely to head for the bar or café with the oldest men sitting outside, one of whom might well drag us off, kicking and screaming, to the nearest church on the mistaken assumption that that's why we're there."
Generally he avoids such `hot-spots' and introduces the reader to places they will never have heard of but that soon become familiar, friendly places often with, on the surface, little to show but their inhabitants.
On his first visit to Sardinia, for example, he and his wife became close to two women who, unknown to them at the time, were protagonists in a family feud. It wasn't a serious affair, a small story in a small town with six bars. But when he left Scano di Montiferro for the last time, I felt that I had been there too, that I too knew these people and had been touched by their lives.Read more ›
Like them, and unlike the rest of us, he not only looks at Italians going about their daily lives but draws his own, sometimes hilariously imaginative, conclusions as to their thoughts and motivations.
Many travellers will have seen people abroad drinking coffee, driving, eating or simply socialising in the sun, but few will have the ability to see or taken the trouble to record their thoughts like this excerpt from his account of the nightly passeggiata ritual in Frascati:
",,,(for )Frascati's womenfolk of a certain age this was an opportunity to show off their fur.....with a panache that lacked any hint of embarrassment or concession to being politically correct.... Many of these fur -framed ladies trailed furry little pooches...which in turn needed to be decked out in the right gear...
...the menfolk knew their place... their job was to carry the umbrella and be ready, at the merest hint of rain, to protect their good lady (and their investment) from the elements."
Peter Mayle was successful in admitting us into the workings of one small community in France. Niall Allsop paints on a much broader canvas. He brings to life with affection and humour a whole cast of characters he encounters ranging from mafiosi to eccentric landladies against a background of the glorious colours of southern Italy and Sicily.
He is a true travel writer with the rare gift of bringing to life people and places that the rest of we more ordinary travellers merely visit, and shows us entertainingly just how much we missed.
Having not been to either Sicily or Apulia, I felt I got a good sense of both. There is also a helpful chapter about the Italian language. Despite Allsop's claim that his Italian isn't very good, he clearly has an ear and an understanding of language. There is also an amusing chapter about `the Italian driving experience'. We're even given the recipe for Sardinian orange and coffee liquore - extracted from the generous Rina.
Stumbling through Italy is a warm and funny book underlaid with an intelligent appreciation of the country and its people.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another one that I loved. Very well able to tell the story. Hope everything goes well for you.in Italy.Published 13 months ago by Mike Nolan
Enjoyed all the anecdotes, especially as we have visited most of the parts of Italy covered in this book. Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2014 by Barclaycard
I was looking forward to reading this book, followed by the sequel charting the couple's move to Italy. But having read the former I won't bother with the latter. Read morePublished on 27 Aug. 2013 by Amazon Customer
I love Italy especially the south and have also spent time with Italian families that I knew from the UK,
I was hoping to learn more about the lives of italians in this... Read more
Like its sister book it was a very good read. It was a mystery, it was funny, it was sad but most of all it was very enjoyable and a very good read sat by a pool in Italy with a... Read morePublished on 31 Mar. 2013 by Rodney Webb
This book is very easy to read and very informative ,making me want to hope on the next plane to see for myself. Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2013 by kriemeth
Got a bit bored but I suppose it is ok I still haven't finished but haven't archived, that's a good sign!Published on 10 Oct. 2012 by Lynne Bradley
Niall Allsop and his wife are not your average British holiday-makers and this book tells the story of how they first came to visit Italy and the people and places they ran into... Read morePublished on 17 Aug. 2012 by Norman L. Harris
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