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T+L Reports: Italy By the Book

Two new books present tours of Italy that are as lovely in practice as they are in print. In Italy Out of Hand ($19.95, Chronicle Books), Barbara Hodgson shares mysterious and comic minutiae from her years exploring the idiosyncrasies of Italian culture; art director Louise Fili's slender Designer's Guide to Italy ($57.50, Darby Litho) is a stylish limited-edition scrapbook of the country's standout graphics, from sign typography to pasta shapes, and comes with a shopping directory. Taken together, these offbeat guides can help visitors find anything—even an antique reliquary (and the sordid tale behind it).
—XANDER KAPLAN

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