'Brilliant, fascinating and very funny-A highly enjoyable book' Times Literary Supplement
Is Italy a united country, or a loose afffiliation of warring states? Is Italian football a sport, or an ill-disguised protraction of ancient enmities? After twenty years in the bel paese, Tim Parks goes on the road to follow the fortunes of Hellas Verona football club, to pay a different kind of visit to some of the world's most beautiful cities, and to get a fresh take on the conundrum that is national character.
From Udine to Catania, from the San Siro to the Olimpico, this is a highly personal account of one man's relationship with a country, its people and its national sport. A book that combines the tension of cliff-hanging narrative with the pleasures of travel writing, and the stimulation of a profound analysis of one country's mad, mad way of keeping itself entertained.
“Addictive reading...each chapter is a short story, the whole book an epic”
“Parks knows his football, and he knows Italy still better. His adopted country, in all its enduring and exasperating strengths and weaknesses, comes vividly to life”
“A fascinating emotional journey... His descriptions of Italian football are descriptions of Italy itself, its regional differences, its squabbles, its distinctive temper”
“An enthralling, insightful account of the real Italy”