Travel: Brochures of the week

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The Independent Travel
I AM holding two brochures that couldn't be more dissimilar. One of them, Italian Chapters, has a section of a Renaissance masterpiece on its cover and a list of place names at the bottom that includes Capri, Florence and Venice. The other, Bicycle Beano, has a drawing of a bicycle and the words "totally brilliant cycling holidays" at the bottom.

The Italian Chapters brochure actually turns out to be a mere supplement - a footnote to its main brochure. Without further ado, therefore, it launches into "the properties". The brochure itself of course does not deign to include prices - to find that sort of vulgar information you have to consult an accompanying leaflet.

Despite my suspicion that these residences and apartments are palatial by anybody's standards, the pictures do not entirely bear this out. Considering that estate agents can make the council flats at the top of my street look like Amalfi villas, I find it surprising that a real Amalfi villa can come out looking reminiscent of the council flats at the end of my street.

I am only talking about the interiors, of course, which are always difficult to photograph. As for the exteriors, well, my local estate agent has never had to commission a photograph of a 20-metre pool overhung by pomegranates, so I've got nothing to go on. But I don't think anyone will confuse it with north London.

As for the Bicycle Beano, this brochure lends new meaning to the term "unpretentious". It actually comprises a single A3 sheet of paper folded into quarters, and it is not the sort of paper you are going to cut your fingers on either. There is not a photograph in sight, just a lot of friendly information about "beanos" (group bicycle rides) through the western side of Britain. Three-day holidays cost pounds 190 per person and, what's more, all that unseemly price information is right there on the page.

'Italian Chapters' 0171 722 0722

'Bicycle Beano' 01982 560471

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