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The British in Italy-bookcover

By: Gabriele Reina

The British in Italy

Pages: 324 Ratings:
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The British in Italy is a fascinating exploration of the enduring relationship between the English and Italians, dating back to the times of Shakespeare, Leghorn, The Grand Tour, Florence, and Venice, up to the cataclysmic events of World War II. The author draws parallels between Victorian England’s progress and the Italian Renaissance, particularly the British presence in Italy during the 19th century.

In a unique approach, the author embarks on a journey through Italy, beginning in the Alps and continuing on foot and by bicycle from Monviso to Trieste, then down to Sicily. Along the way, he rediscovers the forgotten Anglo-Saxon characters who played a significant role in shaping Italy’s cultural, artistic, and scientific landscape, such as the true Count of Montecristo, textile industrialists, inventors, painters, archaeologists, botanists, and travelers.

Their stories are intertwined with the author’s encounters, memories, lost friends, legends, and conversations, providing a rich tapestry of Italy’s diverse history and culture. The book is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge and insight, revealing Italy's layers of history and culture from a unique Anglo-Saxon perspective. As Doctor Johnson aptly said, “A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.” This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to discover the true heart of Italy and the enduring bond between the English and Italians.

Gabriele Reina was born in Lugano (Switzerland) in 1969 to an old Lombard family of military and industrial traditions. He earned two MA in Languages (1995) and Art History (1997) from the University of Milan, and later a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Lausanne. He was writer and last editor in chief of the historical publishing company FMR/Franco Maria Ricci, and author of books and essays (Palazzo Altieri; Bologna; Castles of the world; Superga segreta etc.) A portraitist painter… follower of Old Masters too, he was a pupil of the futurist Master Sibò (1907–2000). He is a member of the Robert Louis Stevenson Club (Edinburgh) and craft member of the Society of Heraldic Arts. A great lover of travels, he hiked twice along Via Francigena, Way of St. James, Pyrénées Scotland, Portugal, Poland. And – hundred of times – Italy of course, strictly on foot or by bike. And always writing and drawing.

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