Italy by Car, Boat, Pen, and Paper

Bon Appétit never shies away from running decadent lifestyle porn disguised as food and/or travel stories. But the magazine deserves credit this month for running decadent lifestyle porn reinvented as a cartoon essay about traveling and eating in Italy.

The story’s pretty standard: Blah blah Florence, blah blah lampredotto, blah blah baby scallops, blah blah the Ferrari of boats in Venice that you, the reader, will never get to ride on even if you make it out to Italy. But the thing that sets “So, What Should We Eat?” apart is the elegantly witty art by New Yorker cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto.

Her cartoons—lively blasts of bright colors and clean lines—turn a more-Italian-than-thou travelogue into an enjoyable romp through the thigh-high patent leather boot that is Marchetto’s illustrated Italy. The relative success of the medium of cartooning with this type of cushy Continental travel story raises an interesting question: What if Saveur gave this sort of visual storytelling a shot?