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La bella figura : a field guide to the Italian mind

Author: Beppe Severgnini
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 2006.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
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  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Beppe Severgnini
ISBN: 9780307486875 0307486877
OCLC Number: 500923673
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Day 1: Malpensa -> 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 --
Day 2 & 3: Milan: The restaurant, one way of sitting in judgment --
The store, the field of lost battles --
The nightspot, where foxes turn into peacocks --
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 space of your own --
Day 4: -> 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 --
Day 5: 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 --
Day 6: 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 --
Day 7: 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 --
Day 8: Sardinia: The waterfront, the convoluted charm of a liquid frontier --
The beach, a bare outline --
The garden, seclusion in bloom --
Day 9: Crema: The barber, the newsstand, and the town as a lifebelt --
The monument. And yet it moves --
School, the workshop where shared memories are made --
Day 10: Crema -> Malpensa, via 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.
Other Titles: Testa degli italiani.
Responsibility: Beppe Severgnini ; translated by Giles Watson.

Abstract:

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 church and 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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