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Blue Guide Budapest – Summer in Sicily – Travels in Transylvania – Lombardy & the Lakes – Recent articles


Blue Guide Budapest was launched last month with a garden party in leafy Buda. Budapest is an increasingly popular visitor destination and with good reason: the graceful sweep of the Danube, the unspoiled cityscape, intricate history and magnificent architecture can all be enjoyed amid atmospheric thermal baths, a kind summer climate and excellent wine. All of this--as might be expected--is fully covered in the Blue Guide, along with plentiful information on lesser-known areas of town which are rich in Roman remains, for example, or industrial heritage.

The guide is now available from all good bookshops and our website.

A regular summer initiative, the closure to traffic of one of the main bridges across the Danube (which is then given over to pedestrians and picnickers), is featured in this year’s Venice architecture Biennale. On our website we post regular articles about Budapest and reviews of exhibitions running in its museums and galleries. For a review of the excellent poster exhibition recently opened at the Hungarian National Museum, see here. Stanfords, the acclaimed and long-established UK travel booksellers, feature an article about Budapest and the Blue Guide on their website this month.


The first tranche of the manuscript of the new Blue Guide Lombardy, Milan & The Italian Lakes has reached our editorial offices. Work on the guide will continue throughout the summer and early autumn and we will have more news about its progress in our September newsletter. Meanwhile, we have posted some articles about the region on our website, including this review of a Titian exhibition in Brescia, still on show until the end of this week. The image shown above is part of the Cupid and Psyche cycle in Palazzo Te in Mantua, showing part of an extravagant banquet, with a golden pitcher about to be filled from an enormous wineskin. These are of the most extraordinary frescoes in the palace, all by Giulio Romano’s own hand. Illustrating the Story of Psyche as told by Apuleius, they reflect Federico Gonzaga’s own particular tastes. A frieze bears the legend: ‘Honesto ocio post labores ad reparandam virt quieti construi mandavit Federicus Gonzaga II’. Here, in other words, the duke planned to come to regain his strength in quietude after his labours. Quietude is not precisely what the frescoes promise.


Travels in Transylvania: The Greater Târnava Valley has just gone into its second edition. It is now at the printer: publication will be comfortably in time to coincide with the third edition of the Transylvanian Book Festival, which will be held in mid-September. The second edition of Lucy Abel Smith’s guide to the valley of the Greater Târnava river, an area of Transylvania traditionally inhabited by German-speaking Saxon communities, has been fully updated and contains a new chapter on the beautiful town of Sibiu as well as coverage of two village churches with medieval fresco cycles, one of them only recently discovered.


If you are planning to visit the island this summer, Blue Guides author Ellen Grady has some updates on the city of Syracuse, where work is ongoing at the superb Archaeological Museum. And if you are wondering what to bring back home (carefully packed in your suitcase—it can’t go in hand luggage unfortunately), what better than the fabled honey of Hybla?.


Reviews of books and exhibitions and articles about antiquities, monuments, works of art and beautiful landscapes in places covered by our guides. All are written by our authors, editors and contributors.

Builders of Budapest

“Those who Built Budapest” is the title of an absorbing one-room exhibition currently on show at the Budapest History Museum (in the ex-Royal Palace on Castle Hill) and prolonged until September. Read more »

Good news from Florence

It is well known that the famous Medici and Lorraine collections are housed in various museums in Florence, not just in the Uffizi and Pitti galleries (recently re-united under one director). Read more »

The Zeugma Mosaics Saga

Visitors to southeast Turkey will be familiar with the ‘Gipsy Girl’, the portrait of a young lady (actually a maenad, one of the frenzied followers of Dionysus) exhibited amid tight security at the Gaziantep Museum. Read more »

Heroism on the Danube

The name of Raoul Wallenberg is well-known in Budapest today: there is a street named after him; two statues stand to his memory; and there is a general awareness that he was a brave individual, a Swede honoured as Righteous Among the Nations for his resistance to Nazi genocide. But who was he more exactly? Read more »


As ever, thank you to all those readers who have sent us comments and feedback on our titles, as well as helpful updates. You can see all of these on our comments page. Please do keep sending us your thoughts. As always, we reward all constructive contributions with the offer of a free Blue Guide.


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"designed for the traveller
who desires to understand more fully what he or she sees"

Stuart Rossiter, Blue Guides editor-in-chief 1963-1973

The BLUE GUIDES have been published continuously since 1918. They maintain their comprehensive focus on history, art, architecture and, where relevant, archaeology, with illustrations to inform rather than to decorate: award-winning maps, diagrams, floor plans, architecture details and photographs. They contain selective listings of restaurants and accommodation informed by the belief that good practical recommendations will contribute to the visitor's enjoyment.

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