American Travel Encounters with Fascist Italy
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Popular travel writing is a key point of contact in the dialogue between cultures: a contested space filled by expectations, assumptions and projected self-images. This chapter explores in particular the question of how travel writing influences the construction of national identities by examining Italian identity in fascist Italy during the 1920s and 1930s through the prism of American tourism. It focuses on how the Italian government tourism office (ENIT) conceptualized and marketed a particular brand of Italian national identity to American travelers, and how American tourist guidebooks and student travel accounts in turn received and re-imagined the Italian identity that had been packaged for them.