Giuseppe Verdi once bargained, “You may have the universe, if I may have Italy.”
If you couldn’t agree more, Assouline’s glorious new book The Italian Dream is the perfect post-holiday gift to give yourself (and a great inspiration for spring travel plans). An eminent collaboration between the aristocratic writer Gelasio Gaetani d’Aragona Lovatelli and the globetrotting photographer Aline Coquelle, it was conceived as a tour of sorts of Italy’s matchless winemaking culture. But it ended up as something of an ethereal meditation on a way of life that has fiercely resisted the inelegant march of time.
With a forward by Fiat scion Lapo Elkann, stunning page after even more stunning page transports the reader from the Veneto to Toscana, Roma to Amalfi, with stops at some of the great wine estates of Italia. It’s a celebration of the inimitable beauty and immeasurable bounty of a country still deeply bound by its traditions…and, perhaps even more so, by its innate sense of aesthetics. Coquelle’s striking images are less about monumental monuments than about capturing the everyday beauty of a certain Italian arte della vita.
It’s a sublime riposte to the graceless intrusion of globalization. In other words, a must for all dedicated aesthetes and epicures.