You may want to do some background reading before the trip. Here is a short list of some of the books we have enjoyed.
Lonely Planet: Southern Italy
Not terribly exhaustive, but perhaps the best of the pack
The Blue Guide to Southern Italy
Only brief on many of the places we visit
Non Fiction: Travel, General Interest
Christ Stopped at Eboli, Carlo Levi
Carlo Levi was from a distinguished Jewish family in Turin. He was a painter and writer, who had trained as a doctor. His political activism against Mussolini led to his enforced exile in South Italy in 1935-36. He was shocked, bewildered, and fascinated by the strange country and its inhabitants. He wrote his book in 1945 after the war it came to play a big part in the debate about the ‘problem’ of the Mezzogiorno. We will visit Aliano, where he was exiled and where he is buried.
Old Calabria, Norman Douglas
The old reprobate Douglas had a popularity between the World Wars for his novel set on Capri, South Wind, and for this 1915 account of his travels in Calabria. The style of the writing is an acquired taste, but he does visit lots of the places we are going to and gives a rather sentimental view of the region and its poverty at the beginning of the 20th century.