This is the first book in any language to digest what foreign writers have had to say about the cities of Northern Italy. French, German, and English writers, adoring Italy, have always lavished praise upon it, yet no one has ever compared what they said about the places they visited. Now, here is presented the best insights of major and minor writers since 1800, the time of the French occupation of Italy when the new crop of travelers arrived to take in the sights, smells, and tastes of this land.Passages from familiar writers are collated, but this book emphasizes those writers who are less familiar, showing that much of the finest writing about Italy comes from authors now totally forgotten. Not only are the sources of the book original, but each discussion sheds new light on the cities described. To look at Verona, for example, in the light of the German presence there is as fresh as to look at Parma in the light of French responses to Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma. A new vision of the cultural history of each city emerges. The history of taste also gets its due. The book assembles reactions to monuments as varied as The Last Supper, Donatello's bronzes in Padua, and the mosaics of Ravenna.