Comments on Blue Guide Southern Italy

The author, supported by the classicists and art historians on the Blue Guides editorial board, has updated this new edition with a wealth of detail. Now with useful Blue Guide Recommended advice on hotels and restaurants. The whole region is covered from the Bay of Naples, with some of the most famous remains of antiquity in the world, to fashionable Puglia in the heel of Italy.

View the book’s contents, index and some sample pages, and buy securely from blueguides.com here »

10 thoughts on “Comments on Blue Guide Southern Italy

  1. In Vasto, the statue is of Gabriele Rossetti, not Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The son of Vasto native Gabriele Rossetti, the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born in London. A rare slip up!

    • Dear Frances, Many thanks for pointing this out. You are absolutely right. I think the text is ambiguous; the “he” is meant to refer to the father of the poet and painter. But what is really peculiar is our claim that DG Rossetti’s father was a blacksmith! I think “scholar and patriotic poet” would have been a more accurate way to describe him. An odd error. Thanks again for pulling us up.

  2. Your guide to Southern Italy claims in 2 places that Highway robbery is still exists in Puglia. While car theft and break-ins do exist there is no reported case of highway robbery in 20 years (and it was extremely rare then). Do you still stand behind this outrageous comment? Also, what is your policy on updating digital editions? the Southern Italy addition is 8 years old (ancient!)

    • Dear Ruth, Thanks for posting this comment. I’ve spoken to the author who in turn spoke to the Carabinieri in Bari and Altamura. I don’t think the comment is all that outrageous–Dick Turpin-style hold-ups of private vehicles might be unlikely these days, but armed attacks on security vans still happen and it always pays to be alert. This is what we were told yesterday: After some hesitation the desk sergeant in Altamura told me there are no longer highway robberies on SS99 between Altamura and Matera. Thieves now wait until you park your car. His advice: Never leave your car unattended, park in a garage and not on the street, and take everything with you … don’t leave anything in the car… Nobody will stop you as you’re driving, but you’ll be noticed when you drive into a town if you have foreign number plates or a rental car, and targeted for a hit… They’ll either steal your car, or break in and steal what’s in it. In Old Bari, where the problem is the Topini (aggressive pickpockets), the advice is, You should always be concerned, keep your head up and notice any unusual movements. Don’t dally, figure out where you want to go before hand and go directly there: don’t pause to look around or take pictures. Don’t park on the street. Use a garage with attendant or an underground car park. Don’t wear conspicuous jewelry and keep your wallet in a front pocket. If you put it in a back pocket they’ll tear your trousers off to get it (I can substantiate this: it happened a friend and Bari resident). Keep the Carabinieri emergency number handy: 112. We are embarking on an update of BG Southern Italy shortly. It will proceed region by region. Our titles are normally updated every 5–10 years, which for guides of this level of detail and research, appealing to a niche market, is an achievable and viable course. We don’t want to skimp. I hope this helps. Happy(and safe!) travels.

  3. Sir/Madam, It is a very nice and useful guide. However, there is a funny mistake on page 252, line 4. You write that E.M. Forster, when in Ravello, wrote “The story of a picnic”. This should read: “The story of a panic”. Quite a difference! Sincerely

    • Thank you for your comment–it made me smile! I don’t think this can have been one of those inadvertent spell-check corrections because “The Story of a Panic” takes place on a picnic, so it must have been a slip of the pen. Bizarrely enough you are the first person to point this out. Thank you!

  4. Page 231: From Ischia town along the causeway to the Castello of Alfonso, the Magnanimous: All you say is that it is private, but this is a very worthwhile site. For 10 Euros, you can explore the island castle with four historic churches, two of which are in ruins. There are beautiful views of the town, the sea, and the waterfront from a number of vantage points and from two terrace cafes, where you can rest your feet, take refreshment, and enjoy the spectacular scenery and the peaceful atmosphere on the islet. There is also a hotel in the historic fortress. It was a highlight of my visit to Ischia.
    Page 248: The footpath/staircase linking Ravello to Amalfi by way of Castiglione, which starts down the mountain at Via Santa Barbara to the right of the entrance to Villa Cimbrone, is steep and still. I saw only lizards and a couple of cats as I made my way down it. Near the bottom, the way is blocked by two barriers limiting passage for a short distance of the trail which has been damaged by erosion. Page 351: The Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia is closed for remodeling and retrofitting until further notice. A few items (pinakes, two bronze heads, and Riace Bronzes) from the museum are on display in a public building on Via Cardenale Portanova about four blocks up from the intersection with Via Giovanni Amendola, on the left. Unfortunately, the Riace Bronzes are in the prone position, as if for restoration, and are therefore, hard to see and appreciate, although there is an interesting video about their recovery and restoration. Page 364: The Miramare Hotel has been closed for three years. Page 366: The Gala’ Restaurant not only has a great view of the shoreline and of Sicily, but it also excellent local and Sicilian cuisine and gracious service.

  5. Hello, I have a copy of Muirhead’s Southern Italy (including Rome, Sicily and Sardinia) dated 1925, which is not on your list. Is this the first edition? Thanks, Ken.

  6. I have just returned from a holiday to southern Italy, in the Salerno region, and I used the 8th Edition (1996) Blue Guide to Southern Italy. Please excuse me if my comments have been superseded by later editions.
    To me it is particularly commendable that the Blue Guides make reference to Commonwealth War Cemeteries, which I try to make a point of visiting where possible. Unfortunately, I found the information in the Guide at pages 218 and 181 about the cemeteries at Caserta and Salerno respectively to be somewhat misleading, although I did eventually find the cemeteries. Caserta The Guide states that the cemetery is “immediately east of the civil cemetery”. This is misleading. The cemetery is actually surrounded on three sides by the civil cemetery. Its entrance is about 100 metres east of the large entrance to the civil cemetery, which is at the southwest corner of the civil cemetery. In other words, the entrance to the military cemetery is about halfway along the sourthern boundary of the civil cemetery. The war cemetery is surrounded by an opaque wall, and is easily missed. To state that it is east of the civil cemetery suggests that it is part of a different “block”, and this can lead to confusion and “going round in circles”! Also, an unfortunate but doubtless necessary innovation is that the Commonwealth Cemetery is now kept locked at all times. To gain admission, one needs to know the four digit code to unlock the gate, which can be obtained by phone from the Rome office of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The local civic staff were not “up to speed” on this, although they gave me the relevant Rome phone number. I understand from the Rome office that the war cemeteries at Rome and Taranto are also now locked, and the same 4 digit code applies. Incidentally, the Caserta War Cemetery is not sign-posted, and without a map of Caserta one would be toiling to find it. Essentially it is about 1to 2 miles northeast of the Royal Palace of Caserta. Salerno The Guide states that “Montecorvino, 10km further east” is the site of the “Salerno British Military Cemetery”. This is seriously misleading. It may well be situated in the territory of the commune of Montecorvino – there are two villages in the nearby hills which include Montecorvino in their titles – but the cemetery is nowhere near either Montecorvino. Rather, it lies on the north side of the State Road 18 between Pontecagnano (to the west of the cemetery) and Battipaglia (to the east). It is obvious to anyone driving past. Mention in the guide of Montecorvino sent me off on a wild goose chase in the hills! Also, correctly speaking, it is a Commonwealthrather than simply a British cemetery. – there are for example quite a number of Canadian graves. I hope these comments are of some assistance, and apologise again if they are inapplicable to more up to date editions.

  7. I used “Blue Guide Southern Italy” on a trip to the Amalfi coast from which I have just returned. I have one correction and one suggestion. The correction has to do with directions to get to the museum at Capodimonte in Naples. On p. 97 you give directions to the museum as follows: “Regular bus services run from the city centre to the museum: no. 24 from Piazza Vittoria via Piazza Dante stops at the Porta Grande.” It seems that there is no longer a bus no. 24. Rather you must take bus R4 from the Museo Archeologico nazionale; there are bus stops along the via Santa Teresa degli Scalzi. My suggestion is to visit and then, if you agree, to list as a particularly fine and welcoming restaurant Rau: Emotional Food, Vico Satriano, 8c 80121 Napoli +39 081 245 50 57

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