From My Tuscan Window

Required Reading
Remember those days back in college when on the first day of class the professor handed out a huge list of boring tomes that were said to be required reading? And, since final exam questions were typically taken from the most esoteric and erudite portions of each book. Students could fail the course unless they thoroughly digested each and every page.

Well, you are in great luck having chosen this book to read because it is I who have struggled through multitudinous volumes, some written in archaic Italian, and boiled them down into what hopefully you will find to be enjoyable and entertaining.

Your required reading, without fear of a test at the end of the course consists of only a very few volumes which will give you further insight into the rich history of Lucca and the Garfagnana and how that history affected and touched the lives of the Giovianini in so many ways over the course of the millennia.

Reading the TUSCANY Michelin Guide is an excellent way to get a broad overview of Tuscany and also to help you determine which parts you would like to see most while making day trips from Gioviano and vicinity. Michelin Guides are available in almost any large bookstore in the States.

DISCOVER GARFAGNANA by Vittorio Verole-Bozzello and published by Grotta del Vento publications is an introduction to the Garfagnana, its traditions and its villages. The Grotta del Vento can be reached at

The two guidebooks by Giuseppe Moriconi are also extremely good to own, if just for reference. There is considerable overlap between the two so if you just get one, I would suggest LUCCA, A STROLL AROUND THE PROVINCE, instead of PROVINCE OF LUCCA AND SURROUNDING DISTRICTS, if only because the first one has an index of towns that includes Gioviano. Moriconi publishes these guides himself. He can be reached at Incidentally, these guides are bilingual which means that you can practice learning Italian by reading the English first and then attempting to read the Italian. Rather than having to look up zillions of words individually in an Italian-English Dictionary, you can just flip over to the English translation to figure out the meaning of the Italian words. You’ll probably be fluent within a few days. LOL.

John Jones’ bilingual book, HISTORY OF LUCCA / STORIA DI LUCCA is a masterpiece! Actually, this is the only one of the so-called “required reading” that I feel to be essential in understanding the very complex history of Lucca without having to wade through the umpteen tedious publications in the BIBLIOGRAPHY section below. The publisher can be reached at This book makes learning to read Italian even easier than the Moriconi books because the pages in Italian are directly opposite the same page in English. Happy reading!

Revised March 3, 2008
Copyright 2005-2006 George H. Russell
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