I have finished my Italian visit today, i.e: "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" by Umberto Eco.
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.. to be fair this was more about WWII-era Italy (through the memories of a 21st century Milanese bookseller in a coma) but I cannot complain. If this is - as reports suggest - the last ever novel by Umberto Eco, then I am delighted that it came along at just the right time to represent Italy.
Of course Italy is a bit more complex than that! It also emcompasses two of Europe's tiniest states: San Marino and the Vatican City...
I was really struggling to find a representative work for San Marino and was very lucky to come across a book called "Dots on the Map" - a book by a certain Lancastrian called Colin Leckey, who travelled recently to the 7 smallest states of Europe.
Having finished with Italy I was delighted to have this tome to allow me to travel on to San Marino... though I also made the effort to read the chapters on my previously visited "Andorra" and "Monaco" countries; and found both of these chapters added a huge amount to my knowledge gleamed from the books relating to these countries that I read earlier on in my travels.
This book is a very engaging travelogue and - as well as being the sole representation of San Marino - it will serve as an additional resource to the later small 'states' I intend to visit (Vatican City, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands)
In fact, without the inspiration of this book, Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands would not have featured in my list of places to visit, so many thanks to Colin for that also!
I'll catch up after my sojourn in San Marino!