logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Italian Food Site

BellaOnline's Italian Food Editor

g

Italianissimo Book Review



Italianissimo, The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best, by Luise Fili and Lise Apatoff, is a pocket-sized hardcover book, published by The Little Bookroom of New York, and listed among the travel and guide books of the same publishing house. I recently found my copy in the books section of a trendy gifts and decorative items store, where the intriguing title on the red and white cover of this minute square book first caught my attention. A brief browse through the dazzling pictures and design of its pages was enough to wedge my heart and I decided to take it home.

Witty, informative and elegantly presented, within its small size (the book consists of about 100 pages) Italianissimo (literally very Italian) presents a colorful and unique digest of 50 iconic – and few unknown – symbols of Italian culture, spanning from pasta and the art of eating to the Fiat 500 and post World War II neorealist cinema.

The content of each section is written with great style and complemented by fascinating snapshots of real Italian life style related to the topic. The majority of the photos are unique prints coming from the Photographic Archives of Fratelli Alinari of Florence, the oldest company in the world operating in the photographic industry since its establishment in 1852. Some of the photos are also part of the private collection of Louise Fili.

The authors did a good job of choosing each of the subjects described, unfolding the basic symbols and elements of the Italian culture, without reducing these to a rehashed roundup of Italian stereotypes. Here is what I picked as my favorite chapters:

BELLISSIMO – Superlatives and Diminutives, is about the “Italian’s natural passion for exalting the topic at hand”, and how the significance of words and terms can be artfully heightened – or simply transformed – by extending words like bello (beautiful) to bellissimo (very beautiful), or casa (house, home) to casina (small house) or casotto (shed), this way making everyday small talks much colorful and attractive.

IL CALCIO – Soccer, on how kicking a ball or any other spherical object is part of the genetic code of any male Italian, and how during international championship games a unique sense of patriotism prevails over regional differences and distinctions. And I can testify by personal experience that in those occasions one goal into the net will bring sixty millions of Italian voices in a single laud “Forza Italia!”

IL MANGIARE – The Art of Eating, is probably my favorite chapter, in that clarifies how, factually, there is no such thing as ‘Italian cuisine’ per se, but rather an art and tradition of cooking which is distinguished by Italy’s regions (there are 20 of them, with 110 provinces) and based on each “…unique cultural influences, climates, and local ingredients.”, as the authors beautifully describe.

LA MODA – Fashion, is about the “effortless elegance” of the Italians and the success of the Italian fashion industry, based on “strong family tradition and pride in craftsmanship”. Mentioned here are some excellent fashion families, such as Gucci, Versace, Fendi, Missoni, Zegna and Ferragamo. But, to me, the authors should have left room also for names and families like Prada, Sorelle Fontana, Benetton, Trussardi, and – last and definitely not least – Bulgari, all important contributors of the success of Made in Italy and Italian fashion.

I could go on and on, but I want to leave to you the pleasure of discovering more. Italianissimo makes for a great original gift and it can be enjoyed by any reader – and armchair traveler as well – in the span of an afternoon. I recommend this book.




Note: this book is part of my own personal cookbooks and I was not compensated by the publisher for this review.
Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Twitter Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Facebook Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to MySpace Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Del.icio.us Digg Italianissimo+Book+Review Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Yahoo My Web Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Google Bookmarks Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Stumbleupon Add Italianissimo+Book+Review to Reddit




Williams-Sonoma Rome Cookbook Review
Giada's Kitchen Cookbook Review
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Italian Food Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Cinzia Aversa. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cinzia Aversa. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cinzia Aversa for details.

g


g features
Arrosto - Italian Pot Roast Recipe

Focaccia Red Onions, Olives and Rosemary

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi Recipe

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor