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Travel in search of the characters and places of the books we loved

A book is perhaps the most immediate way to begin a journey, second perhaps only to feet for walking.

Literary tourism has been with us forever, but today it is an increasingly sought-after way to immerse ourselves in the stories and worlds we have read about, following in the footsteps of the authors and characters who have made literary history. Literary tourism is a way to enrich your culture, stimulate your imagination, and experience unique emotions by getting in touch with places, traditions, and people who inspired fictional works or were inspired by them.

People go in search of authentic, engaging and personalized experiences. This is not a mass phenomenon, but a growing niche market that can also attract a young and dynamic audience, thanks to the spread of book-related festivals, events and initiatives that are still a driving force in keeping the minds of millions of people around the world buzzing.

The landscapes of the Mediterranean offer many insights, both for the richness of its history and literature and for its atmospheres. But beyond the landscapes there are the characters, invented and not, who have made immortal the pages of some authors who have lived, breathed, described and narrated those places.

Sicily is a land of writers that has given birth to great names such as Pirandello, Verga, Sciascia, Camilleri and Bufalino. These authors have masterfully recounted the reality, history and identity of their land, creating immortal works set among its villages, countryside, towns and coastline. One can undertake itineraries that include their house-museums, the places of their works but also by participating in cultural events dedicated to them. Imagine visiting the places of Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard, between Palermo and Santa Margherita Belice or the lands of Agrigento often the scene of Pirandello's stories.

Further north, Provence is a region famous for its charm and beauty, which has hosted and influenced artists such as Proust, Dumas, Mistral and Colette. These writers were able to convey in their words the color, scent and flavor of Provence, lovingly describing its landscapes, traditions and people. You can visit the castle of If, the island-prison where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned in Dumas' novel, or you can go to the island of Porquerolles, where Colette set her novel "La vagabonde."

The triumph of literary tourism, however, is perhaps Greece, the cradle of Western civilization and literature, which still retains traces of the myths, legends and classics that have marked world culture. These ancient texts still speak to us today with their wisdom, poetry and expressive power. Imagine what the archaeological sites that testify to the greatness and beauty of ancient Greece might have been like in their origin, following in the footsteps of Homer, Sophocles, and Plato. You can go to Delphi, the sacred place where Apollo's oracle, consulted by heroes and kings, was located. Or you can discover the theater of Epidaurus, the largest and best preserved theater of antiquity, where tragedies and comedies were performed.

Many places dedicated to hospitality have sensed the interest of this niche of travelers, and there are many activities related to this theme. Bookstores full of ideas to continue and enhance a trip, workshops dedicated to learning about the places and stories of writers, memorabilia.

And more and more destinations have perceived the value of writers who have forged cities, mountains, islands with their words, thus dedicating cultural festivals, reviews, tributes to the creativity and publications of these authors.

When you travel do you ever take a book with you? Would you ever go to visit a place in a story that particularly struck you through its pages?

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