Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens

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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. Descriptions are accurate as usual, and there’re also a lot of funny sketches about daily life in Italy. Some pages have made me laugh, some other have made me angry, of course. There’s something I’d wish to say to Charles, old chap, about our country and our uses but it’s too late to do that, I suppose. What has surprised me the most was the enthusiastic view of Milan, but we should consider that Dickens has visited this town BEFORE the great industrialisation. This is why he tells us about its architectural and artistic beauty, passing through natural spots that perhaps don’t even exist anymore. The most interesting feature of these notes (because these ARE notes and nothing more) is how ironically they’ve been written, but it doesn’t surprise me very much. Dickens has always written like that, and it’s really interesting to read something of his that is not a novel and that contains the main features of a real, autobiographical logbook.

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