Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America! on a lively tour of modern Italy that sees behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors (la bella figura) to its maddening, paradoxical true self.
You won't need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini's fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you'll need to forget about your Italy of travel-agency posters. Although La Bella Figura will take you to big cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: the chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium, and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building, and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen.
Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From the sheepfold of morality to the televisual zoo. This ironic, methodical and sentimental examination will help readers understand why Italy-as Severgnini says-"can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes."