Visitors to the University of Otago central library can now
enjoy ''a regional romp through Italy'', without spending a
cent or even renewing their passports.
An exhibition, titled ''Viva l'Italia. A Regional Romp
through Italy'', began yesterday at the de Beer Gallery, in
the Special Collections section of the library.
The name Italy conjured up ''dreams and romantic longings'',
and places such as Florence, Venice and Rome were landmarks
of European history and civilisation, organisers said.
Dr Mark Seymour, a senior lecturer in the Otago history and
art history department who has a specialist interest in
Italian history, said the university library had
''surprisingly strong'' holdings of books on Italy, including
travel guides and histories.
The exhibition displays about 80 such books, including
guidebooks, ranging from a 16th-century work to a
recently-published book on the Mafia.
Italy was popular with New Zealanders, Dr Seymour said.
Many visitors went to Venice, Florence and Rome, but the
exhibition reminded people
there were many other interesting places in Italy , he said.
Special collections librarian Dr Donald Kerr said the
strength of the library's holdings of Italian books owed much
to the generosity of the late Willi Fels and to the poet and
literary editor Charles Brasch and Esmond de Beer.
The exhibition runs until September 5.