From the list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history.
Who am I?
I’ve just spent the last few years writing Return to Valetto, about a nearly abandoned village in Umbria and the last ten people who live there. In 2018, I received an NEA grant to conduct research in Italy and I visited about a dozen abandoned and nearly abandoned towns all across Italy. While I was traveling, I immersed myself in books about Italy—from history and biography to memoir and fiction. The books on my list were stepping stones in my education about all things Italian and I hope you find them as transporting as I did!
Dominic's book list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history
Discover why each book is one of Dominic's favorite books.
Why did Dominic love this book?
In many ways, this sort of book has gone out of style since it was published in the 1960s.
It’s an opinionated and ambitious portrayal of the Italian psyche and culture. Barzini looks at his fellow Italians with a dispassionate eye and a healthy sense of irreverence, uncovering their foibles, hidden beliefs, superstitions, and great strengths as a culture.
For me, Italy is an eternal paradox. Just when you think you’ve worked it out, something happens that makes you do a double-take. This book helps you understand that paradox has been part of Italy’s identity since the very beginning.
Why should I read it?
2 authors picked The Italians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
In this consummate portrait of the Italian people, bestselling author, publisher, journalist, and politician Luigi Barzini delves deeply into the Italian national character, discovering both its great qualities and its imperfections.
Barzini is startlingly frank as he examines “the two Italies”: the one that created and nurtured such luminaries as Dante Alighieri, St. Thomas of Aquino, and Leonardo da Vinci; the other, feeble and prone to catastrophe, backward in political action if not in thought, “invaded, ravaged, sacked, and humiliated in every century.” Deeply ambivalent, Barzini approaches his task with a combination of love, hate, disillusion, and affectionate paternalism, resulting…