Bemelmans’ Italian Holiday
This is a marvelous book for anyone who loves Italy, and really even for those who do not (if there is such a person). Bemelmans brings a light but sophisticated touch to any subject, and this book is no exception. Here, he describes a journey through Italy with stops in Florence, Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice, Capri, etc. He records his desultory interaction with a variety of eccentric natives and also the international set, and in so doing, somehow ties it all together into a cohesive narrative. Bemelmans’ watercolor dust jacket illustration and many pen and ink illustrations inside the book certainly add to the appeal.
“Don’t complain if the clerk in any the grand hotels in Rome gives you a bad room. In Rome a bad room is usually good because it is at the back of house or facing on a courtyard. It is shady and quiet. The best rooms face the avenues and are the noisiest in the world.”