Terra Cognita : Dispatches from an Over-Traveled Italy

Twenty-seven years in the making, Terra Cognita chronicles the author’s continual travels-and problematic (if still, at times, ecstatic) encounters-in the “bel paese.” Across nine richly evocative essays, Chad Davidson investigates the seemingly never-ending fascination that travelers have with Italy. As much a meditation on what home and away mean as it is a travel memoir, Terra Cognita finds literary predecessors such as Dante and Italo Calvino crowding in alongside more accustomed sights from travel shows, Hollywood films, and tourist guides. Though each essay departs from a particular location in Italy and remains rooted in the author’s own history there, the book ultimately becomes less about those places and more about the placelessness any such journey can engender, how-even after flying across an ocean and landing in a foreign country-we are still hopelessly and fully ourselves.