``Whenever Italians want to stress the cultural variety of their nation, or nostalgically mention places where they really would like to live, they speak of the Cento Citta. . . .'' Hofmann, a 30-year resident of Italy and a veteran New York Times correspondent, profiles his favorite 100 places to visit. He takes us on a series of walking/auto tours of each of six regions. Starting with a city's central square, town hall, or church, he treats us to a delightful blend of historic and literary past and present. Similar to Baedeker's Italy , but with less emphasis on accommodations and more on native appeal. Recommended. Ann E. Cohen, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, N.Y.