La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind, Review submitted by Susan Willey Spalt
La Bella Figura Field Guide to the Italian Mind is a fascinating exploration of Italian life as told by an Italian author as he takes his readers on a ten day “tour of Italy.” Severgnini is also the author of Cioa America, which humorously chronicles his family’s time in Washington, DC.
Severgnini’s observations are as funny as they are true. The quirks and glories of Italia are explained: Why it is immoral to drink cappuccino after 10 AM; why one never puts cheese on clam sauce; why one does not eat meat and pasta in the same course. He also explores such topics as the art and confusion of Italian conversation, Italian holidays and the perils of Italian traffic.
If you have spent time in Italy you will find yourself shaking your head and laughing at familiar experiences encountered by all who visit there. If you are new to Italy this book will help prepare you to see Italy as more than a cultural and somewhat entertaining movie set with beautiful scenery and charming, if confusing, people.
This book is an entertaining explanation of why, when visiting Italy, the country side and the ruins are only a small part of the reason for going.