Italy

Italian Venice: A History by R. J. B. Bosworth

By R. J. B. Bosworth

During this stylish booklet Richard Bosworth explores Venice—not the fantastic Venice of the Venetian Republic, yet from the autumn of the Republic in 1797 and the Risorgimento up throughout the trendy. Bosworth appears on the glamour and squalor of the belle époque and the darkish underbelly of modernization, the 2 international wars, and the far-reaching oppressions of the fascist regime, via to the “Disneylandification” of Venice and the vacationer growth, the global cognizance of the biennale and picture competition, and present threats of subsidence and flooding posed by means of worldwide warming. He attracts out significant themes—the more and more anachronistic yet deeply embedded Catholic Church, the 2 faces of modernization, consumerism as opposed to culture.
 
Bosworth interrogates not only Venice’s heritage yet its meanings, and the way the city’s earlier has been co-opted to fit current and occasionally ulterior goals. Venice, he indicates, is a urban the place its histories in addition to its waters ripple at the floor.

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See chapter 3. • Caffè Rivoire (Florence): The pudding-rich hot chocolate of Florence’s premier historical cafe is second to the real reason for a visit: its dead-on view of the city’s greatest piazza and a front-row THE BEST CAFES seat for people-watching. The ambience is Old World inside and out: The stately Palazzo Vecchio looms in front of outdoor tables and the piazza’s most celebrated statue, a copy of Michelangelo’s fabled David. Inside it’s cozy and elegant, and no one raises an eyebrow if you nurse a tea for several hours.

If you’re really strapped for cash, go with the mineral water, then stop off at a wine bar after dinner and choose one very special cru-by-the-glass in a convivial ambiente. SIGHTSEEING 41. Make a beeline for the Tourist Information Office to check out special events, free concerts, arts festivals, and so on, to maximize your (always too brief ) stay in town. Some museums offer one evening a week free. Outdoor evening or church concerts are free, not infrequent, and lovely. Ask your hotel staff; they are often more helpful and informed than the tourism people.

Luckily, ATMs (automated teller machines) are now found just about everywhere, even in the smallest towns, so cash is readily available and, as luck would have it, banks in Italy do not (as of yet) charge you a fee for using their bank—though your home bank probably will for using an out-of-network ATM, as well as a premium for withdrawing foreign currency (for more, see “ATMs,” below). It’s a good idea to exchange at least some money—just enough to cover airport incidentals and transportation to your hotel—before you leave home so you can avoid lines at airport ATMs.

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