Book Review: Italia by Don Smarto

Italia: A Father & Son Journey

Author: Don Smarto

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Proud Heritage, Childhood Memories, and a Walking Miracle

A first generation Italian-American International award winning photographer and author Don Smarto shares poignant stories and treasured memories of his youth with his adult son Luke as they visit ten cities in Italy, including Rome, Florence, Milan, and Naples. Smarto skillfully weaves absorbing stories touching anecdotes, and treasured memories into the history, and background data on important art, architecture, and Italian food..

Smarto’s writing comes from a father’s heart.  This is a touching story, emotionally packed with expressions of parental love and friendship. Smarto tells of a proud heritage filled with unforgettable memories of his childhood and youth. He describes the difficult journey experienced during the days of his son Luke’s heart surgeries, and of his role as father in developing a bonding relationship with his son.

In another kind of journey Smarto details the father/son tour of Italy and a father/son friendship.  He talks of ancient and contemporary Rome, developing unique insights not found in generic travel guides. He tells of their experience in Vatican City in the heart of Rome, other cities throughout the duo’s extensive visit to Italy. These include:, Venice,   Murano, Pompeii, Naples, and Perugia.

Frequent references to popular movies featuring Italian cites, fountains, art, and sculptures help the reader identify with Smarto’s narrative, photos, and well-known Italian personalities introduced throughout the manuscript.

Don includes interesting highlights from Italy’s history, technological advances, with detailed descriptions of the points of interest he and Luke visited throughout their trip.  The text is generously seasoned with Italian idioms, familiar and not so familiar words and phrases. These add a uniqueness not found in traditional generic travel guides.  I found it interesting to note that the Vatican museum includes not only religious art, but also features ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman sculptures.

“Italia: A Father & Son Journey” is a book that will have a prominent place in our home for years to come.  Don Smarto’s writing and photography are inspiring in the imagery created by well-chosen word pictures and spectacular photography.

A complimentary review copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Publisher: Frontline Press, P. O. Box 764499, Dallas, Texas 75376, 978-1467511551, $ 22.00, 2012, 340 Pages

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