Last year I met a weaver at Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua, the last traditional textile maker in Venice. Working at a centuries-old loom, she creates luxury fabrics that may take months or even years to complete.
"When a piece is finished, I almost hate to let it go," she told me, "because I've lived with it so long that it's become part of me."
I understand how she feels. After more than two years of research and writing, I have sent my draft of LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World to the Crown Publishing Group at Penguin Random House. While I look forward to working with a wonderful team of editors, designers and publicists, I have become so fond of the people—living and dead, historical and legendary—featured in the book that I will miss spending my days with them. On the other hand, I am excited about sharing their fascinating stories with others.
I had a chance to begin doing so recently, thanks to the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, which invited me to join in a tribute to Luisa Spagnoli, an innovator and entrepreneur famous for the La Perugina chocolates that she created a century ago in Perugia and for her family's international chain of clothing stores. Last year I interviewed her namesake and great grand-daughter Luisa Spagnoli, who inherited a passion for making chocolate. Here is a link to an article in L'Italo-Americano in English and Italian about the event.
As I look forward to the publication of LA PASSIONE next Spring, I have good news to report on my previous books. Recently Tutorful, an online tutoring marketplace in the United Kingdom, surveyed some 60,000 Italian tutors, students and parents to identify the resources they felt benefited their Italian skills most on a day-to-day basis. After what they described as "a tough selection process and after whittling down from hundreds of recommended resources," LA BELLA LINGUA was among some fifty resources to earn an official "Best Italian Resource" badge and inclusion on Tutorful's list. Here is what Tutorful's selection committee said:
Why We Love LA BELLA LINGUA
Since its publication in 2009, La Bella Lingua has become a New York Times best-seller as well as a highly recommended resource by various associations of Italian teachers. The reason is that it offers a unique combination of an accurate history and depiction of the language and an engaging writing style. The book has motivated hundreds of people studying Italian to learn the language, provides insights into Italian culture and adds to their enjoyment of Italy and Italian.
I've also received word of another foreign translation for MONA LISA: A Life Discovered—into Croatian. This edition will join Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, Chinese and Polish translations.
So what does one do after finishing an all-consuming book about Italian passion? Head back to Italy, of course. I hope to see some of you there!