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Holiday Reads - Books about Italy

Whether you are holidaying for work or pleasure, it is always nice to have a nice holiday read. You know, that pile of books that you earmark at home for lazy days ahead, wine in hand, sun beating down. If you fancy something Italian to read, something lighthearted and humorous then Beppe Severgnini is the author for you.

Signore Severgnini, a columnist for the 'Corriere della Sera', Italy's leading newspaper, and was a correspondent for 'The Economist'. His bestselling books take a humorous look at the cultural differences of Italians, Brits and Americans.

Holiday reads for dipping into a wealth of cultural observations will have you giggling because of the noticeable everyday habits that he lived and observed in each country.

Here are the top three recommendations to add to your list of holiday reads:

  1. 'Inglese' (1990) or 'An Italian In Britain'

  2. 'Ciao, America' (2002) or 'An Italian in America'

  3. 'La testa deglsi italiani (2005) or 'An Italian In Italy'

...Beppe had envied British journalists, as the sheer variety of sex scandals is quite wonderful. Italian politicians are the most boring in the world and if you do see them with a gorgeous brunette in intimate circumstances, you don't report it: it would only gain the more votes!

An Italian in Britain was written whilst he lived in Notting Hill, London. The book is brimming with his fascinating episodes of British life. Of more interest however on your Italian holiday, the third book listed - 'An Italian In Italy' . He is able to make fun of his own countrymen, 'An Italian In Italy' will leave you in stitches for its frank and detailed analysis of Italians in various cities, from the Milanese to Sardinians.

'La testa degli italiani (2005) or 'An Italian In Italy'

The inside cover shows a skillfully created map of words, making up the mind and face of 'an Italian'. 'Province of Pleasure' can be seen on the throat, 'Terminal of benign bureaucracy' located at the back of the head, leading a plane off high above the 'Foothills of Fickleness'.

Arriving in Malpensa airport, Milan, Mr Severgnini writes about the Italians preference to exceptions rather than the rules.

Being Italian is a full time job!

He writes from an honest point of view about the airport antics, before even getting onto the intricate ways of the Italians native to each city: Milan, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Sardinia, Crema and San Siro.

The 'Bella Figura' of Italian lifestyle in explained in a funny way - the giving off a 'good impression' in a range of different settings, from dress, to food and manners. Opposed to this, he humorously describes the opposite 'brutta figura' that actually comes off instead.

Italy is far from hellish. It's got too much style. Neither is it heaven, of course, because it is too unruly...

If you are looking for some simplicity and lightheartedness on your trip to Italy then pick up a copy of one of Beppe Severgnini's books, available online and all good bookstores. The main Italian bookseller is Feltrinelli and bookshops can be found in airports and all major cities.


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