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What is it about Italy and Italians?
Italian movies immortalize the mystique. Fellini called it La Dolce Vita.
Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso took James Shaw back to the sweet memories of his childhood and the Italian family who operated the hometown theater. And just like in the movie, young James had an “Alfredo” who, by example, taught him about serving people.
James learned that Italians don’t feel they’re special. Luigi Barzini, author of
The Italians, repeatedly asked, “Why are we the way we are?” and found no
But James was convinced there was a reason why the Renaissance was born in Tuscany–and Italy has given the world Saint Francis, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Galileo and now Benigni, whose film “Life Is Beautiful” shows us that the Italian zest for living can even make a heaven of a hell.
And so, after a lifetime of thinking about Italy James became convinced that the way to find out why Italians are the way they are, would be to eat with them at their kitchen tables.