La Bella Figura
By Beppe Severgnini
WATCHING THE ENGLISH for the Italians... an affectionate, witty guide to Italians at their most enchanting and infuriating
'First of all, let's get one thing straight. Your Italy and out Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, white wine and raven haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. It's alluring but complicated. In Italia you can go round and round in circles for years. Which of course, is great fun.'
Beppe Severgnini was The Economist's Italian correspondent for ten years. A huge Anglophile as well as an astute observer of his countrymen, he's the perfect companion for this hilarious tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors - la bella figura - and uncovers the far more complex, paradoxical true self. Alongside the historic cities and glorious countryside, there'll be stops at the places where the Italians reveal themselves in all their authentic, maddening glory: the airport, the motorway and the living room.
Ten days, thirty places. From north to south, from food to politics, from saintliness to sexuality. This witty and beguiling examination will help you understand why Italy, as Beppe says, 'can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred metres or ten minutes.'
Beppe Severgnini is a columnist for Italy's largest-circulation daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera and covered Italy for The Economist from 1993 to 2003. He is also the author of the international bestseller Ciao, America! Beppe lived in London for more than fifteen years and is a self-confessed Anglophile. He now lives with his family in Crema on the outskirts of Milan.
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- Publication date:
26 Jun 2008
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'A keen observer of human nature, he watches his compatriots with amused insight... Laugh-out-loud funny.' — International Herald and Tribune
'A luscious disquisition on the Italian national character' — The Washington Post