When the Autostrade del Sole extended south from Naples to the Reggio di Calabria, Morton seized the chance to explore a part of Italy comparatively unknown (as it still is) to travellers. From the mountains of Abruzzi he went to the 'heel' and 'toe' of Italy, with their memories of Magna Graecia; and he explored the undeveloped rivieras of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coastlines. Everywhere he went he found himself - characteristically - fascinated by the people, their folklore and traditions. In Cocullo he saw the local saint's statue carried through town, covered with living snakes; in Bari, he attended the annual feast where the statue of St Nicholas is taken out to sea for a day; and in the 'deep south', he found people who believe that a cure for being poisoned by the tarantula spider is to dance the 'tarantella' until they fall down exhausted. Lively, intimate, informative and personable, this, like all of Morton's books is travel writing at its very finest.
H. V. Morton (1892-1979) was one of the most popular travel writers of his time. After a brief period of military service he established a career as a journalist and became a reporter for both The Daily Express and The Daily Herald. H. V. Morton's debut as an author came in 1927 with In Search of England, a book that became a best seller. His genial writing style endeared him to the countless readers of the books he wrote about his travels around the British Isles, Spain, Italy and the Middle East between 1927 and 1950. In 1941 H. V. Morton accompanied the delegation which travelled to Newfoundland for the meeting between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill which established the Allied policy for post Second World War Europe, known as the Atlantic Charter. Morton was famously present at the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter and his team in 1922. After the Second World War, H. V. Morton emigrated to South Africa where he lived until his death in 1979.