A moving and illuminating memoir about a singular woman’s relationship with a fascinating and complex country
A fresh, nuanced perspective on a profoundly perplexing country: this is what Wallis Wilde-Menozzi’s unique, captivating narrative promises―and delivers.
The Other Side of the Tiber brings Italy to life in an entirely new way, treating the peninsula as a series of distinct places, subjects, histories, and geographies bound together by a shared sense of life. A multifaceted image of Italy emerges―in beautiful black-and-white photographs, many taken by Wilde-Menozzi herself―as does a portrait of the author. Wilde-Menozzi, who has written about Italy for nearly forty years, offers unexpected conclusions about one of the most complex and best-loved countries in the world.
Beginning her story with a hitchhiking trip to Rome when she was a student in England, she illuminates a passionate, creative, and vocal people who are often confined to stereotypes. Earthquakes and volcanoes; a hundred-year-old man; Siena as a walled city; Keats in Rome; the refugee camp of Manduria; the Slow Food movement; realism in Caravaggio; the concept of good and evil; Mary the Madonna as a subject―from these varied angles, Wilde-Menozzi traces a society skeptical about competition and tolerant of contradiction. Bringing them together in the present, she suggests the compensations of the Italians’ long view of time. Like the country, this book will inspire discussion and revisiting.