For centuries Italy has been the destination of a lifetime for an endless stream of travellers. This book - focussing on the experience of contemporary Australian intellectuals - explores an aspect as of yet scarcely studied within the global phenomenon of travel to Italy, and discovers an image of the country starkly different from the one that prevailed in previous writings. From the beginning of the 1990s onwards there has been a sizeable output of books by Australian writers set in or about Italy. After a meticulous examination of these works, Roberta Trape has selected and analysed those that she considers the most interesting examples of Australians' continuing fascination with Italy - works of Jeffrey Smart and Shirley Hazzard, and of Robert Dessaix and Peter Robb. Examining the ways the four authors describe Italian places, Imaging Italy looks into what it is that continues to attract Australian writers and artists to the country, and tries to detect new trends in their attitude towards it. The image of Italy that emerges from the most recent works is, no doubt, a superb picture - not flattering but certainly not false - of its contemporary times.