An essential guide to the strange, sometimes sinister culture of contemporary Italy.
When Tobias Jones first travelled to Italy, he expected to discover the pastoral bliss described by centuries of foreign visitors and famous writers. Instead, he discovered a very different country, besieged by unfathomable terrorism and deep-seated paranoia, where crime is scarcely ever met with punishment.
Now, in this fascinating travelogue, Jones explores not just Italy's familiar delights (art, climate, cuisine), but the livelier and stranger sides of the bel paese: language, football, Catholicism, cinema, television and terrorism. Why, he wonders, do bombs still explode every time politics start getting serious? Why does everyone urge him to go home as soon as possible, saying that Italy is a 'brothel'? And why do people warn him that 'Clean Hands' only disguise 'Dirty Feet'?
Tobias Jones is the author of two travel books, The Dark Heart of Italy and Utopian Dreams. His novel, The Salati Case, was the first in a series featuring the Italian private detective Castagnetti. In 2012 he published his true crime account of an Italian serial killer, Blood on the Altar. Jones has written and presented documentaries for the BBC, and for RAI television in Italy, and is a columnist for the Observer and Internazionale. He runs a small 'woodland shelter' in Somerset with his wife and three children.