Travel Ideals in Film
Edited By Gemma Blackwood and Andrew McGregor
Chapter Nine: Travel Ideals in Food: Cooking up an Ideal(ised) Italy in Contemporary American ‘Middlebrow’ Films
Travel Ideals in Food: Cooking up an Ideal(ised) Italy in Contemporary American ‘Middlebrow’ Films
For centuries Italy has been the destination of a lifetime for an endless stream of travellers. In the nineteenth century, affluent travellers from the “New Worlds”, first from the United States and later from Australia, added to the flow of visitors that for centuries had journeyed to Italy to quench their thirst for history, art and beauty. In contemporary times, the fascination Italy still exerts on travellers from the United States and Australia has also been expressed and exploited through a sensuous representation of Italian food in print and in cinema. Today, more Americans and Australians than ever travel to Italy,1 and more of them linger for longer periods; indeed many come to learn about food and wine as integral parts of the country’s culture, to participate in cookery classes, ← 167 | 168 → to experience some form of rural life in Tuscan or Umbrian villages, alongside other culturally esteemed fields such as art, music and architecture that the nation is renowned for.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, a spate of best-selling English-language books have been published – mainly by Australian and American journalists or “instant writers”2 who have spent time in Italy – which focus on the pleasure of living in the country, whether they describe life in a small village or in one of the main cities. Favourite topics rotate around sensual...
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