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Books on Italy

Rooting around on Amazon trying to find Italian things to add to mention on this site has been proving to be an interesting exercise.

I’ve discovered that there are not that many books about the northern regions of Italy. Tuscany, as you may imagine, has had plenty of books written about it, whereas Trento, where the majestic Dolomite mountain range can be found, has not generated any where near as much literature.

I suppose I can understand why in that I imagine that northern regions are possibly a bit too mountainous for many, and that those looking to move to Italy tend to aim for the areas with a milder climate.  Personally, I would think about living in the northern areas, and especially the some of the more mountainous zones, however, having seen areas such as Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, Abruzzo, Puglia and the like, I can understand why such areas are able to attract the attention of those looking to set up a new life there.

I have not, so far, got to trawling for books about Sicily, but I am curious to see just how much has been written about the region. This evening we watched a rerun of Montalbano, which is a series of stories about a police commissioner who is based down in Sicily.  I had not seen this particular episode before, and it was as fascinating as ever.  The landscapes, and the interior shots of enormous homes that do not appear to have been decorated for at least a century.

The more I watch the Montalbano series, the more I am intrigued by Sicily.  It almost appears that the place is stuck in a time warp, indeed, if it were not for the fact that Montalbano dresses in a reasonably modern kind of way and knocks about in a beaten up old Fiat Tipo, the whole series could take on the air of a period drama set in the first part of the 20th century.

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Then, but I’m not sure this is deliberate or not, there are the car-less streets, which are at a stark contrast with the car-lined streets of Milan. Sicily looks to be an odd place, and even my other half, who has been there (and has Sicilian origins), will only say that I really need to go there to see how it really is. But she does seem to be hinting that the Montelbano TV series really is rather close to reality.  This reaction only serves to intrigue me yet further.

One of these fine days I shall visit Sicily.

Italy holds an odd attraction for me, its horribly frustrating at times, but living in Italy is a bit like living on the edge of a huge and mysterious forest. At first, your curiosity draws you into this forest, and, after a while, you find another forest within that one, and this forest is equally mysterious and enthralling. Next there is another forest, and so on.  Eventually you become lost in this web of forests, well not so much lost, as trapped, or, rather, imprisoned within your own fascination.

Italy is such a series of forests. Initially, it’s suave tentacles writhe temptingly around your feet, but then, and ever, ever so slowly, they start to rise until they envelope you, and finally they start to penetrate, and continue penetrating deeper and deeper until they finally reach into and touch your very soul.

That’s it, once you’ve lost your soul to Italy, you become condemned to spending life in the enchanted boot.

I believe my soul has been defiled.

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