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Is There an Italian Equivalent to "The Bonjour Effect" and "They Eat Horses, Don't They?"

On a related thread, several of us were discussing books that educate us about the French character, and teach us ways to better enjoy our visits to France. The books listed above, as well as a couple of others, were suggested as being useful, informative, and entertaining.

Since we are going to Italy this summer, I wondered if anyone has any suggestions about similar books dealing with Italy? Something to help with proper etiquette, suggestions for good conversation topics, and warning us what topics we should steer clear of?

Check out the thread dealing with France in this section of the Forum: " 'The Bonjour Effect' and 'Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong'" to see what I mean.

Any suggestions?

Posted by
6353 posts

I've not read this book myself but it has been recommended to me: "La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind" by Beppe Severgnini.

Posted by
6064 posts

Perhaps we can persuade Roberto to write such a book.

I read La Bella Figura a few years ago. It was very amusing. I did a Search and noted that its on Rick's list of recommended books and films that is in the link under "Explore Europe" and then "Italy" and "Plan" on this page. I did not know that link was there - worth knowing.

Posted by
4649 posts

Thanks, Nancy, for the recommendation; I'll start looking for the book.

And Stan, thanks for the link. It sounds useful.

Posted by
12365 posts

I have enjoyed both of Beppe's book and just started "The Italians" by John Hooper---he spent 15 years as a foreign correspondent in Rome, and writes very well.

Posted by
4649 posts

Okay, our local library doesn't have "La Bella Figura," but I just ordered it from Inter-Library Loan. And it does have Hooper's book, so I just ordered it, as well.

Thanks, Lola, and others. Isn't preparing for a trip wonderful?

Posted by
6353 posts

I do agree Jane. In fact I'm going to get it from my library and read it now (La Bella Figura) even though I have no trip to Italy planned. But one never knows.