Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Italian Fantasy

A sequence of poetry, prose and music inspired by travellers to Italy.

Actors Emily Bruni and Benedict Cumberbatch read poetry, including works by Byron, arch-Italophile Robert Browning and EE Cummings, who depicts numberless hordes of tourists to Italy clutching cameras. With prose from Henry James, explaining Wordsworth's enthusiasm for a particular Italian pine tree, cookery writer Elizabeth David on white truffles and American writer Eleanor Clark, who found the fountains of Rome surprisingly shocking.

The music includes Berlioz's Harold in Italy inspired by Byron, Bob Dylan's When I paint my masterpiece, Respighi's depictions of the pines and fountains of Rome and the vocal sound of the Italian trallalero team Vagabondo.

Release date:

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Sat 1 Aug 2009 18:00

Books website

Books home

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.