ExperiencePlus! Blog

The Italians by Luigi Barzini

Reviewed by ExperiencePlus! Traveler Bill Giovinazzo.

I know there is a God. I know that he/she is good, kind, and loving. There is no doubtThe Italians by Luigi Barzini Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com in my mind about this fact. How do I know? Only a good, kind, loving being would have blessed this earth with Italy & the Italian people. My ExperiencePlus! tour Bike Across Italy from Venice to Pisa enabled my son and I to experience this first hand. To appreciate the significance of many of the things we encountered along the way, I read Luigi Barzini’s “The Italians.”

A renowned author, publisher, journalist, & politician Barzini has written the ultimate guidebook to Italia. Barzini explores the many faceted cose all’italiana. Queste cose (these things) are the ingredients for the vibrant, passionate, emotional sauce that is the unique Italian culture, a culture without which the world would be a much blander place. The author examines the history and myths, the character and clichés so that any visitor can more fully appreciate this land. It provides the reader a backdrop, the staging that will turn a simple trip to Italy to an adventure.

What is so special about a bicycling trip with ExperiencePlus! is that you are able to directly encounter Italy. Couple this intimate encounter with Barzini’s book and you will have a deeper understanding of the people you will meet and the places you will go. So, as you ride through the Tuscan country you will appreciate the differences between the Guelfs and Ghibellines. As you sit in Sicily drinking wine and watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, you will know why Gogol said “Who has been in Italy can forget all other regions. Who has been in Heaven does not desire the Earth. Europe compared to Italy is like a gloomy day compared to a day of sunshine.” As you get to know this wonderful country you will know why Richard Lassels advised others “to season their minds with the gravity of that nation which has civilized the whole world and taught mankind what it is to be a man.”

And, at the end of the day, after you have ridden through the beautiful Italian country side; and after you have eaten a wonderful Italian meal; and after you have felt the warmth of the Italian people, you will also know that there is a good, kind, loving God.