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Passeggiata: Strolling Through Italy    by G. G. Husak order for
by G. G. Husak
Order:  USA  Can
BookSurge, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Passeggiata is about a love affair with Italy. I was lucky enough to spend a month in Tuscany over ten years ago and I can empathize with author G. G. Husak and her husband Al's enthusiasm for their frequent trips to Italy. Their awe at the beauty. Their fascination with the people. Their enjoyment of the fresh local foods served them in trattorias and restaurants. The time for reflection. The simple joy of watching children at play. Their daily forays into the towns and cities to find the one marble statue or painting or church worthy of inspection.

Husak's travel book locks onto Italy, putting forth all the reasons she and Al keep returning there. When asked why they do this instead of visiting the rest of the world, they really can't put a finger on the draw this country has for them. Almost every year, two weeks are spent in Italy. They now feel as though Italy is their second home. Given that, I can't understand why they did not learn to speak more of the language. But, that's me.

Husak offers very good travel tips about how to spend less money and enjoy it more. Their method of packing is a good one. Using public transit whenever possible is sage advice, as is knowing when to spend that extra few dollars to make the trip more memorable, and not letting the weather ruin your trip. In two weeks you're bound to run into some rain. Going off season seems like a natural to me - would rather have fewer tourists surrounding me even if it means being a little chilly in March.

Al used the guide books assiduously and thus found more of the heart of Italy than most tourists would. The beauty the couple found in churches made getting off the beaten path well worth the extra miles put on their shoe leather. They did a lot of walking to various sites. All in all, Passeggiata is a worthwhile book if you're finally planning to make that trip to Italy you've always talked about.

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