I wish to walk the streets that the ancient Romans once hewed out of rock and stone. I wish to see the same buildings that inspired a generation of artists and, eventually, the world. I wish to float through the city that enjoyed a millennium of democratic rule. I even wish to trod the treacherous, bloody path that the Allies took to liberate Italy.
It’s very possible that if I was to choose my favorite cuisine, it would be Italian. What’s not to love? There’s pasta, pastries, gelato, cotoletta, croquette, and mozzarella.
The modern world owes a great debt to Italy: It gave us Latin (a common language) and Roman law; it gave us a Renaissance of classical thought; it gave us some of the most beloved works of art. It gives us pasta and mozzarella (which alone should earn our eternal gratitude).
Perversely, it’s my tirade in the form of a review, that makes me think this book is worth reading. Anything that brings out so much emotion and provokes so much thought is worth the effort.
War can harden or humble a person. Some of these characters allowed it to turn them into better people.
The Allied commanders were ordinary men thrust into a difficult situation and expected to be extraordinary. They made mistakes, but they also did the best they could. They were heroic enough.
This book is beautiful and romantic with a thread of hope that weaves throughout the entire plot, turning the death and destruction of war into a glimpse of the human capacity for good.
You can’t chase after happiness; it’s inside, a choice we make. Elizabeth Gilbert realizes this in time. She finds happiness not by exploring a new place, but by exploring an old one—namely, the walls and corridors and culture of her own soul.