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Nick Havely

Friday 27th - 18:00

'The Apennines are Italy' exclaimed The Examiner two centuries ago, yet this unique region and its striking literary and cultural connections are underappreciated in the English-speaking world. Apennine Crossings: Travellers on the Edge of Tuscany links a twenty-first century journey in the mountains of Northern Italy to past writers, routes, and travellers. It follows the modern long-distance walking trail of the 'Great Apennine Excursion', whilst moving back and forth in time: from the Middle Ages to World War Two and from the journeys of pilgrims, merchants, and tourists to those of soldiers, partisans, and poets. Stories of past travellers in the region continually intersect with a contemporary account of a walk across the ridge of the Northern Apennines Alongside Nick Havely's present-day narrator and traveller, the cast of characters includes major writers and poets, such as Dante, Montaigne, Goethe, Shelley, and Stendhal, together with a multitude of less well-known figures whose journeys, experiences, and responses cast new light on a landscape that is close to yet remote from the sites typically visited by modern travellers to Italy. Havely draws these earlier travellers' stories from a wide range of published and unpublished sources such as letters, journals, memoirs, poems, and interviews. Together, they illustrate several significant themes: the histories of mountain passes, remote lakes, and ancient sanctuaries; perceptions of the mountains; the social and religious culture of the Northern Apennines; the preoccupations of literary tourism; the impact of campaigns and conflict during World War Two; and the effects of depopulation and deforestation. The Apennine region features in its full literary, historical, and cultural richness. Included are twenty-six illustrations, with maps for the whole route and for the sections covered by each of the book's seven chapters.

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