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Tuscany & Umbria (Poetry of Place)

Gaia Servadio is an Italian writer, long settled in Britain, who has retained a passionate relationship with her motherland and those who have expressed this in verse. The cast she has assembled has a spell-binding intensity, so that the reader twists between Byron and Dante, flickers between the imagery drawn by St Francis, Baudelaire and Milton, Gabriele D'Annunzio and Joseph Brodsky. Through her choices we see the two opposing natures of Italy, united by their differences. When visiting Umbria and Tuscany, poets described a beauty which was at times wounding and overwhelming but invariably stimulated their imagination; struck by majestic visions or by unsuppressed enthusiasm, they wrote wonderful and melancholic lines. So much so that even the English, who are resistant to the impact of emotions (with the overwhelming exception of Lord Byron) seem to have been disturbed by the beauty of Florence and Tuscany.

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