If the new Michelin paperback, Wine Trails of Italy, were to be rated with Michelin stars, it probably wouldn’t get all that many. Oh, the cruel irony.
The book, an overview of Italy’s 20 major wine regions, offers 125 itineraries of where to go on the trails of wine country. At least that’s what the press release would have us think.
I have reviewed the book and am disappointed that it doesn’t have a more regimented “follow this route” editorial approach, as one might expect from a reference book billed as being filled with “itineraries.”
In fact, the book isn’t so much a “Where To Go Planning Guide” for your next wine trip to Italy as it is a “What Do I See Now That I Am Here?” guide.
There is good color commentary on towns, sights, and 750 wineries worth visiting; winery phone numbers are given, which is a great help for making reservations. For this reason alone, I would suggest buying the book to take on any trip to Italy on which you anticipate getting out into the countryside to visit local wineries.
But aspects of this travel book are exasperating:
+ Not every one of the regions is illustrated with a map. Would have been nice.
+ On occasion, maps are spread across double pages and we lose details in the thick binding of the 520-page volume.
+ Why, oh why, did they lay a grape-purple color over some of these maps, making it difficult to see city names and places of interest?
+ Do we really need Michelin advertisements spread throughout the book?
Michelin’s famous “tire man” became known as Bibendum, linked as he was to this Latin phrase in early tire advertisements such as the one above from 1898.
Three researchers traveled around Italy for a year, compiling data for this book. If anything, theirs is a companion piece, meant to enhance and complement two other Michelin works on Italy – the venerable 1400-page Michelin Red Guide to Italy and the more casual, travel-focused, 600-page, Michelin Green Guide to Italy.
Michelin’s Wine Trails of Italy is priced at $22, but is $16.32, substantially less, at amazon.