A journey across the country to discover the simple houses and splendid royal palaces chosen from amongst the many stately homes and mansions Italy has to offer. Houses selected not only for their beauty or the fame and importance of their inhabitants, but because they tell a story - always different, always captivating. The house museums illustrated in this book are divided according to type (Houses of famous people, Collector's Houses, Houses of "Beauty", Houses that have witnessed historic events, Houses chosen by a community, Stately Homes, Royal Palaces and places of power, Houses of the Clergy, Ethno-Anthropological Houses). There is a different itinerary for each house, giving the visitor an insider's guide to Italian culture, its arts, crafts, music and poetry as well as its gastronomic traditions and art of living. The book not only suggests a new way to visit these museums - which increasingly meet and satisfy the new expectations of a growing and varied public - but it also gives the reader a tool to make their own tourist itineraries far from the madding crowd. Rosanna Pavoni graduated in History of Art and up to 2002 was the Director of the Bagatti Valsecchi House Museum in Milan. She is one of the founders and President of the International Council of Museums/ICOM. She has curated their publications and was the initiator and promoter of the international study on different types of house museums around the world. She teaches Museology at the Insubria University in Como.