References

Jones, Tobias
The Dark Heart of Italy
BookID 40298949
ISBN 0865477248
(see LibraryThing.com card)

Description (from Amazon)In 1999 Tobias Jones immigrated to Italy, expecting to discover the pastoral bliss described by centuries of foreign visitors. Instead, he found a very different country: one besieged by unfathomable terrorism and deep-seated paranoia. The Dark Heart of Italy is Jones's account of his four-year voyage across the Italian peninsula.

Jones writes not just about Italy's art, climate, and cuisine but also about the much livelier and stranger sides of the Bel Paese: the language, soccer, Catholicism, cinema, television, and terrorism. Why, he wonders, does the parliament need a ""slaughter commission""? Why do bombs still explode every time politics start getting serious? Why does everyone urge him to go home as soon as possible, saying that Italy is a ""brothel""? Most of all, why does one man, Silvio Berlusconi-in the words of a famous song-appear to own everything from Padre Nostro (Our Father) to Cosa Nostra (the Mafia)?

The Italy that emerges from Jones's travels is a country scarred by civil wars and ""illustrious corpses""; a country that is proudly visual rather than verbal, based on aesthetics rather than ethics; a country where crime is hardly ever followed by punishment; a place of incredible illusionism, where it is impossible to distinguish fantasy from reality and fact from fiction.
My review: 3.5/5If you are planning to live in Italy, no matter how long your stay, I strongly suggest this book to quickly get into the Italian mindset

But beware: you could get lost in the details- and this book is just a sampling of the mind-boggling history of intrigue

For a more historical perspective, up to the 1960s, see the reference to the ""History of the Italian people"" in my library :-) on social media
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