The Beautiful Country

The Beautiful Country: Tourism and the Impossible State of Destination Italy

STEPHANIE MALIA HOM
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt130jwgc
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  • Book Info
    The Beautiful Country
    Book Description:

    Using an interdisciplinary methodology that includes archival research, ethnographic fieldwork, literary criticism, and spatial analysis,The Beautiful Countryreveals destination Italy's paramount role in the creation of modern mass tourism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-1755-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-26)

    The hills around Rome are at their best in the springtime. The air, still crisp with winter, hints at warmer days with the smell of budding grass and newly tilled soil. Delicate rains saturate the landscape with renewed life, marked by almost impossible shades of kelly green. Poets and painters have long celebrated nature’s vernal revelry here in the Roman countryside, their words and watercolours immortalizing the place as a respite from the anxiety and ennui of modernity. Goethe, one of Italy’s most famous modern pilgrims, proclaimed that it had “restored [him] to the enjoyment of life, to the enjoyment...

  6. Texts
    • 1 Codes of Travel: Italy’s Guidebook Tradition
      (pp. 29-48)

      Rome comes awake slowly on an early June morning. The sun is low, not yet at its blazing zenith, and the cobblestoned streets are still cool and empty from the night. The air is limpid, just a pale tint of blue visible beyond the eaves and baroque spires of the city centre. The steam hiss of espresso machines and the soft clinking of demitasses signal the daily passage into consciousness. An august Roman gentleman ruffles his newspaper outside a café, his slow turning of pages marking the time along with the nearby church bells. Another young man, clearly still half-asleep,...

    • 2 Italian Montage: On Rhetoric and Representations
      (pp. 49-80)

      The yellow-taxicab-coloured cover ofItaly for Dummiesboldly announces its presence among the guidebooks of a bookstore. Its title appears to be scrawled on a blackboard, with the worddummiespenned in a childish hand. Just below this titular scribble there is a photograph of a cascade of sunflowers radiating outwards from an agedcasa colonica(farmhouse). Its tile roof and crumbling stones strike muted notes against a deep-blue sky. Tuscany. This guidebook is actually part of the For Dummies series, which is an extensive and highly profitable set of instructional manuals on topics as varied as taxes, forensic psychology,...

  7. Practices
    • 3 Destination Nation: The Grand Tour, Thomas Cook, and the Arrival of Mass Tourism
      (pp. 83-104)

      In the mid-nineteenth century intense political turmoil gripped the Italian peninsula. Dynasties were in flux, and power relations were often tense as territories were contested among the Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary, the papacy, and regional leaders in Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, the Veneto, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. While such power struggles played out, most inhabitants suffered severe food shortages and worsening living conditions, and this hardship stirred unrest among intellectuals and rural poor alike. Future Risorgimento leaders, like Giuseppe Mazzini and Massimo D’Azeglio, published invectives against the existing political structures and the widespread imbalance of power.¹ Their shared animosity...

    • 4 Tours of Duty: Touring Clubs, Fascist Agencies, and the Domestic Tourism Industry
      (pp. 105-126)

      On his first trip to the southern regions of Basilicata and Calabria the founder of the Touring Club Italiano (TCI), Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli, stopped to admire a marble obelisk dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Risorgimento’s greatest hero. The monument, currently located in the town of Soveria Mannelli, still bears the inscription of Garibaldi’s words that inspired Bertarelli back in 1896: “Dite al mondo che, alla testa dei miei bravi calabresi, qui ho disarmato dodicimila soldati borbonici” (Tell the world that, at the head of my brave Calabrians, here I disarmed twelve thousand Bourbon soldiers). Garibaldi made this statement during his...

    • 5 Masses in Transit: The New Economy of Tourism in the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 127-152)

      In the March 1960 issue ofLe Vie d’Italia(The ways of Italy), the monthly magazine of the Touring Club Italiano, Aldo Saponaro noted a strange new phenomenon that had appeared in Milan: smog. His article was rather alarmist in tone and focused on the emerging health problems and increasing mortality rates related to this new form of atmospheric pollution. It even prescribed the daily use of anti-smog masks to combat what Saponaro declared “l’invisibile nemico dell’uomo moderno” (the invisible enemy of modern man).¹ The smog article was one of many concerning Italy’s rapid industrialization after the Second World War...

  8. Spaces
    • 6 Italy without Borders: Simulacra, Simulation, and the Postmodern Grand Tour
      (pp. 155-183)

      One winter evening in New Orleans it was a surreal scene on Poydras Street. A fleet of psychedelic-neon caravels rolled down the boulevard, their jubilant fluorescence a stark contrast against the moonless night. These floats are a common sight in the city, especially around Mardi Gras, when they lope and shimmy through neighbourhoods and carry groups of revellers intent on endless merrymaking. The caravels on Poydras Street were no different. They joyously rocked back and forth. They glowed and glimmered. They blasted pulsating music that reverberated through the night air and into one’s heart. It was a party on wheels....

    • 7 Postmodern Passages: Souvenirs, Theme Parks, Outlet Malls, and the Body of the Simulated Nation
      (pp. 184-212)

      On 13 December 2009 former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was working the crowd at a political rally in Milan. A few feet away Massimo Tartaglia, a forty-two-year-old man with a supposed history of mental illness, moved closer to Berlusconi and in the blink of an eye hurled an object at the prime minister, striking him in the face. Chaos ensued. Cameras captured Berlusconi’s grimace at the moment of impact. Bodyguards frantically pushed him into an awaiting car. Looking dazed, Berlusconi sat there for a moment before getting out again. He stepped out onto the car’s running board and proudly...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 213-220)

    The winter air is exceptionally clear in Las Vegas. It is a reminder that this electrified city of sin and speculation actually imposes itself upon the desert where living things still struggle to survive on the hardscrabble plains. Nature and artifice collide here. Clanging slot machines interrupt the silence of the bajada. Cars and freeways decussate the landscape, crucifying the sagebrush, fiddlenecks, and Joshua trees on planes of steel and concrete. The Luxor hotel shoots a beam of light upward into the stratosphere like some unholy hand rising from the earth to reclaim the night sky from the darkness. These...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 221-262)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 263-292)
  12. Index
    (pp. 293-313)