"Speak the Culture: Italy" offers a rich and engaging insight into the events, people and movements that have shaped Italy and the Italians. A guidebook can show you where to go, a phrase-book what to say, but only "Speak the Culture: Italy" will lead you to the nation s soul.The Italian character is complex, contradictory, alluring and infinitely variable: heirs to the greatest empire of the ancient world but almost ungovernable; cradle of western civilization as well as the Mafia; maestros of modern design, mired in old-fashioned bureaucracy; epicentre of the Catholic Church and exemplars of la dolce vita.Where do you start? Giotto? Caravaggio? Murky Etruscan tombs or the mighty Roman Pantheon? "Speak the Culture: Italy" sifts through a sprawling 3,000 year saga and makes sense of it, dissecting architecture, music, food, art, literature, cinema, family and much more.Culture is covered in its broadest sense, extending into every aspect of Italian life food and drink, religion, politics, sport, manners, character and so on. While the Italian peninsula has its ancient history, it s been a unified nation for less than 150 years. Lo Stivale, or the famous Boot, is young: the nuances of strong, surviving regional identities are important and revealed. Taken as a whole, "Speak the Culture: Italy" gives you an insight into what it means to be Italian, but it s also a book to dip into, to learn, for instance, about Giuseppe Verdi, Sophia Loren or Umberto Eco. Easily read and beautifully illustrated, this, the fourth in the "Speak the Culture"series, offers an intimate understanding of Italian life and culture for new residents, second home-owners, holidaymakers, business travelers, students and lovers of Italy everywhere.