Travels Through Time in Italy: Eight Cities Past and Present

Travels Through Time in Italy: Eight Cities Past and Present

by David M. Addison


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Long before Thomas Cook made mass tourism to Italy possible in the 1860s there was the Grand Tour which, believe it or not, goes back a couple of centuries before that. Seen as a sort of educational finishing school for aristocrats, the Tour took in the Classical and Renaissance sights of Italy, finishing up in Naples and Pompeii.

Now, on a package tour, along comes David M. Addison accompanied by his wife, aka La Belle Dame Sans Merci, who thinks he could do with a bit of polishing up as they take in the cultural hotspots of Naples, Pompeii, Assisi, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Rome and the Vatican.

The sweep of this book takes the reader from Roman times to the Renaissance, from emperors to kings – including the artists and architects, the politicians and popes, the saints and sinners – all of whom exercised a major influence on their times. With an eye for the off-beat and the extraordinary, this is a personal account of what most impressed the author on his latter-day educational Tour.

Seamlessly interwoven with the Italy of the past, is the author’s take on present-day Italy. In a humorous, self-deprecatory style, he describes life as he sees it, the curious incidents he witnesses, the interesting people he meets, including his travelling companions. He makes no secret of the scrapes he gets into which arise out of his own eccentricities, nor the occasions when he causes embarrassment of the most cringe-making kind to his long-suffering wife.

Much more serious however, was the time when, all alone, the author found himself accosted in the street by three menacing-looking men demanding his passport…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780993493294
Publisher: Extremis Publishing Ltd.
Publication date: 10/31/2017
Pages: 492
Sales rank: 420,438
Product dimensions: 5.06(w) x 7.81(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

A native of Banff, Scotland, David M. Addison is a graduate of Aberdeen University. As well as essays in various publications, he has written several books, mainly about his travels.

As well as a short spell teaching English as a foreign language in Poland when the Solidarity movement was at its height, he spent a year (1978-79) as an exchange teacher in Montana.

He regards his decision to apply for the exchange as one of the best things he ever did, for not only did it give him the chance to travel extensively in the US and Canada but during the course of the year he made a number of enduring friendships. His award-winning An Innocent Abroad is the first in a planned trilogy about this extraordinary year while the second, Still Innocent Abroad, was published in 2016.

Since taking early retirement (he is not as old as he looks), he has more time but less money to indulge his unquenchable thirst for travel (and his wife would say for Cabernet Sauvignon and malt whisky). He is doing his best to spend the children's inheritance by travelling as far and wide and as often as he can.

In 2015 An Innocent Abroad received an award in the Bookbzz Prize Writer Competition for Biography and Memoir. David's most recent travels took him to the Highlands of Scotland, exploring Visit Scotland's recently unveiled NC500, dubbed "Scotland's Route 66", and rated one of the top five most scenic road journeys in the world.

For more details about David and his work, please visit his website at

Table of Contents

Foreword by Arup K. Chatterjee (Page i)

Prelude (Page 1)

1. Neapolitan Street Party (Page 7)

2. Neapolitan Evening Stroll (Page 13)

3. The Human Standard Lamp (Page 21)

4. Pompeii: Baths, Bodies and Bread (Page 29)

5. Pompeii: House of Ill-Repute and Other Houses (Page 35)

6. Traffic Police and Pizzas (Page 45)

7. A Walk in the Centre of Naples (Page 51)

8. The Spaccanapoli and the Saint (Page 57)

9. Santa Chiara and Poor Clare (Page 65)

10. Sound and Silence in the Pursuit of St Francis (Page 75)

11. Seeking the Bones of St Francis (Page 83)

12. Dining Alfresco in Florence (Page 93)

13. Meeting the Dead in Santa Croce (Page 99)

14. Cloisters, Cimabue’s Crucifixion, and a Corridor (Page 105)

15. Statues and Squares (Page 111)

16. On Being Perverse (Page 119)

17. To the Top of the Dome (Page 127)

18. Funny Things on the Way to the Boboli Gardens (Page 133)

19. Hot Stuff in the Boboli Gardens (Page 139)

20. Strange Goings On (Page 147)

21. A Surprisingly Sumptuous Restaurant (Page 153)

22. Party Time at Pauline Bonaparte’s (Page 161)

23. The Perils of Pisa (Page 169)

24. Souvenirs and a Supplication (Page 179)

25. Feeling the Heat and the Cold (Page 185)

26. The Panther and the Sculptor (Page 195)

27. The Slaughter and the Bell Ringer (Page 203)

28. The Palio and the Sopranos (Page 209)

29. The Trattoria and the Talcum Powder (Page 217)

30. Transports of Undelight (Page 225)

31. Funny Happenings on the Way to the Forum (Page 233)

32. Gods and Virgins (Page 241)

33. The Shopping Mall and the Wedding Cake (Page 249)

34. Three Coins for the Fountain (Page 259)

35. The Oculus and the Sarcophagus (Page 265)

36. Statues of Stone and Flesh and Blood (Page 273)

37. Mausoleums and Mirror Churches (Page 279)

38. In Search of Keats and Others (Page 287)

39. In the Society of Dead Poets (Page 295)

40. The Trouble with Italian Public Transport (Page 301)

41. Roaming in the Gloaming (Page 309)

42. Window-Shopping and Taxi-Riding (Page 313)

43. To Hell by Metro (Page 323)

44. Hell in the Vatican (Page 331)

45. The Sarcophagus, the Goddess and the Tapestry (Page 339)

46. Facing the Music in and out of the Sistine Chapel (Page 347)

47. Grave Sights in St Peter’s (Page 353)

48. A Fantasy and an Emergency in the Piazza (Page 361)

49. The Crypt (Page 369)

50. Rome with a View (Page 377)

51. Trams and Tenors (Page 385)

52. Dining with the Tenors 1 (Page 393)

53. Dining with the Tenors 2 (Page 401)

54. Party Time and Question Time (Page 407)

55. The Pleasure Palace and the Palatine (Page 417)

56. Signs of the Times (Page 425)

57. The Column and the Curia (Page 433)

58. Funeral Pyre and Fire (Page 441)

59. Music and More Troubles on the Metro (Page 449)

60. Life in the Slow Lane (Page 457)

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