Blog posts tagged with 'john hooper'

Grosseto, Italy
Kindly contributed by Italy correspondent for The Economist John Hooper, who explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in his new, illuminating portrait The Italians. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the country as it exists today.
  For the traveller, unexpected discoveries are commonplace; unexpected journeys are rarer. I had been at a conference in Siena. On the night before my departure, there was one of those apocalyptic storms that break surprisingly often in the skies over Italy. At the railway station the next day they told me the line to Florence was impassable -- hopelessly flooded. The only way back to Rome was by way of Grosseto.
The Italians
“No one would choose to start a book at Porta Pia,” John Hooper’s new book begins. And of course, that is exactly where his cultural portrait, The Italians, places the reader, in what Hooper calls “one of the least attractive corners of central Rome,” where Michelangelo’s gate stands among a barrage of architectural styles, each evocative of a different era. The confused aesthetic of the area surrounding Porta Pia might not be the most picturesque landscape Italy has to offer the traveler, but Hooper manages to find something essential in the mix of modern and ancient buildings.