The hedonists of the Roman Empire knew how to enjoy life! Opulent banquets stuffed with food, followed by symposiums at which, with the excuse of engaging in intellectual activity, the Romans drank the night away. The orgiastic parties in the honor of Dionysus and Bacchus – there is a reason they were called the gods of wine – took place in the most relaxing of places, the baths. The Romans have much to teach. We are a population of navigators and poets, but also a population of revelers and fun-makers. And we readily take their lessons to heart.

Fun and pleasure can be the spice of life, if taken in good taste at the right moment and place, and with the right companions.

It’s difficult to satisfy every need, every taste, every humor. It’s difficult to find a restaurant that has the right mix of good food, good service and the right atmosphere. It’s difficult to find a dance club without psychedelic deco and music, where one can talk as well as dance. It’s difficult to find those unusual places where one can have a memorable, exciting evening. Not because they don’t exist – they do! Laziness, lack of time, lack of curiosity and affection for the usual hang-out have us returning again and again to the same old places. Therefore, even if a good part of fun comes in the preparation, let’s trust ourselves to someone who’s done the hardest part of the work for us – the research.

The “Guide to Pleasure and Fun” is the fruit of long, detailed research. The author of the guide, Roberto Piccinelli, a graduate in jurisprudence, journalist and writer, has a certain familiarity with good times. He dispenses particulars, suggestions and comments – always useful and intriguing – about interesting and stimulating places. The ample selection of Piccinelli runs a wide gamut: the hotel with musical rooms (Champoluc – AO); the erotic “tuca-tuca” (Lodi); the pizzeria in the floating market (Ferrara); the nuraghe show (Urzulei – NU); the restaurant with the hypnotist (Mantova); a drink amongst cacti (Ischia – NA); the hotel with the Stress-O-Meter (Merano – BZ). Then there’s “Airpark”, a pizzeria in an airplane in a park that also contains 6 other machines owned by Clark Gable (Loreto); “Schloss Labers”, a castle/hotel with a somewhat cloak and dagger atmosphere that recalls the false money that was made here during the Second World War (Merano). “Etruscan Chochotel” – the name itself is a promise of gluttony – is a hotel made into the appetizing shape of a chocolate bar, like those of the houses of Hansel and Gretel (Perugia).

The “Guide to Pleasure and Fun” contains 2000 of such suggestions, from the fanciful, to the bizarre, to the just plain fun, from all over Italy. In fact, it was for the Italians that Roberto Piccinelli went on the hunt for the temples of hedonism, pleasure, and good eating.

In this fourth edition, the Guide has a whopping 800 new entries taking their place among the those that, for their originality and success, remain from the last edition. In fact, originality and clientele are two of the elements that go into qualifying an entry, as well as atmosphere and service, ranked on a scale of 1 to 5.

There’s more than just good eating and drinking, as well. Fun doesn’t just come at night, it happens all day long – in the pub, the restaurant and at the local sandwich shop.

GUIDA AL PIACERE E AL DIVERTIMENTO 2001 (The Guide to Pleasure and Fun)
by Roberto Piccinelli -Graffiti Edizioni-
448 pages -2000 listings – £ 28.000
published annually