Italians and the art of illusion

The Italians. By John Hooper. Allen Lane, €25. Reviewed by Jonathan O’Brien.

20th March, 2015
Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning 2014 film La Grande Bellezza

‘The nationality that speaks without sound,” sighed Barry Davies of the BBC, a little pompously, while commentating on one of Italy’s matches during the 2002 World Cup. Davies’s genteel hackles had been raised by the sight of a super-slow-motion replay of several Italian players surrounding the referee, theatrically and dramatically gesticulating in a group attempt to make him change his mind about a decision.

The perception of Italians as excitable...

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