Bella Figura A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

ISBN-10: 0767914406

ISBN-13: 9780767914406

Edition: N/A

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Join the bestselling author of "Ciao, America! "on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors-- "la bella figura"-- and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self You won't need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini's fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his "Italia," you'll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although "La Bella Figura" will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: The highway: in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation-- Stop! An Italian red light doesn't warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection. The airport: where Italians prove that one of their virtues (an appreciation for beauty) is really a vice. Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model? That's the price of gazing upon perfection. The small town: which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living: " a congenial barber . . . a well-stocked newsstand . . . professionally made coffee and a proper pizza; bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone." The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a churchand the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen. As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that " has too much style to be hell" but is " too disorderly to be heaven." Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From saintliness to sexuality. This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy-- as Beppe says-- " can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes."
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Book details

List price: $15.00
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 6/12/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

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 the author of the international bestseller "Ciao, America!" He lives with his family in Crema, on the outskirts of Milan.

From Malpensa to Milan
The airport, where we discover that Italians prefer exceptions to rules
The highway, or the psychopathology of the stoplight
The hotel, where singular people are not content with a double room
In Milan
The restaurant, one way of sitting in judgment
The store, the field of lost battles
The nightspot, where foxes turn into peacocks
Still in Milan
The condominium, a vertical space for oblique obsessions
The eat-in kitchen, the nerve center of domestic counterespionage
The bedroom, the bathroom, and how hard it is to find a space of your own
Toward Tuscany
The train, where many talk, few listen, and everyone understands
The museum, beautiful women on the walls
Television, where the Semi-Undressed Signorina acquires a cloak of significance
In Tuscany
The countryside, where we show that Italians are the world's leading manufacturers of emotions
The Italian piazza, a tool with more cutting edges than a Swiss-army knife
The window, framing fantasies that are sometimes cut short by a shutter
In Rome
The bank, a confrontation of confidence and cold feet
The office, the opera house of orderly anarchy
The shopping mall, a taste of America delivered to your door
In Naples
The sidewalk, or on collective individualism
The automobile, and fumbling on the fold-down seats
The travel agency, where the nation flexes its flippancy and pampers its patriotism
In Sardinia
The waterfront, the convoluted charm of a liquid frontier
The beach, a bare outline
The garden, seclusion in bloom
In Crema
The barber, the newsstand, and the town as lifebelt
The monument. And yet it moves
School, the workshop where shared memories are made
From Crema to Malpensa, by Way of San Siro
The church, where we will ruminate on the moral menu
The stadium, notes on social gastroenterology
The horizon. In other words, give us back Columbus
Epilogue: A Letter from America
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