Baroque Splendour (1950) and James Reynolds' Ireland (1953) were books that familiarized readers with Reynolds' ornate and intensely personal style that affords a close and necessarily leisurely view. In the same way, this is a dazzlingly colorful Italy steeped in history and legend, starting with the islands and then working north from Naples. It comes slowly into broad focus. Scenery and atmosphere are dominant. Described in heady, flowery prose often proving more of an opiate than a stimulant, it is nevertheless a product of a sharp observance that is loathe to let even the smallest thing- the wayside shrub, the light in a tiny restaurant- go unnoticed. The effect of people and history on place is another strong element. ""Herculanacum and Pompell Live Again"", ""Sirens Echos in Campania"", ""Legend Ridden Toronto""- these are chapter headings that give the clue to an interest deeply concerned with the cultural impact and probing for the heart of the splendour it produced. Definitely for particular tastes, this will be an overdose of candy for some, but a perfect diet for the Italian sweet tooth.