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Confessions of an Italian Appassionata

In a culinary academy in Florence, I 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?“Ah, signora,” she replied. “We do not choose our passion. Passion chooses us.” I understood. Italy chose me.

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The Power of a Passion for Italy

My little book on the Italian language had taken a beating.

The couple who brought the tattered, battered copy of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language to the Italian Cultural and Community Center in Houston explained what had happened: They had trekked with it to every city, site, church, museum and restaurant mentioned in the book.They are planning to do the same with my new book, LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World—but that’s not all. They are moving to Italy next year. “Your books changed our lives,” they told me.

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Celebrating Mother’s Day with Italian Passion

Traditionally la festa della mamma in Italy fell on May 8. The current practice of celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May started in 1957. But la mamma italiana is the center of her family’s life every day of the year. Men may hold the highest political offices, but the person at the helm of the family—the strongest Italian institution—is Mamma.

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An Italian Passion for Joy

Two years ago a woman I didn’t know contacted me about an abandoned chapel dedicated to a saint I had never heard of in a Tuscan town I had never visited. Now her story is in LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World, and she and I are going on a “Passion for Joy” book...

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Happy 10th Birthday to LA BELLA LINGUA!

Whether you’re a parent or an author, your  first born always remains close to your heart.

This month marks a landmark birthday for my first book on Italy and its culture: LA BELLA LINGUA:, My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language. My publisher is celebrating with a not-to-be-missed offer: a digital copy for just $1.99 — less than the price of, well, almost everything —downloadable here or at other online book retailers until May 5.

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Why Travelers Fall in Love with Italy

Most travelers who visit Italy return changed in some way, either subtly embracing one or more aspects of Italian culture (perhaps, food or style) or more fundamentally, by re-thinking their approach to life.
Dianne Hales’ just-released book, La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World (Crown Archetype, 2019), masterfully examines the multitude of reasons why so many people fall in love with Italy and the Italian lifestyle.
In this book, she weaves a rich tapestry of legends and historical references coupled with interviews and first-person experiences to explain this phenomenon. She focuses on some of the most seductive aspects of Italian culture: its history, food and wine, art, music, cinema, cars and fashion and style.

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