The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture [NOOK Book]


You're no idiot, of course. You know there's more to Italy's rich tapestry than spaghetti and the Sicilian Mafia, but you also know you have a lot to learn about the country that brought you the paintings of Michelangelo, the poetry of Dante, and the Ferrari of your dreams.

Get ready to indulge! 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture' will satisfy your thirst for all things Italian with its in-depth information about Italian art and literature, wine and ...

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture

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You're no idiot, of course. You know there's more to Italy's rich tapestry than spaghetti and the Sicilian Mafia, but you also know you have a lot to learn about the country that brought you the paintings of Michelangelo, the poetry of Dante, and the Ferrari of your dreams.

Get ready to indulge! 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture' will satisfy your thirst for all things Italian with its in-depth information about Italian art and literature, wine and cooking, and famous Italians and Italian Americans. In this 'Complete Idiot's Guide', you get:

-Secrets of Italian cooking sure to whet your appetite!

-The Italian-American connection, from pizza to the Mafia to soccer.

-A comprehensive look at the centuries-long struggle to unify Italy.

-The power and glory of the Renaissance.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440650567
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Sold by: DK
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 566,122
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

GABRIELLE EUVINO, author of 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Italian', has been teaching Italian since 1986 and is the president and founder of La Bella Lingua, an educational immersion program where students visit Italian historical landmakrs while learning the language and culture of Italy. She teaches Italian at the Learning Annex in New York City.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 A Portrait 1
1 The Magic of Italy 3
Sibling Rivalry 3
Italy Yesterday and Today 4
Why Learn About Italy? 6
What Turns You On? 7
What's Hot in Italy Today? 8
How to Approach Italy and Her Story 9
2 Che Panorama! 11
The Boot 11
From Puglia to Friuli-Venezia Giulia 12
The City-States Within 12
Home Is Where the Heart Is 13
In the Middle of the Earth 14
Water, Water Everywhere 16
Natural Disasters 17
Festa Anyone? 19
3 Who Are the Italians? 21
What Makes an Italian? 21
A World of Italians 22
La Famiglia E Sacra 25
What's in a Name? 25
Can Anyone Be Italian? 26
4 From Shore to Shore 29
Searching for Something Better 30
They Came in Waves 31
The Italian Community 32
Spaghetti and Bullets 34
The Dream Lives On 36
5 The Sound of Music 37
Express Yourself 37
Kissing Cousins: Dialects 40
The Most Important Phrases You'll Ever 40
Gestures 41
What's in a Name? 42
When Speaking Italian Was a Crime 45
Part 2 Tota Italia 47
6 Rome Wasn't Built in a Day 49
Your Mother Was a Wolf 49
Before There Was Rome 51
The Roman Republic 53
Built to Last 56
That's Entertainment, Folks 57
The Slaves 57
The Early Christians 58
You're Great, Constantine! 59
Rome Today 60
7 The Medieval Minestrone 61
The Middle of What? 61
An Architectural Primer 62
Know Your Parts 64
Family Feudalism 66
Apocalypse Then 67
All Roads Lead to Rome 69
St. Francis of Assisi 70
Santa Clara 70
8 Popes, Politics, and Power 73
Rome: Seat of the Vatican 73
Peter Picked a Pope 75
In Hoc Signo Vinces 80
Monasteries and Abbeys Become the Rage 80
Rites of the Church 81
Best to Conform 84
Pope John Paul II 85
Pope Trivia 85
9 Leaving the Middle Ages 87
Famine 87
Bigger Weapons, Bolder Warlords 88
Black Death and Bankruptcies 88
Let There Be Light 90
Ringing in the Renaissance 91
The Emergence of Tuscan 92
Dante 93
Bawdy Boccaccio 95
The Modern Man 97
Part 3 Quantum Leaps 99
10 Can You Spare a Florin? Banking and Commerce 101
Banker's Hours 102
Break the Bank 103
Starving Artist--Will Work for Money 105
Power in Numbers: The Guilds 106
Funny Money 107
11 Strange Bedfellows 109
Cities? States? City-States! 110
Florence: The Medici 111
Florence: Art in the Square 113
Milan: The Sforza Family 113
Ferrara: The Este 113
Mantova: The Gonzagas 114
Urbino: The Montefeltros 115
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words 116
Festivities 117
Cover Your Assets 118
Golden Age of Rome 119
Bedroom Politics 119
How to Be a Prince 120
Savonarola: Prophet of Doom 121
12 Putti, Painters, and the Arts 123
Bravissimo! The Renaissance 123
Humanists Are People, Too 125
The Platonic Academy 125
A Brief Renaissance Who's Who of Italian Artists 132
13 Great Discoveries: Here We Come! 135
We Like It Spicy 135
Marco Polo 136
Unsung Heroes 137
Christopher Columbus 137
Way to Go Amerigo 139
Giovanni Caboto 140
Verrazano Bridges the Gap 140
Read All About It: Native American Discovers Italy! 141
Galileo Figaro Magnifico 142
Other Italian Scientists 144
Copernicus 145
14 The Day the Music Died 147
Pope Paul III 148
The Holy Office 148
Baby Boom 150
The Beginning of the End 151
The Church Reigns Supreme 152
Cagliostro: Potion Maker 154
Giacomo Casanova 155
15 Violins and Lace: The Baroque 157
La "Dramma per Musica" 157
The First Operatic Giants 158
Opera Houses 162
An Opera Glossary 163
Highlights of Italian Music 164
An Idiot's Crash Course on the Players 165
An Explosion of Creativity 166
Part 4 Redshirts, Blackshirts, and Greenshirts 171
16 Parlez-Vouz Francais? 173
The Napoleonic Empire 173
All in the Family 176
I Just Have to Have It! 177
Napoleon is Pastry 177
Red, White, and Green in the New World 178
17 Let's Call It Italia: A Nation and a Democracy 181
The Struggle for Unity 181
The Heroes of Italian Unity 182
A Hero Here, a Hero There 185
Opera: Political Voices Raised in Music 188
A Capital City, a National Language 189
You're Bringing Me Down 191
18 The Island of Tears 193
In Search of a Better Life 193
Help Wanted! Immigrants Welcome! 196
America Shuts the Golden Door 199
19 The World at War 201
The Big Picture 201
The Origins of Fascism 203
The Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini 204
The March on Rome 204
Mussolini's Italian Empire 206
On Making Baby Fascists 208
The Beginning of the End 209
Italian Americans: Divided Loyalties 211
Cinecitta 212
20 Myth and Magic 213
Rising Up from the Ashes 213
Italian Parliament 215
The Neorealists 217
The Italian Miracle 219
Married to the Mob 221
Part 5 Pizza, Pasta, and Fantasia 223
21 Life Is a Carnevale 225
Carnevale 225
Italian Holidays and Important Dates 227
I'll Bet You I Win 227
Il Calcio 228
La Passeggiata 228
A Driving Passion 229
Italian Teatro 231
Italy at the Movies 232
Italian Movie Directory 234
22 Spaghetti Doesn't Grow on Trees 237
Buon Appetito! 237
Il Vino 239
Olive Olives 241
Favorite Foods: Pasta and Pizza 242
Il Caffe 244
Italian Food Facts 244
Good Health Comes First 245
23 Mamma and the Madonna 249
There's an Exception to Every Rule 249
Renaissance Women 250
Incredible Artist Types 252
Santa Caterina da Siena 253
Won't You Marry Me? 254
Women for Hire 255
You've Come a Long Way, Bambina 257
I Am Woman, I Am Forte 257
The Long March to Equal Opportunity 259
Mamma Mia! 260
24 Weeping Statues and the Blood of San Gennaro 263
L'onomastico: Saint's Day 263
Weeping Statues 268
Padre Pio 268
The Malocchio and Other Charms 270
Fairy Tales 271
25 Made in Italy 277
Art of a Different Sort 277
Historic Clothing 279
No Cutoffs or Exposed Shoulders Allowed 279
Commedia dell'Arte 280
Get Me Wardrobe 280
Clothing Makes the Politician 281
Street Fashion 282
Business Is All the Fashion These Days 282
Stendhal's Syndrome 285
Clothing Sizes 286
Part 6 Italy's Exports 289
26 Follow Your Muse 291
Writers and Thinkers 291
Who's Who 292
The Italian Influence on Education 295
The Arts 298
27 Science and Medicine 301
Science and Medicine 302
Medicine 305
28 Circo Massimo 309
The Old-Timers 309
Rock My World, Bambino 311
At the Metropolitan Opera 312
Cinema 314
Actors 316
Let's Have a Festa 318
Sports 319
29 Friends and Favors: Powerful Players 325
Great Rulers, Now and Forever 325
Quite a Resume 328
Italian-American Power Women 329
Industry Leaders 330
Food Giants 332
What's Cooking? 334
Italian Americans Commemorate Italian Americans 335
Share Your Talents 337
A Glossary 339
B Web Resources 347
C Suggested Films and Books 353
D Map of Italy 359
Index 361
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2002

    Interesting and Informative

    What a great book! If you're looking to learn more about Italy, this is a fascinating read. It's concise enough to not completely bog you down with petty details, but specific enough to give you a good understand of the country.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    When they say its for idiots, they weren't kidding

    I found the book so simplistic and superficial, that I learned nothing from what I read. In all fairness, I found it so simple that I couldn't finish it. It would be great for children, but for adults with even a modocum of interest in general history (much less Italian or Italian-american)there are few revelations.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2011

    Excellent Book - A Must Read

    This is a most excellent book. It is easy to read and understand, covering everything from art, military history, religion, politics, and of course culture. There are also little snippets of Italian language. It is a very enjoyable read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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