Book Title: Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria
Author: James Lasdun and Pia Davis
Promotional Blurb: This book, now thoroughly revised and updated, is written to satisfy readers who want to build their holiday around walking, or those who simply want to integrate a bit of walking into their holiday. It begins with a “practicalities” section and extend into the walks themselves.
From six or so “base towns,” the authors offer routes of one or two hours, half day, and one, three, and five days. There are also some extraordinary walks worth going out of the way for.
There are recommendations for restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias, as well as markets and other take-away options. Additionally, the book includes suggestions for lodging, transportation, flora and many other points of interest. Source
My Thoughts: There is something very attractive and romantic about the idea of strolling through the rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria and grazing on the freshest and tastiest Italian produce. Having done a fair bit of strolling through Italy (the Via Francigena from Great Saint Bernard to Rome in 2018) I know that it is not as effortless as these books make out. Fun, but you do raise a sweat and feel pretty grotty by the end of the day. My apologies if I just punctured the romance!
First up, this book is very dated. Originally released in 1997, it was updated in 2004. I suspect that by now, much of the information would be out of date too and superseded by more modern guide tools such as apps linked to GPS etc.
What is good about this book is that it gives you a much deeper understanding on each of the paths including:
- The food the area is famous for,
- Where to eat,
- How to get there and away,
- Where to stay along the route if you wish to break the journey, and
- Clear directions in map form with a detailed narrative.
What is also well-done is the introduction to each of regions and paths including historical and literary references, adding a nice dimension to any armchair travel.
Like Italians themselves, the tone is warm and friendly and the authors have a true passion for both walking and eating.
The book itself is quite bulky at over 400 pages and may be awkward to carry while you are actually walking, however it would be a good reference book to narrow down your walking options pre-departure or prepare for each day ahead.
If you can’t travel at the moment, dreaming and planning may be the next best thing. I give it 7/10.
Author bios: James Lasdun is the author of several books of fiction and poetry, including the novel The Horned Man. Pia Davis coordinates the companion Web site for Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria. They have also released a Walking and Eating in Provence guidebool. Unfortunately I could not find a photo of Ms Davis. Source
Author blog or website: http://walkingandeating.com/
Published: First published 1997, revised 2004
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Available from: Book Depository (from $17.74)
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