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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Passeggiata: Strolling Through Italy...Review

About the book:
Ms. Husak’s memoir of travels to Italy with her husband will appeal to those who love travel in general and Italy in particular. Their journeys are both personal and universal. From their first shared trip to Italy in 1993, which marked the first of their empty nest years, their annual passeggiata reflects the shift in their lives through the next decade. On their spring pilgrimages to major tourist centers, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, they develop appreciation for Italy’s art, music and architecture. Wandering together along out of the way paths in tiny hill towns and seacoast villages, they explore breathtaking scenery. By traveling light and learning the vagaries of Italian life, they have become Italian in spirit. The book provides many practical hints on how to travel like the locals, reminding us that even novice travelers can learn valuable lessons from immersion in another way of life, and that one’s companion can be an essential part of the pleasure of a journey.

Glen Husak and her husband Al return to Italy each year for a get-away, and have done so for 15 years. Each year they select one area to visit, rather than cramming the whole country into one vacation. By doing so, they have been able to come to appreciate so much more of the Italian country, its people and way of life. Glen shares their experiences and the often up and down hitches that happen. But, the perspective here is that the unexpected often becomes a serendipitous and delightful surprise.

While the book would be a great travel guide, its purpose is to remind us that there are wonderful lessons to be learned from visiting other cultures and immersing yourself in them, as well as trusting your companion and sharing experiences. One doesn't have to be familiar with Italy to appreciate the descriptions and anecdotes.

Having traveled in Italy several years ago, I found myself reminiscing about some of the places I loved as I read Glen's account of their experiences. I, too, wandered the streets of Venice and rode in a vapporetto; I saw the beautiful work of Giotto in a little, non-descript church in Padua and savored many a meal at a local restaurant. I remember the feeling of excess and lack of spirituality at the Vatican, but also appreciated the beauty and history as well. I remember walking for what seemed like hours to find the Church of St. Peter in Chains and seeing Michangelo's magnificent statue of Moses, and shopping in a street market in Florence.

Glen not only includes Italian history, but art history as well, which makes the book richer. I do wish she had included photos, although it would be easy to picture many of the well-known locations, even if you haven't seen them in person. Minor editing issues didn't detract from the charm.

A passeggiata is a slow, evening stroll through town, usually taken with people you care about, often arm-in-arm. This book was like taking a passeggiata through Italy. It was something to be savored, not rushed.

Thanks to Bostick Communications for the opportunity to review this book.

You can learn more about Glen and Al Husak here. You can purchase your own copy of this charming book here.

Read 8/09

* * * *
4/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. This book does sound charming. Going to Italy every year for 15 years sounds delightful!