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Coffee, Chianti and Caravaggio: One Man’s Love Affair with La Bella Italia

by Robert Noble Graham

A masterwork of Italian rambling. Those who have rambled with Robert through Cuba and Spain already know what to expect, but Italy is more so. Robert rambles through great sites of Rome and Venice of course, but finding a special meal on the exclusive beach of Portofino or listening to woodworm digest a bed in the Chianti hills take a special mastery. Whether getting lost on the tourist road from Bologna or crossing to Capri with a Mafia don, Robert rambles through history, language and gastronomy as readily as the back streets of Naples for delight, color and discovery. Who did Caravaggio kill and who killed him? What did Tiberius get up to in Villa Jovis? Why are car crashes in Naples more democratic than anywhere else? How can one man who so easily loses himself when travelling be so good at finding unique, memorable companions? Sometimes alone, sometimes in company, Robert’s tales give you more color, romance and knowledge of Italy than many an expensive visit will provide. Whether you wish to laugh, marvel or learn, this book will meet the need.

Un Paese: Portrait of an Italian Village

by Cesare Zavattini, Paul Strand (Photographer)

In 1953 the renowned American photographer Paul Strand, who was then living in France, suggested to Italian screenwriter Cesare Zavattini that they do a book together about a small town in Italy, a town that would reveal the spirit of a people. Strand asked Zavattini to choose a village with the elusive “special quality” he sought. Zavattini knew just such a village: his own birthplace of Luzzara, in the Po Valley. The collaboration of these two remarkable artists resulted in the classic book Un Paese. Published in Italian in 1955, and now available for the first time in the English language, Un Paese captures in photographs and in spoken testimony the essential experience of daily life in Luzzara. It presents a series of intense portraits, graceful landscapes, and images of everyday objects. Paul Strand’s photographs are carefully distilled, deeply powerful; they contain the flavors and the rhythms of an entire culture crystallized in a single village. Zavattini successfully synthesizes text and image, aligning with the new cinematic trend of the day, a movement known as Neorealismo. Their Luzzara is an ordinary village, neither overly picturesque nor greatly unusual, yet it is a town sustained by a grounded humanity and a profound love for the land by its people.

Bologna Mia: Memories from the Kitchen of Italy

by Loretta Paganini

Loretta Paganini had the good fortune to be raised in Bologna, the kitchen of Italy, by two generations of Italian chefs. In Bologna Mia, she has gathered together over 90 of her family’s treasured recipes, each one evoking vivid memories of the kitchens she spent time in during her childhood. Each of these recipes comes with a story. Paganini shares with us her paternal grandmother’s famed pasta recipes (Paganini believes it was her magical tortelloni that helped her to charm her husband), the wisdom of her maternal grandmother’s delicate hands, and the recipes for her mother’s Cordon Bleu award-winning specialty pastries, tortes and appetizers…. The Bolognese are known for having a knack for taking simple ingredients and combining them to create uniquely flavorful dishes. In Bologna Mia, Paganini captures the exciting flavor of the Bolognese culture, the incredible flavor of its dishes, as well as the passion her family feels for food.

Top Ten Sights: Bologna

by Mark Jones (editor)

This is the ultimate guide to a fascinating city, giving you the background and history on the top ten attractions. We focus on the essentials; there are ten chapters of text, one on each attraction, all written by our team of experienced travel writers. With so many different monuments, historical sights, restaurants, shops bars and nightlife to see, make sure that you experience the best of everything Bologna has to offer, and don’t miss a thing – Top Ten Sights: Bologna is the only guide you need!

Not in a Tuscan Villa

by John Petralia & Nancy Petralia

What happens if you decide to make a dream come true? Newly retired and looking for more than a vacation, John and Nancy Petralia intrepidly pack a few suitcases and head to the “perfect” Italian city. Within days their dream becomes a nightmare. After residing in two Italian cities, negotiating the roads and healthcare, discovering art, friends, food, and customs, the Petralias learn more than they anticipate–about Italy, themselves, what it means to be American, and what’s important in life. Part memoir, part commentary, quirky and sincere, Not in a Tuscan Villa is about having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and do something challenging in later life. The adventure recaptures the Petralia’s youth, rekindles their romance–and changes their lives forever.