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La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A jubilant celebration of Italy's outsize impact on culture, from literature to art, music to movies, that "masterfully examines the multitude of reasons why so many people fall in love with Italy and the Italian lifestyle" (Forbes)

Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato,
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Crown Archetype
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Joseph Spuckler
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, culture

La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World by Dianne Hales presents a nonscholarly look at Italy and its history and influence. Hales is the author of La Bella Lingua, a New York Times best-seller; Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, an Amazon best book of the year, translated into six languages; and more than forty trade and textbooks.

What makes Italy unique in a world of195 countries? Ask anyone of Italian heritage, and they will tell you. It is almost like the old Marine Corps maxim. Never ask a
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Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I’ve really grown to love reading travel novels because not only does it transport me into another world but it also teaches me about a culture, its traditions, and its people in such a lovely way.

La Passione is a wonderful comprehensive novel that examines different aspects of Italian culture, like religion, fashion, cinema, wine, food, cars, artists, etc. in each chapter. Not only does it talk about the passion of Italians whose optimism, spontaneity, and warmth never fail to leave me
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Literary Soirée
After Paris, Italy is next on my bucket list, and the author underscores just why in this gem of an Italian love letter, with one of the most spectacular covers I’ve seen all year!

Awarded an honorary knighthood by the Italian President, Hales proves the perfect tour guide as she writes about its food, fashion, art, literature, history, and culture in prose as lush as Italia itself. Brava! 5/5

Pub Date 16 Apr 2019.

Thanks to the author, Crown Publishing, and NetGalley for the review copy.
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Crystal King
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved Hales' other books and this one was no exception. As an Italophile myself I was drawn deep into her stories and found myself nodding at the experiences she describes, having seen much of this passione myself in the people of Italia. Hale takes you all over the country, sharing vignettes of the ways that Italians have been one of the biggest influences on our world in the realm of culture, art and beauty. If you are traveling to the country, this is a book you must read, and if you have ...more
Penny Cipolone
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
A very nice book about the Italian psyche and its tradition of developing "passions" about all the things we love about Italy. Hales discusses literature, cinema, fashion, cars, art, etc. This is a nice introduction to Italy for someone not familiar with its traditions and culture. I would have liked a bit more depth to some of the sections, but overall it was a good read.
Kathleen
In this engaging book, Hales explores nearly every inch of Italy in search of the ways Italians have created or inspired creation. From ancient Roman gladiators, to Sicilian ruins, to sustainable wine making or the joys of aged balsamic vinegar, we’re treated to historical gems as well as modern Italian craftsmanship. I kept looking up pictures of the things she mentioned, so I could see for myself the chapel of St. Francis, Bernini’s sculpture of St. Teresa, plus portraits of Enzo Ferrari, ...more
Pat Wiese
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having just finished Dianne Hales’s _La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World_, I still have a smile on my face and song in my heart!! This may seem cliche, but I can’t help myself—Dianne Hales’s excellent writing joined with her solid yet never stodgy research and, of course, her sincere and, yes, passionate love of Italy and Italians have together resulted in a book that reverberates with authenticity for those of us fortunate enough to have experienced the “Passione” of Italy and Italians ...more
Margo
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you love Italy—and if you don't love it now, you definitely will, after reading this engaging, vibrant tribute to Italy! Knighted by the President of Italy for her writing about Italy, author Dianne Hales describes the native, inherent passion of Italians—la passione italiana— as the source and nurturer of our civilization's love for art, music, architecture, cars, ceramics, sculpture, design, literature, film, food, and wine.
Where does one even begin in order to write about the profound,
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Cate
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is clear thatthe author it's truly passionate about Italy! I enjoyed the history and mythology the most and felt the book meandered a bit after the first quarter or so but that could have just been my lack of passion for the subject. It is a very broad look at the country and its culture. Not a memoir but written in that voice. I liked it.
William Giovinazzo
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dianne Hales has a unique ability to express in words the Italian essence. Just as in La Bella Lingua, she captures the Italian Spirit...For Italians, passion is the grist of life. Dianne gives new insights into how this passion has made Italians and Italian culture as wonderful as it is today. I couldn’t have enjoyed this book more.

I love this book & I love this author's works..
Daniel Kukwa
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Enjoyable for what it was, though some of it seemed a bit old fashioned in its reasoning (and certainly hetero-normative in its quick summations of Da Vinci & Michaelangelo under romantic passion). It's also not persuasive that the ancient Romans have that much of a direct link to modern Italians (as a history teacher, I find them to be two distinct worlds). Overall, I think it's just persuaded me that when it comes to cultural seduction, I'll take the French over the Italians.
Rita
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In her wonderful new book La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World, Dianne Hales describes how, many years ago, she was enchanted and seduced by Italy. And then she lovingly and compellingly strives to define and illustrate the essence of that seduction— how and why it happened to her, and how and why it has happened to hundreds of millions of us throughout time and all over the world.

Hales boils it all down to la passione italiana, that is, the unquenchable desire Italians have for reaching the
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Melissa Muldoon
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed “La Passione.” It reads like a primer of Italian art and culture—a compilation of stories—that spans the arc of time. In an almost Michener-esque way, the book begins with the formation of the peninsula when Italy was a “geologic frenzy” of convulsing and colliding, tectonic plates—lava boiling under the earth to create the mountains and plains and Sicilian islands. And then we are off on a journey—a brief history lesson from the mists of ancient times when Greek Gods first ...more
Savannah
Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza? The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian.

New York Times bestselling author Dianne Hales attributes these landmark achievements to la passione italiana, a primal force that stems from an insatiable hunger to discover and create; to love and live with every fiber of one's being. This fierce drive, millennia in the
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Ira Therebel
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not everyone will agree that Italy is the greatest country in the world but everyone will agree that it is one of the greatest. With a very exciting history and vibrant culture Italy has strongly affected the world in many areas. Art, food, fashion etc. It is definitely a very unique country and Italians are pretty special people, full of life and energy. Dianne Hales sees it as their passion and the reason why Italy influenced the world so much.

The book has a chapter for all the areas such as
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LillyBooks
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm not a believer in the central concept of this book (that Italy is that greatest country in the world) because I don't go in for such nationalism-by-proxy and also because we all know it's really France. But, regardless, one thing I am a believer in is loving something whole-heartedly and wearing that love openly on your sleeve and in your life.

This book is, appropriately, an open love letter to Italy. Each chapter reviews a certain aspect of Italian culture, the famous players involved, and
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Susan Liston
You know I knew going in this might activate my barf reflex, and I was right...here came this passage in particular:
"Dianne--wife, mother, journalist, serious and sensible---morphed into Diana, dancing barefoot under the Tuscan moon and delighting in everything....I became appassionata...taken by passion...I didn't fight this sweet seduction, I indulged it, embraced it, and delighted in it." Wait.. she already told us she was "delighting"..who says that twice in one paragraph??? I can honestly
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James Shaw
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Are you passionate about Italy?

Then Dianne Hales (author of La Bella Lingua) has written a book that will inspire you to give free rein to your passions. Italy is a land that gives rise to superlatives—only those who have not been to il Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country) will think of the adulation as over-the-top. If you’ve been to Italy you understand why authors have been writing glowingly of this country, this land, these people for centuries, for millennia.

Ms. Hales’s meticulously
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Christopher
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The subtitle is perfect: How Italy Seduced the World. The author, Dianne Hales, provides a multi-layered history of sensory-rich Italy. Boccaccio, Caravaggio, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante, Verdi, Petrarch, Francis of Assisi; Tuscany, Sicily, Florence, Venice, Naples, Bologna; pizza, chocolate, cheese, prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, pasta; and more--much more--are all here. It is about experiencing the cultural treasures of Italy. If this book doesn't inspire you to book a ticket at your earliest ...more
Samantha
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable light read about Italian social culture. However I think this book represents what Italy used to be. To it's credit, the book is filled with fun tidbits and introduces interesting lesser known people if you're of a younger generation like myself. Did I know the fabulous Fontana sisters before reading this book ? Nope. Now I do.
Ishita Sood
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dianne's new book "La Passione" is a book about the Italian passion. She captures the true spirit of Italy from her eyes and speaks of different ways in which La Passione drives this little country. Read more to find out about this wonderful book https://ishitasood.com/review-of-la-p...
Laura Schlosberg
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
A breezy journey about Italian history and culture tied together by the theme of passion. Kudos for including the women often overlooked among the pantheon of extraordinary writers, artists, and even race car drivers.
Kim
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Read it in tandem with a trip to Italy, and it very much enriched my time there! Now I have La Bella Lingua on my TBR list, too. Hales has a great way of weaving research and mini-biographies into a narrative.
Janet
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: italy, 2019
I was rather disappointed with this book. I was expecting it to be more about how Italian culture has spread around the world. Instead it’s more about famous Italians in all areas: art, music, fashion, cars, food, etc. And it seems to me like all the Italian guys are unfaithful to their wives!
Paula Schumm
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book from the library in preparation for a trip to Italy. Nonfiction. The author takes the reader through all of Italy with PASSION in mind: passion in art, music, food, culture. All the major cities are here, too. Recommended.
Donna
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully entertaining book!

Provided insight on the art, music, culture, history, food of Italy and how it affects the world. Great stories on selected topics that provide detailed stories of what happened and why it happened it Italy.

Bravo!
Kathryn
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is a love letter to all things Italian: architecture, history, art, food, clothing, people, music, literature, and life attitudes. It traces the history of many of these traditions from an outsider's perspective.
Janie
Sep 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very disappointing. Used the words La Passione Italiana as many times as she possibly could throughout the book as a filler. You won't learn any thing in this book. Waste of time.
brightredglow
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Did not expect to love this book. I expected to like it, but I ended up loving it.
Megan Mills
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully covers centuries of Italian history and culture and how the country has continually captured the attention of the world.
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76 followers
Ever since I was a girl, I had only one career goal: to write for a living. And so I have! I've written more than forty trade and textbooks and about a thousand articles for national publications.

Along the way I fell in love with Italian and wrote LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language, which became a New York Times best-seller and earned me the great
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“My favorite Etruscans, a man and a woman, recline in the form of a terra-cotta sarcophagus from the sixth century BC in the Villa Giulia, the National Etruscan Museum in Rome. With almond eyes, a narrow face, neatly trimmed beard, long braided locks, and powerful shoulders, he lies casually, naked to the waist, his arm around her shoulder. She, dressed in a flowing gown, with tiny feet tucked into soft slippers with pointed toes, pours perfume—a ritual act—into his hands.
I recognize the languorous look on their faces: utter postcoital contentment.”
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“The Renaissance extended the definition of la passione to an all-consuming dedication to a worthy pursuit, most often beauty in its infinite variety. Its passionate artists and artisans unleashed the greatest creative flowering the world had ever seen. A few centuries later the Romantics yearned to become impassioned and quiver with the intensity of their ardor. Jurists blamed “crimes of passion” on high-octane emotions that exploded into acts of unspeakable violence. [...]

Passion—and passion alone—lifts us above the ordinary. Without passion, there would be no literature, no art, no music, no romance, perhaps none of the wonders Italians have wrought. Beyond sentiment or emotion, la passione italiana qualifies as a primal force of nature that cannot be ignored or denied. “When a passion chooses you, there’s nothing else you can do,” says a friend whose family produces wine and olive oil in Umbria. “Whatever happens in your life, that fire inside you is always burning. You need to follow it. It’s like betraying yourself if you try not to, and the price for betraying yourself is very, very high.”
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