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Dances with Luigi: A Grandson's Search for His Italian Roots
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Dances with Luigi: A Grandson's Search for His Italian Roots

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  82 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
In this spirited memoir, veteran TV journalist Paul Paolicelli does what many of us can only dream of--he picks up and moves to a foreign country in an attempt to trace his ancestral roots. With the help of Luigi, his guide and companion, he travels through Italy--Rome, Gamberale, Matera, Miglionico, Alessandria, even Mussolini's hometown of Predappio--and discovers the tr ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 10th 2000)
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Mar 13, 2012 Joyce rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book about Mr. Paolicelli's search for his roots. I had the honor of hearing Paul Paolicelli speak about his experience and I knew I had to read his book. Having grandparents who came to America from Italy, it was easy to relate to his frustrations, little triumphs and contact with family members that he did not know. It was also interesting to realize that many of us hold the customs of Italy so dear and pass these down to the next generation. His book is not just filled w ...more
Mike  Davis
Jan 17, 2015 Mike Davis rated it liked it
The author has published what is essentially a diary of his travels to Italy in search of his ancestors, and his grandfather in particular. He spent three years in and around Rome and his story is interesting in and of itself. Luigi is his in-country "guide" and occasional translator and the two of them interact as influenced by the search for records and places.

This is not a travelogue as such, nor does it spend a lot of time detailing scenery, although there are nice descriptions of both scene
Jan 16, 2016 V rated it really liked it
A very good book. I read it in small parcels because of my unfamiliarity with Italy - it took me a while to let all the names and places and events sink in. My husband's family name was mentioned in conjunction with the author's family name all throughout the book which was an extra special treat. I wish I had the kind of time and bankroll that this author has (had) in order to travel and resurrect family information. A very enjoyable read.
Aug 03, 2014 Maureen rated it liked it
Shelves: italy
I picked this book up on a whim from a display table at the library. As the granddaughter of an Italian immigrant, the author's journey to find the history of his own Italian ancestors interested me. I, too, lived in Rome while I was in college so I really enjoyed his descriptions of his encounters as an American living in Italy. I could relate to his experiences meeting his relatives as I traveled to Sicily, and later to Sardinia with my husband, to meet my extended family who had not seen any ...more
Oct 14, 2007 Willie rated it liked it
This account of an Italian-American journalist's impressively dedicated and thorough quest to find out about his Italian roots is pretty interesting in a lot of ways, especially in discovering some of the local truths and horrors of WWII fascist government and occupation, and the conditions of Southern Italy that have help contribute to long standing disparaging of southerners as a stupid, backwards people.
I wasn't that into his writing style, which struck me as too text-book how-to-write-a-mem
Jul 31, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
As a 3rd generation, half Italian-American, I enjoyed reading this story of the author's determined search for his roots in Italy. It made me want to write my own story.
Aug 13, 2013 Frances rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I loved it so much that I followed up with Paul Paolicelli's Under the Southern Sun which nicely explains to be from Il Mezzogiorno.

I highly recommend this to anyone considering tracing their ancestry back to the country of origin. This is for any person in the USA who may be a third or second generation of an immigrant family, I highly recommend this read. Lovely, loving and moving family story. Che Bella Storia!
Nov 24, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
The author goes back to Italy and tries to discover his Italian roots on both sides of his family. It is a fascinating voyage with very authentic portrayals of rural Italy and its customs and inhabitants, all of woven together with the family on the US side, which had lost contact with the Italian side. Well done.
Betty Sciulli rowley
Dec 07, 2012 Betty Sciulli rowley rated it it was amazing
This book is about my families homeland Gamberale Italy. I've actually emailed Paul before and he knows my uncles Michaelangelo and Valentino from Pittsburgh. Fantastic read and explains why many of our families immigrated from Italy before and after WWII.
Anne Cignoli
Sep 07, 2008 Anne Cignoli rated it it was ok
A friend of mine sent me this book in the mail because the name Bucci came up more than once. A great read for those wanting to learn more about their Italian roots.
Dec 04, 2010 Judy rated it liked it
Shelves: italy, non-fiction
This book is a autobiographical and tiringly self-focussed at times, but in the end I liked it and thought the author had grown because of his quest.
Sep 05, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
The author searches for his roots in southern Italy, recounting his experiences and the dozens of people he met along the way.
Mar 03, 2011 Jackie rated it it was amazing
great read about an American journalist moving to Italy to research his ancestral roots
Feb 11, 2009 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
This I read first. A genealogist's dream, and reality.
Mar 18, 2009 Carissa rated it liked it
I didn't finish this book. I just lost interest.
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