ITALY: Tip to Toe (Stan Walsh Travelogues, 90 minutes, 1992).
Viewers are given an extensive tour of Italy in this Stan Walsh video, complete with his humorous introduction. In addition to traditional city highlights, Walsh explores less-photographed places such as the southern toe and heel of this boot-shaped country.
The video moves south from the Alpine region, where there are panoramas of the Matterhorn, beautiful meadows, streams, waterfalls and lakes Como and Maggiore. There’s a stop at the Romeo-and-Juliet town of Verona, and a visit to pottery towns along the Brenta Canal and Po River.
In Venice, viewers tour sites including St. Mark’s Square, the Grand Canal and Florian’s Cafe before boarding a cruise ship that sails through the Strait of Messina and up the west coast to Livorno. From here, side trips include the beach resort of Viareggio, Pisa with its leaning tower and the Victorian spa of Montecatini.
Scenes in Florence include the shops on the Ponte Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria, the huge Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery.
The tour of Rome covers historical sites, fountains and piazzas and examines the Italian’s romance with watermelons and ice cream. In Naples, the visit concentrates on the royal palace at Caserta and the vast tobacco fields.
Continuing south along the beautiful Amalfi Drive from Sorento there are stops at the ancient Greek ruins at Paestum and the beaches and villages of Calabria on the toe of Italy.
Heading back north up the rugged east coast there are brief visits to Otranto, Brindisi and Alberobello with its strange cone-shaped homes.
Tapes are available from Stan Walsh Travelogues, 4215 Miraleste Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes 90274, (310) 831-5209. Price $29.95.
TOURING AUSTRALIA’S GREAT NATIONAL PARKS (Questar Video, Inc., 60 minutes, 1991).
Six of Australia’s national parks are visited in this beautifully filmed and well-narrated video. There’s spectacular scenery of alpine meadows, snow-covered peaks, arid plains, rivers, gorges, rain forests and coral reefs.
In Daintree River National Park, viewers travel through a lush tropical rain forest. Located on the northeastern coast of Queensland, it abuts the Great Barrier Reef.
Western Tasmania is seen as an inhospitable land and “true wilderness area” of gorges, forests and moors with a wide variety of flora and fauna and old aboriginal caves.
Kakadu in the Northern Territory is crocodile country and a paradise for birds. It’s also the site of 5,000 ancient rock paintings.
In the center of Australia is Uluru National Park with awesome Ayers Rock changing color as the sun moves.
Tapes are available from Questar Video, Inc. P.O. Box 11345, Chicago, Ill. 60611, (800) 544-8422. Price: $29.95.
MYSTERIOUS ORIENT (Rand McNally Video Traveler Collection, 40 minutes, 1992).
This is a trimmed-down version of producer Doug Jones’ “Portraits of the Great Far East,” edited for release by International Video Network for budget-minded viewers.
In the Hong Kong area (given the most attention), there are panoramic views of the city and harbor with its junks and ferries, crowded street scenes and curious shops. Also visited are Kowloon and the “floating city” of Aberdeen.
In Malaysia, viewers tour Kuala Lumpur with its mosques and British colonial architecture, rubber, tin and pewter industries, as well as the Batu Caves.
Sri Lanka offers scenes of Colombo and the ancient capital of Kandy with the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth and the noted Kandy Dancers.
The visit to India concentrates on the city of Madras. Viewers travel streets where sacred cows roam and observe daily rituals tied to the Hindu way of life. Final footage is of the Taj Mahal at Agra.
Tapes are available from International Video Network, 2242 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, Calif. 94583, (800) 669-4486, ext. 301. Price: $9.95.