"My Secret Italy: A Girl's Guide to Intimate Italy"

My Secret Italy: A Girl’s Guide to Intimate Italy”  by Isabella Campagnol, Beatrice Campagnol and Elisabeth Rainer.  Photographs by Lorenzo Di Renzo.  My Secret Italy: A Girl’s Guide to Intimate Italy” by Isabella Campagnol, Beatrice Campagnol and Elisabeth Rainer. Photographs by Lorenzo Di Renzo.

“My Secret Italy. Percorsi e luoghi del cuore delle italiane moderne” è una guida nata dalla collaborazione di tre scrittrici italiane che condividono i luoghi meno noti che si possono trovare sapendo dove e come cercare, offre un nuovo approccio per vivere la cultura italiana, le sue città e le persone che si incontrano viaggiando. Questo divertente libro che include meravigliose lezioni di storia, folclore, superstizione e biografie è un utile strumento per chi desidera scoprire il Bel Paese lungo alcuni dei suoi percorsi più originali e sorprendenti, particolarmente mirati all’universo  femminile. Inframmezzato dai ritratti di alcune delle donne simbolo della cultura, dell’arte e dell’industria italiana oltre che da curiosità, leggende e tradizioni, “My Secret Italy” è da sfogliare sul divano fantasticando sulle prossime vacanze.

This collaboration by native Italians offers a fresh approach to experiencing Italian culture, its cities and people. The authors share the secret places and the locals you can find in Italy if you know where to look. It includes wonderful history lessons, folklore, superstition, and biographies.

Italy is special. The more you visit the more you long to return. If you have a love for the Italian way of life or enjoy exploring a town or city beyond the list of “important sites,” the approach the writers of this “experience guide” take will show you how to enjoy Italy on a different level. Tourists transform into travelers by meeting locals, discovering unknown places and experiences not featured in travel books. “My Secret Italy” opens doors to the places and people that may not be included in well-promoted travel books.

This is not a tour book but a great on-the-ground resource for seeing Italy as a traveler. You may find yourself reading every page of “My Secret Italy,” as I did, and highlighting many stops for your next trip home to Italy. The book is “an elegant ‘Grand Tour’ of Italy.” Each delightful chapter takes you to a different region in Italy, many that are not on the usual tourist’s list. You visit large and small cities and towns. You will learn about more than the obvious historic buildings, churches or art found in each location. “My Secret Italy” gives the reader a chance to discover such treasures as “Emilian rolled-out pastry in Bologna, a house with 12 sisters in Milan, a museum to Mary in Abruzzo, silks for a King in Caserta, the statue that stopped the lava in Naples, and wine doors and windows in Firenze.” Stunning photographs and illustrations punctuate each description.

With more than 70 entries you are sure to find some surprises. Have you visited the Museo dell’Occhiale (eyewear museum) in a small town in the Dolomites? Did you know that Nove in the province of Vicenza is known for ceramics? The legend of “An Honest Woman and a Greedy One” (page 45) will have me searching for the marble face in the wall in Venice. If I visited a fraction of the fascinating shops and artisans listed, I would be traveling for many weeks. And, there are many more unique entries within its pages. The color-coded sections, dividing entries into North, South, East, and West allows the reader to target parts of Italy. “All of these experiences, and more, become a select itinerary for the sensitive traveler.” “My Secret Italy” is a thoroughly enjoyable read even for an armchair traveler.