La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z
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About the Author
Carla Gambescia's passion for Italy began early--with her mother's love of the Renaissance masters and her father's discourses on Italian geniuses of every calling. In the ensuing decades she has toured every region of Italy (often by bicycle) and immersed herself in its astonishing array of cultural treasures. In recent years Carla has combined her passion as an Italophile and writer with her skills as a career marketer and branding expert, acting as a consultant to and a collaborator with boutique tour operators. She conceived and co-led the Giro del Gelato bicycle tour, winner of Outside magazine's "Best Trip in Western Europe." In 2008 Carla founded Via Vanti! Restaurant & Gelateria, in Mount Kisco, New York, with the ambition of creating a unique environment and dining experience that would enable guests to feel as though they had stepped right into Italy. Via Vanti! quickly won plaudits not just for its innovative Italian cuisine, extraordinary gelato (named "Best Gelato Shop in New York") and dazzling jewel box interior but also, under Carla's direction, for its active program of culinary and cultural events. It is Carla's conviction that all of us, regardless of our inherited ethnicities, share an "inner Italian"--that part of our nature which is most expressive, festive, spontaneous and fun--just waiting to be unlocked.
La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z is the natural outgrowth of Carla's work and play in both the restaurant and boutique travel industries, as well as a lifelong love affair with the land of her ancestors.
Praise for the second edition:
Carla Gambescia's love for Italy leaps off every page in this delightful dizionario that celebrates the joyful culture, fascinating characters, and divine details of an infinitely enchanting country.
--Susan Van Allen, author of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go
Praise for the first edition:
The title--La Dolce Vita University--captures the great virtues of this reader-friendly book perfectly: it's delicious and educational at the same time, which each virtue reinforcing the other. Dulce blended with utile, as the great ancient Roman poet Horace recommended. This book sustains that combination masterfully. It's is a complete delight to read, but (as a professor of Renaissance literature for many decades) I'm happy to report that the authors know their stuff. The research is careful and the analysis is intelligent and witty. I learned amazing new things about dozens of topics - Artemisia, Burano, Casanova, Dante, and onward through the alphabet to zanni. La Dolce Vita University also seasons lots of popular myths with just the right number of grains of salt. It's written in prose as clear, bright, crisp, and lively as a spring morning in the Dolomites. Add to that graceful but also playful prose, the talent of skilled story-tellers, and it's no wonder that the entries stay so fascinating.
La Dolce Vita University makes me crave a return to Italy, and helps me daydream that I'm already there. Like an ideal platter of antipasti, it's made of deliciously varied bites you can pick your way through. If you want - or want to give a friend - an appetizer that will rouse up a hunger for the glory and festivity of that wonderful place and its' no less wonderful culture, this book is perfect.
--Robert N. Watson, PhD, Distinguished Professor of English, Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation, UCLA
Imagine it as a dessert course of dark chocolates, filled with exotic fruits and nuts, packed with her parents' knowledge and love of history and art, her grandmother's epithets, and her own wisdom and wit, Italian, American, global. The chocolates are alphabetically listed, described and presented beautifully, and offered as something to dip into as you wish. You open it, choose the one you think you will like best, then another, and another. Suddenly it's gone. Because Carla wears her scholarship lightly, you don't feel over full, but what a feast!
--Denise Scott Brown FAIA, Int. FRIBA and Robert Venturi FAIA, Int. FRIBA
Excellent! Bravissima! Delightfully informative, a book to enrich any reader's life with a greater appreciation of Italian culture--even in everyday experiences here at home, from visiting an art museum to dining in a local Italian restaurant, or from cooking for friends and family to the usage of common expressions and words. Not to mention, it might just inspire you to hop on a plane!
--Commendatore Professor Carlo Sclafani, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Former Chairperson of the Modern Languages Department at Westchester Community College
Carla is the consummate Italian. Mille grazie for sharing your extensive knowledge, insights and fascinating little-known backstories with such affection and humor!
--Joan Tucci, author of The Tucci Cookbook
An enlightening, entertaining guide to the history behind so much of what we love about Italian cuisine and culture. As a chef and cooking enthusiast I enjoyed the variety of information and perspective on the Italian and Sicilian culture. From antiquity to today, reading this special history written with color and style is a pure joy for the food aficionado and any lover of Italy. You won't want to miss reading through any part of this book.
--Chef Bert Cutino, CEC, AAC, HOF, WCMC, co-founder/COO, The Sardine Factory Restaurant, Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
La Dolce Vita University is an authentic full immersion in Italian culture, history, art, traditions and more. Fun, funny and informative. Brava!
--Cristiano Bonino, founder, Food, Stories, Trave1
An obvious love of all things Italian is evident in every essay of this quirky, delicious, and absolutely delightful book. From A to Z topics are peppered with insights, memories, fun factoids and the intrigues of history. Whether you are a seasoned globetrotter or an armchair-traveler, La Dolce Vita University will inspire you to dig deeper into the magic and allure of Italia.
--Tara Coniaris, secretary, Board of Trustees at Katonah Museum of Art
The enthusiasm that Carla brings to her work is unmistakable and contagious. La Dolce Vita University merits many "students" and readers who share a passion for Italy.
--Comm. Stefano Acunto, Hon. Vice Consul, Republic of Italy
I believe that most rewarding travel experiences are those that engage the senses and enrich you emotionally and intellectually. Reading La Dolce Vita University is a great armchair vacation that captures the essence of Italy. This is the one book to read before visiting Italy - or to put you in the mood for your next one.
--Lauren Hefferon, founder & director, Ciclismo Classico and Travel Vision Journeys