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Literary Italy

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Anne and Jim welcome you to Literary Italy, a joyous romp through the books and the landscape of the bel paese. Join us as we share our love of the literature, the people, the land, and the experience that is Italy.

Anne and Jim welcome you to Literary Italy, a joyous romp through the books and the landscape of the bel paese. Join us as we share our love of the literature, the people, the land, and the experience that is Italy.


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Anne and Jim welcome you to Literary Italy, a joyous romp through the books and the landscape of the bel paese. Join us as we share our love of the literature, the people, the land, and the experience that is Italy.




Ep. 49: Abandon all hope, ye who listen to this podcast

This week: Canto III of Dante's Divine Comedy!


Ep. 48: Daphne Phelps' "A House In Sicily"

This week we talk about A House in Sicily, a 1999 memoir by Daphne Phelps. Phelps was the owner of Casa Cuseni, a hotel for artists and writers that opened in 1947. It takes guests to this day while also serving as a museum in Taormina.


Ep. 47: Michelangelo

We all know Michelangelo as a giant of sculpture and painting, but, a true "Renaissance Man," he also wrote hundreds of poems. Anne and Jim dip into the life of this fascinating figure. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show on Michelangelo's poetry


Ep. 46: Interview with Wendy Holloway of Flavor of Italy

Our guest this week is Wendy Holloway, host of Flavor of Italy, a weekly podcast focused Italian food, culture, and travel. Wendy shares with us springtime foods and traditions of Rome and beyond. What could be better than a picnic of fava beans and pecorino cheese? Be sure to check out Wendy's website for stories, travel tips, and some pretty amazing recipes!


Ep. 45: E. M. Forster's A Room with a View

Anne and Jim are back in Tuscany for E. M. Forster's A Room with a View, which helped them love Italy and Florence before they had ever set eyes on it.


Ep.44: Goldoni's Servant of Two Masters

Our guest today is Jay Malarcher. Jay is Associate Professor and Program Director of Theater History and Criticism at West Virginia University. Also, he first introduced Anne and me to each other, many years ago at St. John’s College. He’s a dramaturge, director, actor, and a great friend of the show. Anne and I reflected on a performance we saw a few years ago of Carlo Goldini’s Servant of Two Masters, and we knew Jay would be the perfect person to talk about this play, as well as commedia...


Ep. 43: Dacia Maraini / Bagheria, Sicily

We're back with an episode on Dacia Maraini, one of the most fascinating and prolific Italian writers today. We talk about her memoir, Bagheria, named for the town of the same name just outside Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily.


Ep. 42: Minucius Felix / Ostia Antica

Our guest today, Mike Aquilina, has been a friend of ours for years. A prolific writer and authority on Patristics (the writings of the Church Fathers). He’s also a lyricist with rock and roll icon Dion. Mike is the host of the Way of the Fathers podcast, and when we heard his episode on Marcus Minucius Felix and his dialogue Octavius, set in Ostia Antica just outside Rome, we thought, that ought to be an episode of Literary Italy. And now it is.


Ep. 41: Verga / Catania

The short story "Cavalleria Rusticana" (translation online). Later, a tour of Catania, Giovanni Verga's birthplace.


Ep. 40: The Sicilian School, Frederick II of Sicily, and Giacomo da Lentini

In this episode, we talk about the importance of the Sicilian School, and read from the sonnets of Giacomo (Jacopo) da Lentini (alas, only in Tuscan and English -- the original Sicilian is lost to us). We also touch on the life of Frederick II of Sicily. Enjoy!


Ep. 39: Pirandello / Agrigento

We get META all over the place. Luigi Pirandello's play Six Characters in Search of an Author is one of the most famous and most influential dramatic works of the 20th century. We talk about Pirandello, his hometown of Agrigento in Sicily, and, of course, those Six Characters...


Ep. 38: Ungaretti / Lucca, Tuscany and Sagrado, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

In this episode we discuss poet Giuseppe Ungaretti's early collection, Allegria, recently translated into English by Geoffrey Brock. A poet of few words, but so much feeling. We also talk about Lucca in Tuscany, where Ungaretti's family was from, and Sagrado in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in northeast Italy, where Ungaretti fought in World War I, and wrote many of these amazing poems.


Ep. 37: I Promessi Sposi / Lake Como



Ep. 36: La Befana - Pascoli

Buona Befana! We celebrate New Year's and Epiphany with the a poem by Giovanni Pascoli.


Ep. 35: Piazza Navona at Christmas - Belli

Christmas markets in Italy! We talk about the Piazza Navona market in Rome, and the poet Giuseppe Gioacchino ("GG" to his friends) Belli, author of over 2,000 sonnets about priests, prostitutes, paupers, princes...and Piazza Navona!


Ep.34: Interview with Elizabeth Namack of My Italian Treasures

This week we interview Elizabeth Namack and discuss her unique approach to Italian travel planning. Liz shares her perspective on trends in Italian travel as she tells the story of her personal journal from the United States to her life in Florence. Visit My Italian Treasures to learn more about her services and her attitudes toward travel!


Ep.33: Mathilde Serao's "To the Tenth Muse" / Neapolitan Christmas

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and we are getting dizzy from the evocation of the street scenes of Naples, with butcher shops dangling carcasses, the perfumed scents of flowers, herbs, vegetables, cod and eels! We read Mathilde Serao's "To the Tenth Muse." And Jim has a vivid hallucination of a mechanical monkey banging a cymbal. Please get us some help.


Ep. 32: Pliny the Younger - Pompeii

Anne and Jim travel south geographically and backwards in time to the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, witnessed by Pliny the Younger. Cynthia Damon's translation of Pliny's letters on Pompeii Map of Vesuvius, Misenum, Herculaneum, and Pompeii Pliny's letters from Volcanoes of Europe by Scarth and Tanguy


Ep. 31: Dante, Inferno Canto 2, and Florence

In this episode we return to Dante and to Florence with Canto 2 of the Inferno! Dante is sort of like the middle of the Bingo card of Italian literature--plus this year marks the 700th anniversary of his death (Jim asks Anne during the podcast what the precise date is, and she fluffs and fumbles, but the answer is September 1321). In addition, we talk about some of our favorite slightly-off-the-beaten-path places to visit in Florence. Enjoy!


Ep. 30: Ortese / Naples, Rapallo

Join us for Anna Maria Ortese's "A Pair of Eyeglasses" in Neapolitan Chronicles (Italian: Il mare non bagna Napoli ). Published in English for the first time in decades in 2018, Ortese gives us a gritty glimpse of postwar Naples in a slice-of-life tale about . . . optometry. Ortese retired to Rapallo in Liguria and died there in 1998. Un paio di occhiali Neapolitan Chronicles