It's both a beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled cookbook and an armchair guide to Italy's several distinct culinary regions, from the Alpine Piedmont area in the north to the southern island of Sicily. A separate chapter for each of eight regions opens with a magnificent landscape photo on a two-page spread, followed by several photo-filled pages describing the region's people, their way of life, and locally-produced foods and wines. The rest of each chapter is devoted to the region's recipes--two dozen or more recipes per region--which are divided according to the Italian custom: Antipasti, Primi Piatti (first course), Secondi Piatti (second course), Contorni (vegetables, including salads), and Dolci (desserts). Complemented with photos for each prepared dish, recipes include a delightful pasta alle melanzane (pasta with eggplant) from the Abruzzi; agnello ai carciofi (lamb cooked with artichokes) from Tuscany; risotto alla pilota (a risotto with sausage) from Lombardy; and babÃ¯Â¿Â½ all' amaretto, a delectable example of dolci from Sicily, to cite just a few of this book's 220 dishes. The authors present wonderful ways to prepare and serve meats, fish, pasta, sauces, fruits, vegetables, soups, salads, and desserts, along with suggestions for regional wines that go perfectly with each delightful Italian meal.