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Paperback, 96 pages 178 x 110mm, £6.99
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The Italians

By Martin Solly

What makes the Italians ITALIAN: A witty guide to understanding the Italians which reveals their character, values and much amore

Quote image
  Italians know the value of bella figura (cutting a fine figure).  


  • ‘When we moved to Italy someone bought us this book. What a gem! I lent it to my new-found Italian friend who speaks a little English. He made many comments in the margins saying ‘This isn’t true!’ or ‘This can’t be right!’. We had a hilarious conversation where he admitted that everything was in fact true, or nearly. He just couldn’t admit it! Very Italian!’       Reviewer by the owner of La Porta Verde, ‘properties and holidays in Umbria’

  • ‘This book points out most of the Italians habits (both the bad and good ones), giving a good picture of the Italian people in an objective, but funny, way. I am Italian and I must admit that most of the attitudes described in the book are real, even if, sometimes, a bit exaggerated. I suggest this book to the people who already visited Italy so they can easily understand what is a caricature and what is real.’
    Reviewer from Amsterdam

  • ‘Excellent summary of a crazy nation. Haven’t tried any of the other xenophobe’s guides yet, but this one really hits the mark – in a most amusing fashion – in describing the eccentricities of my Italian girlfriend and her family. Allegria, campanilismo, la mamma: it’s all here.’          Reviewer from London, UK

  • ‘A book you just can’t refuse. Hilarious insights into the Italian man and the mother behind him.’        Reviewer from San Francisco, USA

  • ‘An ironic look at a people’s characteristics – to be taken with a grain of salt, but otherwise pretty much unmissable! There are many truths here (I should know, I’m Italian :-), some baffling generalisations, but overall the book is informative, fun, full of irony and stylish. I laughed out loud quite often, and I was saddened by some spot-on characterisation of our defects just as many times.’
    Review from Egelsbach (Hessen), Germany

If you would like to comment or submit a review on the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Italians please do so in the box to the right.


Links to make you laugh

The Xenophobe’s Guides series is produced to promote cultural awareness and understanding. Here our own author Martin Solly provides a quick look at some things that are seen as most typically Italian.



About the author

Brought up in England, Martin Solly first became enamoured of Italy as a student, staying with his amici in a superb farmhouse complete with swimming pool. The red-earthed landscapes of Tuscany, Renaissance culture, Chianti and mouth-watering tortellini and zucchini convinced him that the Italians enjoyed the ultimate in sybaritic living.

After working on farms, and in bars, restaurants, bookstores and schools, he settled in Piedmont with the intention of improving his knowledge of things Italian. He little realised this would include a local girl and, ignoring the old Italian saying Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi (‘Choose your wife and your cattle from your own backyard’), he married her and stayed.

Still happily ensconced in the area and the author of numerous books on linguistics and the English language, Solly has never lost the habit of looking around for the queue. He does, however, admit to a distinct penchant for the Alfa-Romeo, and to only ever wearing Italian ties.