Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy New
$15.03
Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $4.92 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Italianissimo: The Quinte... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best Hardcover – September 2, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$15.03
$10.04 $5.98

$15.03 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best
  • +
  • La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
  • +
  • La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
Total price: $37.96
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"The hysterical Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best by Louise Fili and Lise Apatoff had me in tears of laughter. The book covers the prerequisite fabulous wine, olive oil and vegetables and also touches on other important culinary strengths like making coffee. Some of the funnier pages highlight Italian idiosyncrasies like the inability to stand in line and the adoration of Italian men of their mothers." --The San Francisco Examiner

"As you would expect from a designer of Fili's caliber, the book is not only charming but gorgeous. Essays are elegantly laid out and accompanied by memorable photos, collages and, best of all, an illustrated chart of hand gestures. Weight and comprehensiveness are not the objectives here; the diminutive size of Italianissimo makes it ideal for carrying in purse, suitcase or even backpack, in case you plan on trekking across Italy. This little book may entice you to do so." --STEP inside design

"What do Italians do best? Many things, according to 'Italianissimo,' a most unusual and idiosyncratic guide to Italian culture. The list includes things that one might expect, such as balsamic vinegar, coffee, soccer, gelato and the art of eating, to quirky items such as hand gestures, neorealist cinema, patron saints, the motor scooter and, my personal favorite, Pinocchio. What makes the book especially enjoyable is the surprising quality of the choices. The Fiat 500 (the Italian car made for the masses, was introduced in 1936, followed by the Nuova Fiat 500 in 1957. Discontinued for a while, it reappeared in 2007 in time for its 50th anniversary) Also here is the piazza, or town square, as Italian an icon as you'll get." --The Chicago Tribune

"Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best is a slight but informative and entertaining compendium of all things Italian. Authors Louise Fili and Lise Apatoff write brief and engaging summaries of mores and manners, cultural traditions and icons. The encyclopedic book covers patron saints and Pinocchio, opera and olive oil; gelato and gondolas...While the book is a diverting read, there's also practical advice for those who will be traveling to Italy." --The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"From the A of aceto balsamico to the V of vespa, this gorgeous little hardback has a classy 1920s look, each double-page spread introducing a different element of Italian culture with a short explanation alongside bright, appealing and often vintage photos...What makes this book really stand out is that it sparkles with so many overlooked elements of life in Italy...There is also practical information although the focus is definitely on culture and the tone is light and fun...it pays homage to Italy and does so in a stylish and eclectic way, making the country's icons burst with life. In short, this sleek and sassy guide to Italian culture fa molto bella figura." --The Florentine


"Italianissimo – The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best is a small book, just over 100 pages, but it packs an enormous amount of pleasure into its modest borders. We shouldn't be surprised—it's designed by Louise Fili, one of the truly great graphic designers, and written with Lise Apatoff. Within: Vespas, pasta, Italian light, shoes, soccer, and more. A cover-to-cover delight. " --Manhattan User's Guide

"With the help of Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best, I can do some delightful armchair traveling...This nice square book, with glorious photos and great design, is itself very Italian-and, like a serving of pasta at Dal Bolognese in Rome, just enough to satisy. The book is a list of 50 categories. Each gets a two-page spread: smart text, full-page photo. Like a luxury magazine, only on a single subject-the glory of the Italian spirit...Good enough to eat, yes?" --Jesse Kornbluth, HeadButler.com

“For the veteran or budding Italophile, there's a new book, Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best, by Louise Fili and Lise Apatoff, that offers a special look at all things Italian, from L'Aceto Balsamico (balsamic vinegar) to La Vespa (the wasp-shaped motor scooter)–all in alphabetical order too. For my money, this (and watching almost any Fellini film) is the next best thing to being there. And there's no fare la coda (waiting on line–or not) at il mercato (the market) or suffering le autorita (authority figures) oril maschio (the Italian male) to get a copy.” –The Daily Heller, by Print Magazine

About the Author

Louise Fili is a graphic designer specializing in logo, package, restaurant, type, and book design. She was art director of Pantheon Books from 1978 to 1989, where she designed more than 2,000 book jackets. She has received awards from every major design competition, has taught and lectured on graphic design and typography, and has work is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and is the co-author of eleven books on design. Fili was recently inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame.

A resident of Florence since 1978, Lise Apatoff earned her bachelor of fine arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her master of fine arts from the University of Washington. She is an official museum guide for the city of Florence and has worked all over Italy as a translator, interpreter, tour planner and leader, and museum lecturer. She has been visiting and tasting in kitchens all over Italy for twenty-five years, and for the past decade has been taking lucky guests with her to explore the marvels of the food and culture of Tuscany.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Little Bookroom (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892145545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892145543
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louise Fili is director of Louise Fili Ltd, a New York-based design studio specializing in branding for food packaging and restaurants. Formerly senior designer for Herb Lubalin, Louise Fili was art director of Pantheon Books for eleven years, where she designed close to 2000 book jackets. Fili has taught and lectured on graphic design and typography, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. She is a member of the Art Directors Hall of Fame, and received the medal of lifetime achievement from the AIGA.

Fili is the author of Elegantissima, Grafica della Strada, and Graphique de la Rue. She also co-authored and designed Italianissimo and The Cognoscenti's Guide to Florence. With her husband, the design historian Steven Heller, she is co-author of Italian Art Deco, British Modern, Dutch Moderne, Streamline, French Modern, Deco España, German Modern, Design Connoisseur, Counter Culture, Typology, Stylepedia, Euro Deco, Scripts, Shadow Type, and Stencil Type.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I had expected a fairly comprehensive text on all things Italian, so I was
surprised when a 5 x 5 inch hardcover arrived at my door. The book is a collection of text with photos, of things considered "the best" of Italy or places/ideas that are quintessentially Italian. Each vignette occupies facing pages in the book...photos on one side and text on the other. There are addresses and websites referring the reader to a place (i.e. best place to get gelato) or other information. The photos and illustrations are first rate, and the text offers basic information without overwhelming the reader. A cute display book that doesn't take up too much room on a table...
Comment 46 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I can remember traveling to Italy when the dollar was strong and the lira was downtrodden. Trading dollars for lira was quite the jolly experience --- at the currency exchange in Rome, you practically needed a shopping bag to carry a few hundred dollars in Italian money.

Now the Ferragamo is on the other foot. The Euro reigns supreme, and here in New York, the best restaurants and shops post their prices in dollars and Euros, for the convenience of our currency-advantaged foreign guests.

For the foreseeable future, Americans --- well, my friends and I, anyway --- might as well not have passports.

But if you think I'm going to say that my expedition to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is as satisfying as dinner in the Roman ghetto, dream on. I have only to close my eyes to smell the wood smoke of a Tuscan evening, or hear the madness of traffic in Rome, or see a cathedral ceiling.

And then, when I open my eyes, I can do some smart importing of Italian products and culture --- I can splurge on artisanal foods from Gustiamo.com, watch movies like The Conformist, read about Elizabeth Gilbert's hunt for the perfect pizza in Eat, Pray, Love.

And, with the help of Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best, I can do some delightful armchair traveling.

It doesn't take much to get me dreaming, so I don't want a thick tome. This nice square book, with glorious photos and great design, is itself very Italian --- and, like a serving of pasta at Dal Bolognese in Rome, just enough to satisfy.

The book is a list of 50 categories. Each gets a two-page spread: smart text, full-page photo. Like a luxury magazine, only on a single subject --- the glory of the Italian spirit. Like....
Read more ›
2 Comments 48 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just as a good antipasto plate offers a bite of cheese and a bite of olive, Italianissmo offers a quick nibble of Italian style, food and culture. And like a good appetizer, it leaves it readers hungry for more -- the good way. It's a light, quick read ranging from Italian language and gestures to ceramics and cinema. And, yes, pizza.
Comment 7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This 111 page book is just under 6x6 inches square and has stout covers and heavy glossy paper with loads of lovely pictures to interest the reader. The book is heavy enough not to take along on a trip to Italy and its best uses are to read before you go and to return to once you come back. Its charming contents will rekindle memories and bring happy smiles. The contents of the book revolve around iconic words and phrases, organized alphabetically. Thus, we start with L'Aceto Balsamico' (Balsamic Vinegar), followed by 'L'Aperitivo' (pre-prandial drinks). We move on to 'Authority Figures', an informative short essay on types of police forces; their functions and their uniforms. Next is 'La Bella Figura': the importance of 'looking good' and of behaving properly in a given situation. A selection of other topics includes coffee (a very useful menu decoder as Italians enjoy many special variations), soccer, carnival, colorful ceramic dinnerware, the Italian Woman, ex-voto objects, gelato, a few expressive hand gestures (illustrated and described), open-air markets, Italian fashion, neo-realist cinema, eyeglasses and sunglasses, olive oil, Parmigiano cheese, the evening stroll, pasta types, patron saints, pizza and so on, until we reach 'Vespa', the beloved motor scooter than first brought automobility to the working class and to young men. Each entry is well-written, evocative and succinct: readers get the complete idea but are left open to learning far more about each topic. We are left 'open' to a wonderful culture and to asking ourselves 'what can I read next?'
Comment 5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected this book to be a bit more informative about Italian culture than it turned out to be. It is a fun, miniature book that devotes one page to each of various topics, i.e.,gelato, romance, paper. But if you want a book that actually delves into Italian culture, this is not the book for you.
Comment 8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Italianissimo, The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best, by Luise Fili and Lise Apatoff, is a pocket-sized hardcover book, published by The Little Bookroom of New York, and listed among the travel and guide books of the same publishing house. I recently found my copy in the books section of a trendy gifts and decorative items store, where the intriguing title on the red and white cover of this minute square book first caught my attention. A brief browse through the dazzling pictures and design of its pages was enough to wedge my heart and I decided to take it home.

Witty, informative and elegantly presented, within its small size (the book consists of about 100 pages) Italianissimo (literally very Italian) presents a colorful and unique digest of 50 iconic - and few unknown - symbols of Italian culture, spanning from pasta and the art of eating to the Fiat 500 and post World War II neorealist cinema.

The content of each section is written with great style and complemented by fascinating snapshots of real Italian life style related to the topic. The majority of the photos are unique prints coming from the Photographic Archives of Fratelli Alinari of Florence, the oldest company in the world operating in the photographic industry since its establishment in 1852. Some of the photos are also part of the private collection of Louise Fili.

The authors did a good job of choosing each of the subjects described, unfolding the basic symbols and elements of the Italian culture, without reducing these to a rehashed roundup of Italian stereotypes.
Read more ›
Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best
This item: Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best
Price: $15.03
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com