"A charming narrative and "pop historical" look into how Italy has shaped the Western world's most vibrant passions, from literature to love, music to art, food to wine"--
What makes Italian passion so undeniably unique? Dianne Hales unspools the answer to this question with gusto in La Passione- How Italy Seduced the World, her ambitious follow-up to La Bella Lingua- My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language. Whether they built aqueducts, chiseled arches, conducted choirs, directed movies, raced cars, or designed fashion and furniture, Italians have done so with a full-hearted zest that transforms everything they touched. What didn't exist, they invented- the first universities, public libraries, and law and medical schools; the first modern histories, satires, and sonnets; the battery, barometer, radio, and thermometer-even the gift of music. Dante and Petrarch, titans of the Italian language, translated their fervid love for idealized muses into literary landmarks. Michelangelo carved a Bacchus so sinuously delectable that a Florentine sniped, "Buonarotti could not have sinned more with a chisel." Puccini swept listeners, in a biographer's words, "into that place where erotic passion, sensuality, tenderness, pathos, and despair meet and fuse." La Passione traces this earthly, earthy drive back to its roots, follows its course through the centuries, and chronicles its impact on the realms of literature, art, music, cuisine, and style, as its people came to embrace, fully and deeply, a passion for life itself.
Combining her adroit journalist's eye with extensive research, Hales delves into passions of the heart, senses, and soul across the ages in this perfect read for the casual Italophile, inquisitive tourist, or history buff in your life.
DIANNE HALES is a journalist and author of books on Italian culture, most recently Mona Lisa- A Life Discovered and Crown's La Bella Lingua- My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language. Her website and blog, Becoming Italian Word by Word, has been honored as the best blog on Italian culture in an international survey, and has more than 1.3 million visitors. Hales lives in Marin County, California, with her husband.
"What would we do without Italy and the treasures she has given to the world? Thank God we won't have to find out. Dianne Hales exquisitely reveals how the passion of Italians--ancient and modern, famous and anonymous, unwavering even in the most difficult of circumstances--has given birth to an explosion of art and innovation unlike any other culture. Hales captures the spirit of Italy and makes us more grateful than ever for its ardent creators. La Passione takes us on a journey that you simply won't want to end." --Kathy McCabe, host of Dream of Italy on PBS "In this inquisitive celebration of the Italian spirit, Hales traverses the country, exploring its history and culture. . . . The chapters on food will delight readers. . . . Sure to inspire many vacations, this volume shows Italy's many contributions to the world and captures the essence of the very things that make it such a wondrous place." --Publishers Weekly
"[Hales's] love affair with Italy shines through as she recounts the histories of colorful characters who made their names through war, art, food, wine, music, and more. She brings the reader with her to experience the country's long-lasting traditions and the people whose dedication keeps that legacy alive today. . . . Frothy as a cappuccino and rich as tiramisu, La Passione is a delightful excursion into the heart of Italian culture." --Booklist
"Hales brings the sights and sounds of Italy to life with beautifully told stories of the passion that has permeated the country from its earliest recorded history to the present. . . . [She] successfully captures what it means to experience Italy and to be Italian, regardless of one's background. . . . Italophiles will relish the depth and breadth of this delightful book." --Library Journal
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