Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World” as Want to Read:
La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  39 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, gela
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Crown Archetype
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about La Passione, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about La Passione

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  39 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World
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 inspire
Literary Redhead
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. Opinio
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 b ...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. ...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 fir ...more
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, Fede ...more
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, o
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..
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
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
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. ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Oct 08, 2020 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 pers
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
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
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 m
Susan Liston
You know I knew going in this might activate my barf reflex, and I was 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
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 researche
Francesco Biondi
Nov 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Saying that I am disappointed would be un understatement. The breathtaking front cover's artwork is undoubtedly the best - and only - worthwhile thing in the book. The book is a half-baked hodgepodge of history, personal experience, hearsay etc. It's unclear whether the author intended this book as a memoir -- the narration is not nearly captivating enough, or an overly general introduction to the history and culture of Italy. Either way, the narrative lacks punch - to say the least, as a result ...more
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 ...more
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. ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this spectacularly sensual read as a Goodreads giveaway. The author strikingly and seamlessly blends Italy’s rich history and culture into a breathtaking journey through time and travel. It brings joy and fond memories to the reader who has been fortunate to visit and partake in the art, architecture, food, sight seeing, fashion, and shopping of Rome, Florence, and Venice.
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!
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.
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.
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. ...more
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.
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.

Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy
A fun and fascinating survey of Italian history and culture!
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.
Jul 20, 2019 added it
Did not enjoy
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy
  • Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way
  • The Lost Carousel of Provence
  • A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire, Volume I: From Beginnings to 1807: Portugal
  • The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump
  • Selected Non-Fictions
  • The Real Deadwood
  • The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg
  • Superlife
  • Нощ
  • The Lost Jewels
  • The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist
  • Лисицата
  • Blueeyedboy
  • A Dangerous Engagement (Amory Ames #6)
  • Royal Witches: Witchcraft and the Nobility in Fifteenth-Century England
  • Sulwe
  • She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild
See similar books…
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 h

News & Interviews

  Listen up, because our colleagues here at Goodreads have some excellent audiobook recommendations for you! Of course, the books they've...
15 likes · 12 comments
“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.”
“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.”
More quotes…