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Why I Wrote LA PASSIONE

In the gleaming kitchen of her culinary academy in Florence, I  once asked an architect-turned-chef-turned-restaurateur about the passions that had  changed her life: How did she know that she was choosing the right one to follow? “Ah, signora, we do not choose our...

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What do you say when Italians wish you “good luck”?

A guest post by Lucia de Zuani "In bocca al lupo" (in the wolf’s mouth) is a typical way that Italians wish someone "Good luck!"  How should you respond to this augurio? Some say you should reply “Crepi!” (He can die!).  Others suggest “Grazie!” Both are correct, but...

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March News from Dianne

“Imagine a world without Italy: Painting without Leonardo. Sculpture without Michelangelo. Literature without Dante. No Verdi choruses or Puccini arias. No Fellini films or Ferrari roar. Heavens uncharted, vines unplanted, tables bereft of pasta, pizza, and a Sicilian cake so divine that its bakers swore it could make the dead breathe again.”

This is how LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World  begins.  

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Four Passionate Italian Women Artists

Italy’s dazzling pantheon of artistic geniuses seems a man’s world. Yet as I discovered in researching my upcoming book, a few women with singular passion defied all obstacles and created important works of art. As a way of celebrating International Women’s Day,here are four artists whose stories I recount in LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World:

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Crazy March in Italy

Marzo (named for Mars, the god of war) has always had a reputation for being pazzo (crazy). Someone who seems unpredictable and impulsive is said to be nato di marzo (born in March). Sole di marzo, onda di mare, pianto di donna: non ti fidare, Italians caution. (March sun, ocean wave, woman’s crying: don’t trust any of them.)

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Carnevale in Venice

On a chilly night in February, a gigantic silver balloon rises above a Venetian canal like a moon lassoed from the sky. Dangling below, an acrobat gyrates into a spinning star. Sky ballerinas with huge butterfly wings flutter around her. Giant ten-feet-high anemones...

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