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In the Shadow of Vesuvius

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  3 reviews
From its origins in Homer's Odyssey and its founding nearly 3,000 years ago, Naples has long attracted travellers, artists and foreign rulers--from the visitors of the Grand Tour to Goethe, Nelson, Dickens and Neruda. The stunning beauty of its natural setting coupled with the charms of its colorful past and lively present--from the ruins of Pompeii to the glittering perfo ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 15th 2009 by Tauris Parke Paperbacks (first published April 20th 2005)
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More than just a pretty place, Naples had significant influence on culture, science and philosophy. The book sheds light on the storied past of this capital city. The chronological narrative is peppered with colorful anecdotes about rulers and revolutionary thinkers and quotes from ancient writers and Grand Tour travelers. Bonus features: Author has translated La Smorfia Napoletana, the guidebook for interpreting dreams into lottery numbers. She also provides guidance regarding the delicious leg ...more
Daniel Hadley
This is not a dry history book. Lancaster has a penchant for telling the weird stories from Neapolitan history, like King Ferdinande's obsession with his own bowel movements, or the prominence of certain prostitutes. She also described the mundane in clear, readable prose. A lot of things that I observed while I lived in Naples make more sense now that I've read this book. For instance, Lancaster did a good job of explaining why Napoli did not attract its fair share of industry. I better underst ...more
This is good work from the Canadian born young author. In a remarkable small amount of pages, she manages to deliver a thorough and well organized biography of the city with an entertaining, well informed and witty narrative.
Highly reccomended.
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