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Pictures from Italy

Charles Dickens

Book Overview: 

Dickens takes time off his novels to give an account of travels which he and his family undertook in France and Italy. There are vivid descriptions of the places, but also of the people and their lives.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I wander out again.

The Villa Bagnerello: or the Pink Jail, a far more expressive name for the mansion: is in one of the most splendid situations imaginable.  The noble bay of Genoa, with the deep blue Mediterranean, lies stretched out near at hand; monstrous old desolate houses and palaces are dotted all about; lofty hills, with their tops often hidden in the clouds, and with strong forts perched high up on their craggy sides, are close upon the left; and in front, stretching from the walls of the house, down to a ruined chapel which stands upon the bold and picturesque rocks on the sea-shore, are green vineyards, where you may wander all day long in partial shade, through interminable vistas of grapes, trained on a rough trellis-work across the narrow paths.

This sequestered spot is approached by lanes so very narrow, that when we arrived at the Custom-house, we found the people here had taken the measure of the narrowest among them, and were waiting to apply it to. . . Read More

Community Reviews

PICTURES FROM ITALY. (1913). Charles Dickens. ****.
According to a preface written by the author, “This book is a series of faint reflections – mere shaadows in the water – of places to which the imaginations of most people are attracted.” Dickens spent a year touring Italy – including getting th...more

i am still it sure how to rate this book!

i loved some parts of it, dickens sharp, sometimes even biting descriptions on main land European lives hat he found lacking or too extreme (mostly there is no in between for him, either he finds if highly lacking and in poor taste or way over the top and...more

Dickens wrote Pictures of Italy during his year there in 1844, two years after his first tour of America, and about 7 years after he lived on Doughty Street, London, and wrote both Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby there. Also, it was four years before the Revolution, which began in 1848, finish...more

This is not your usual Dickens in that there really are no characters with whom you grow through the story. On the other hand his descriptive talents are at their best as he takes you along on a tour of Italy after a brief visit through France.

For the most part it seems that he enjoyed the views...more

A delightful travelogue of Dickens' travels throughout Italy in 1844, "Pictures from Italy" is like a deep, refreshing breath after the angry outbursts of "American Notes" and "Martin Chuzzlewit." This is Dickens at his best observational writing, showing us Italy through his eyes. Unlike his "Am...more

Feeling sorrowful, as my delectable trip with Mr Dickens has just come to an inevitable end. Not surprisingly Italy turned out to be splendid but I have some observations to share about my travel companion also.

Everything you always wanted to know about my trip to Italy with Charles Dickens and h...more

"I am not easily dispirited when I have the means of pursuing my own fancies and occupations" - made me laugh....aren't we all happy to have the means to pursue our own fancies?
"It is miserable to see great works of art - something of the Souls of Painters - perishing and fading away"

This is a...more

Being an Italian reader, this book has been a real adventure for me. It's funny to see your country through the eyes of an English author of the XIX century. From Genoa to Florence, from Rome to Naples, my beloved Italy has been told and described by one of the authors I love the most. Descriptio...more

A curious volume from Mr. Dickens. Much better than his "American Notes", perhaps because he seems less disappointed and is more forgiving, but also because it reads less like a reporter's diary and more like a novelist's travelogue. That is, fewer facts and figures about prisons and asylums, mor...more

This book has given me my new life motto - "Courage, friend! It is to eat macaroni!"
If that doesn't get you through anything, I don't know what does.
This was a pleasant read. I found it unexpectedly charming and witty and not as blatantly racist as I expected. Dickens is a master of ironic deta...more

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