A Thousand Bells at Noon: A Roman Reveals the Secrets and Pleasures of His Native City

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9780060519209: A Thousand Bells at Noon: A Roman Reveals the Secrets and Pleasures of His Native City

G. Franco Romagnoli was a mere youth when he left Rome for America, where he made a name for himself as a cookbook author, television personality, and restaurateur. But the love of his native city brought him back to Rome for an extended stay, allowing him to rediscover the sights, smells, and sounds of this urban paradise.

In A Thousand Bells at Noon, Romagnoli shares with readers his visceral and emotional experiences in Rome: its ancient streets and modern shops; it parks; cafés, and hidden gardens; its grand public squares and sacred spaces. As he relives moments from his childhood, reconnects with old friends, and sees through new eyes a modern city steeped in history, you will fall in love with Romagnoli's Rome -- a wondrous place like no other on earth.

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About the Author:

G. Franco Romagnoli, an accomplished chef and restaurateur, was born, raised, and educated in Rome, and moved to the United States in 1955. From 1974 to 1976, he and his late wife, Margaret, wrote and starred in The Romagnolis' Table, a television series on Italian cooking. Their cookbook of the same name and its sequel, The New Romagnolis' Table, have sold nearly 400,000 copies, and for ten years they owned three four-star restaurants in the Boston area. Romagnoli is the author of numerous cookbooks, a frequent contributor of articles on food and travel to newspapers and magazines, and a culinary arts professor at Boston University. Widowed in 1995, he remarried in 1998, and now lives in Boston with his wife, Gwen, a lawyer and writer.

From Publishers Weekly:

Despite the subtitle, this book wavers too much between guidebook and memoir, coming up short in both. Romagnoli, a former restaurateur, who starred with his wife in the mid-1970s' television show The Romagnolis' Table, and who published a bestselling cookbook by the same title, left Rome at age 26. What little narrative exists here concerns a six-month return trip that Romagnoli, now widowed and remarried in his 70s, makes to rediscover the city of his youth. In 13 essays with titles such as "Managing Rome" and "Faith in Rome," the author unleashes a torrent of generalized information about history, government, architecture and transportation, among other topics. But Romagnoli relies too much on cliches: Romans are loud and like to exaggerate; Roman men are mama's boys; Romans are obsessed with fashion; Roman bureaucrats are lazy and take bribes. The author's favorite idea is "Rome is a paradox," which is restated repeatedly. Most disappointing is the section "Eating in Rome" one might expect stronger food writing from someone with Romagnoli's background. The book is most compelling when Romagnoli cuts loose from the deluge of information and shares some personal experiences, such as his dinner with a former schoolmate who he once saved from drowning; his recollections of eating "day-fresh" eggs as a child; and his accounts of working as a young cinematographer in the early days of Cinecitte, the famed epicenter of Italian cinema. In his prologue, Romagnoli gives his reason for undertaking his trip: "I realized that all I knew of Rome was her skin, what can be seen and found in a thousand guidebooks." Sadly, there is too little of the intimate experience that Romagnoli clearly knows, and the information he provides rarely goes beyond what one can find in a decent guidebook.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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