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Piazza, Italy's Heart and Soul Book Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


siena palio photo, siena flag waver photo, palio flag photo

Flag Waver at Siena Palio

© Joe Bauwens and Marybeth Flower, Used by permission.

The Bottom Line

Piazza: Italy's Heart and Soul is a beautiful coffee table book with 250 large color photos of squares, festivals, and people in 25 Italian cities and towns. In addition to the outstanding photos, towns are described and several of Italy's top festivals are highlighted.

If you're looking for a gift for someone who loves Italy, this is a fantastic choice.

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  • Beautiful Color Photos
  • Great Gift Book or Coffee Table Book
  • Highlights Piazze, Festivals, and People


  • Book is Heavy


  • Coffee table book with large color photos of Italian squares, festivals, and people.
  • Includes 250 photos of 25 towns in 11 of Italy's regions.
  • Several of Italy's top festivals are highlighted through photos and descriptions.

Guide Review - Piazza, Italy's Heart and Soul Book Review

In Piazza: Italy's Heart and Soul, photographers Joe Bauwens and Marybeth Flower realize their dream by creating a beautiful photo essay about piazza life in Italy. It's amazing to me that they became photographers later in their lives with the purpose of creating this book. The photographs are very professional and beautifully illustrate the role of the piazza in Italian life.

In addition to photos of squares in each town there are also photos of people, places, or summer festivals in the town. There's a brief introduction to each town and an Italy map showing the town locations. Festival descriptions are interesting and often include a look at the festival's history and people in costume for the festival. The Palio of Siena, one of Italy's most know festivals, is well documented.

Photos are from diverse towns and cities, giving a good overview of Italy. Locations include Italy's top three travel cities (Venice, Florence, and Rome), towns on the coast, and a few lesser-known towns in northern Italy near the borders. You can see a few of Joe and Marybeth's photos in Siena Palio Photos.

Piazza: Italy's Heart and Soul is a great coffee table book and has received an Independent Publisher award - Gold Medal Winner, Coffee Table Category. If you're looking for a gift book for yourself or someone else, this is a good choice.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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