• La Passione

  • How Italy Seduced the World
  • By: Dianne Hales
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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La Passione

By: Dianne Hales
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
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Publisher's Summary

A jubilant celebration of Italy’s outsize impact on culture, from literature to art, music to movies, that “masterfully examines the multitude of reasons why so many people fall in love with Italy and the Italian lifestyle” (Forbes)

Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza? The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian. 

New York Times best-selling author Dianne Hales attributes these landmark achievements to la passione italiana, a primal force that stems from an insatiable hunger to discover and create; to love and live with every fiber of one's being. This fierce drive, millennia in the making, blazes to life in the Sistine Chapel, surges through a Puccini aria, deepens a vintage Brunello, and rumbles in a gleaming Ferrari engine. 

Our ideal tour guide, Hales sweeps readers along on her adventurous quest for the secrets of la passione. She swims in the playgrounds of mythic gods, shadows artisanal makers of chocolate and cheese, joins in Sicily’s Holy Week traditions, celebrates a neighborhood Carnevale in Venice, and explores pagan temples, vineyards, silk mills, movie sets, crafts studios, and fashion salons. She introduces us, through sumptuous prose, to unforgettable Italians, historical and contemporary, all brimming with the greatest of Italian passions - for life itself. 

A lyrical portrait of a spirit as well as a nation, La Passione appeals to the Italian in all our souls, inspiring us to be as daring as Italy’s gladiators, as eloquent as its poets, as alluring as its beauties, and as irresistible as its lovers. 

Praise for La Passione

“[An] effervescent love letter to all things Italian.” (Newsday

“In this sweeping account of la passione italiana from ancient to modern times, Dianne Hales shows once again why she is one the world’s foremost guides to the riches of Italian culture. Every page resonates with the author’s love for Italy and her joy in sharing its remarkable discoveries and exquisite pleasures with her readers.” (Joseph Luzzi, author of My Two Italies and In a Dark Wood)

©2019 Dianne Hales (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“What would we do without Italy and the treasures she has given to the world? Thank God we won’t have to find out. Dianne Hales exquisitely reveals how the passion of Italians - ancient and modern, famous and anonymous, unwavering even in the most difficult of circumstances - has given birth to an explosion of art and innovation unlike any other culture. Hales captures the spirit of Italy and makes us more grateful than ever for its ardent creators. La Passione takes us on a journey that you simply won’t want to end.” (Kathy McCabe, host of Dream of Italy on PBS) 

"Hales takes us on an enriching and delightful journey, filled with fascinating characters, scintillating sensual details, and an authentic connection to the ever-inspiring Italian heart and soul that has given the world boundless pleasures." (Susan van Allen, author of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go

“In this inquisitive celebration of the Italian spirit, Hales traverses the country, exploring its history and culture.... The chapters on food will delight readers.... Sure to inspire many vacations, this volume shows Italy’s many contributions to the world and captures the essence of the very things that make it such a wondrous place.” (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about La Passione

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Brava!

Fantastico! 🎉A wonderful clear historical detailed love story to all that is Italian. I envy the author's passion!

2 people found this helpful

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A beautiful encapsulation of all things Itallian!

Equal parts informative, entertaining, and inspiring. A guided tour through Italy's rich culture and the nation's widely scoped zest for life and craft.

2 people found this helpful

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Un meraviglioso libro

Dianne Hales has written an intriguing description of the life force that consumes the people of Italy. It is seen in the way they approach life, love, art and food.

Ms.Hales has guided us to the conclusion that the historical events that shaped Italy and what it has shared with the world was mostly done with an obsession that has chosen the participants. Passion itself being the muse.

This book delves into the family histories and back stories of the people who helped shape the country. Dante, Michelangelo, Caravaggio to the artisans of Venice, the wines of Piedmont, Roman films and Ferrari sports cars. I finished this book in one sitting (a lovely Saturday afternoon). I laughed and even cried at times while reading this book. A perfect way to learn about a country and its people, whom I adore.

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Good take on a hackneyed subject.

However, many Italians now lack this mythic passion that is ground down by modern commerce.

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Brilliant voice rendition of a beautiful culture

The author wrote the stories, hers and that od Italy, with such passion it's as if she brought you with her on her journey around Italy.
I don't know if the narrator speaks Italian but if she didn't I wouldn't know. A beautiful story told by a beautiful voice. I was in love the entire time.

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A trip to Italy

This is a lovely book that takes you through all the things that makes Italy is wonderful! Starting from ancient history, to religion to the highlights of food, opera, movies, fashion and race car driving. The narrator was wonderful as she weaves you through the story. I had a blast learning about Italian fashion designer Armani, the first formula one driver, Maria Antonietta Avanzo, the background story of composer Giuseppe Verdi. Dianne Hales gives some much fun historical information in this book! When traveling is so hard these days, this takes you to Italy and it's magical. I will definitely listen to this again and again. So much fun!

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A terrific read for anyone who loves Italy

This is my second book by this author. The first one was La Bella Lingua. I also enjoyed that book, so I looked forward to this one. I learned so much about my ancestral country which I have grown to love more and more each time I visit. My Italian relatives are always impressed with how much I know about Italy and its history and its culture. This book will enable me to impress them even more. I enjoyed all the aspects of the Italian art, opera, fashion, automobiles, and everything else. The author has a wonderful way of going deep into a topic and coloring it with personal stories about the people behind the brands that we know so well. I had no idea that one of the songs I love so much was called Caruso. I would hear it on the radio or on television, but I had no idea what the title was, and I did not know the backstory. When reading this book, I am compelled to go into Google and look up even more information. The woman who is the narrator is also excellent. She is very light with her Italian accent when imitating speakers, which I find to be refreshing. Sometimes a reader will go overboard in trying to imitate an Italian accent and they don’t always succeed. In this case, it added to the story rather than detracting from it. I intend to read this book again.

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  • Fiona
  • 12-16-20

Great Companion to La Bella Lingua

Even though one knows some of the history, style and customs of Italy, the passion theme that runs through the book threads it together really well. Really enjoyed listening to it and will plan to listen again to a few chapters to re-live some of the detail. I felt that it fitted well with Diana Hales’ other well known book - La Bella Lingua - which I listened to a few weeks ago

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  • Christopher
  • 06-28-19

A real pleasure for anyone who likes Itsly

I really enjoyed the format snd delivery of the book. Good content and well narrated