The same team that brought us the small but perfectly
formed Civilized Shopper’s Guide to Florence now brings us an
alphabetical guide to all things Italian.
From the A of aceto balsamico to the V of vespa,
this gorgeous little hardback has a classy 1920s look, each double-page spread
introducing a different element of Italian culture with a short explanation
alongside bright, appealing and often vintage photos.
The authors manage to see old favourites like il
caffè (coffee) and la famiglia (family) through fresh eyes and thus
avoid any tired and patronising stereotypes.
What makes this book really stand out is that it
sparkles with so many overlooked elements of life in Italy: the crucially
important mezzaluna (dicer); why you should never leave a shop without lo
scontrino (receipt); and the upside of that fateful Italian word chiuso (closed).
There is also practical information
although the focus is definitely on culture and the tone is light and fun.
Some may scoff at what appears an attempt to sum up
Italy’s vast culture in 51 short chapters, but this book doesn’t claim to do
anything of the sort. Rather, it pays homage to Italy and does so in a stylish
and eclectic way, making the country’s icons burst with life. In short, this
sleek and sassy guide to Italian culture fa molto bella figura.
Don’t miss co-author Lise Apatoff at the Italianissmo book launch at the Paperback Exchange (via delle Oche, 4) on Thursday, October
9, at 6:30pm.