Everyone loves Italian food. But how did the Italians come to eat so well? The advertising industry tells us the answer lies in the vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany - among sun-weathered peasants, and mammas serving pasta under the pergola. Yet this stalgic fantasy has little to do with the real history of Italian cuisine.For a thousand years, Italys cities have been magnets for everything that makes for great eating: ingredients, talent, money, and power. So Italian food is city food, and telling its story means telling the story of the Italians as a people of city dwellers. In DELIZIA! the author of the acclaimed COSA NOSTRA takes a revelatory historical journey through the flavours of Italys cities. From the bustle of Medieval Milan, to the bombast of Fascist Rome; from the pleasure gardens of Renaissance Ferrara, to the putrid alleyways of nineteenth-century Naples. In rich slices of urban life, DELIZIA! shows how violence and intrigue, as well as taste and creativity, combined to make the worlds favourite cuisine.
John Dickie is Reader in Italian Studies at University College London and has written articles and books on many aspects of Italian history. In 2005 he was awarded the title Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella di Solidarieta' Italiana.
Winner of Andre Simon Memorial Fund Award: Special Commendation 2007.