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Read Around the World August 2022: Italy


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What better way to spend August than it beautiful Italy? 

Fun facts about Italy from this website

  • The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning “calf land,” perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes
  • Italy is said to have more masterpieces per square mile than any other country in the world.
  • When McDonald’s opened in 1986 in Rome, food purists outside the restaurant gave away free spaghetti to remind people of their culinary heritage
  • Parmesan cheese originated in the area around Parma, Italy. Italians also created many other cheeses, including gorgonzola, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta
  • The University of Rome is one of the world’s oldest universities and was founded by the Catholic Church in A.D. 1303. Often called La Sapienza (“knowledge”), the University of Rome is also Europe’s largest university with 150,000 student
  • There are two independent states within Italy: the Republic of San Marino (25 square miles) and the Vatican City (just 108.7 acres)
  • The author of “Pinocchio” (“pine nut”), Carlo Collodi (1826-1890), was Italian.
  • No other country in Europe has as many volcanoes as Italy.
  • Italian is a Romance language descended from Vulgar Latin, the dialect spoken by the people living during the last years of the Roman Empire. Italian has more Latin words than any other Romance languages, and its grammatical system remains similar to Latin
  • Soccer is Italy’s most popular sport, and the famous San Siro Stadium in Milan holds 85,000 people. Italy has won the World Cup four times
  • In 1454, a real human chess game took place in Marostica, Italy. Rather than fight a bloody duel, the winner of the chess game would win the hand of a beautiful girl.
  • The language of music is Italian. The word “scale” comes from scala, meaning “step.” And andante , allegro, presto, and vivace are just a few of the many Italian musical notations
  • In central Italy, there is a fountain that flows red wine 24-hours a day. It is free to everyone, except for “drunkards and louts.”

I chose to visit Italy via My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Having previously read and not particularly enjoyed Troubling Love I was pleased to discover that I loved this book.

The story focusses on two friends our narrator Elena and the elusive Lila. It begins when they first meet as children and follows as their friendship develops and then recedes as they become young women and different chances in life lead them further away from each other while never actually ending the friendship.

As we follow the friends we also learn what is happening in their neighbourhood with hints at what is happening in wider Italy as well.

The book ends as the girls become young women about to embark on married life and I will definitely be catching up with them again once the madness that is Booker is over.

Other readers visited in the following ways:

Currey from Litsy – The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa this was rated a Pick.

Did you join us on this trip let us know what you read.

Next up Tonga will you be joining us and what are your reading plans?

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tracy S. #

    Did you read or listen to My Brilliant Friend? I listened to all four of the books and loved the narrator, which made the book an experience for me.

    I read Fleur Jaeggy’s The Water Statues, and will get to a Natalia Ginzburg before month’s end.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 24, 2022
    • Book Worm #

      Yes I went audio for this one and loved it looking forward to getting to the other books once Booker madness is over


      August 29, 2022
  2. Remedial Stitcher #

    I read Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri. It’s an Inspector Montalbano novel, and I love them. I’ll see what I can put my hands on for Tonga.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 25, 2022

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