Dianne Hales

La Passione

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.

Western culture is indeed unimaginable without Italy. Its borders contain more of UNESCO's designated cultural treasures than any other nation. Its inhabitants created the first universities, banks, public libraries, and law and medical schools; mapped the moon (in 1651); split the atom; produced the first modern histories, satires, sonnets, and travelogues; invented the first working compass, battery, barometer, microscope, radio, and thermometer; garnered twenty Nobel Prizes; and bestowed upon the world the eternal gift of music.

Why Italy? How did a scrawny peninsula smaller than California leave such an outsize imprint on Western culture?

After decades of searching for answers, I credit la passione italiana. My new book, available now for pre-order and on sale wherever books are sold on April 16, explores this primal force and its impact on food, wine, romance, literature, art, music, religion, film, fashion—and very fast cars.

I'm excited about sharing the story of how la passione italiana seduced the world—in print and in person. Here is the initial list of places where I'll be speaking. You can find details on the events page of my website, which will be updated as we firm up additional dates.

San Francisco

Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 p.m.
Italian Cultural Institute
Frances Mayes and I will present our new books
601 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 p.m.
Libreria Pino
548 Union Street
San Francisco, CA

Thursday, May 16, 12:00 p.m.
Il Cenacolo (members and guest)
San Francisco Italian Athletic Club
1630 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA

Marin County

Sunday, April 28, 4:00 p.m.
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA

East Bay

Thursday, May 2, 2:00 p.m.
Orinda Books
Orinda, CA


Tuesday, May 7
with Rita Richardson of Friends of San Filippino
Italian Cultural & Community Center
1101 Milford Street
Houston, TX

New Orleans

Wednesday, May 8, 6:00 p.m.
with Rita Richardson
American Italian Cultural Center
537 S Peters Street
New Orleans, LA


Thursday, May 9
with Rita Richardson
Ciancia Conversation Club
Atlanta, GA

If you're in Italy this June, I'll be presenting my book at an event sponsored by the Friends of San Filippino on Sunday, June 9, in the lovely Tuscan town of Castiglion Fiorentino and in a lecture at the British Institute in Florence on Wednesday, June 12.

I look forward to meeting many of you in my travels. Come and feel la passione italiana!


Please note: I will be moving my weekly blog to my new website, along with a complete archive of my previous posts. Click here to subscribe (top of sidebar). Note that if you are already subscribed (via e-mail) to my Typepad blog, your subscription will automatically transfer to the new blog. However, if you subscribed via RSS, you will need to do so again (using the same link as above). Thank you!

Dianne Hales

La Passione   La Bella Lingua   Mona Lisa
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