In this spirited memoir, veteran TV journalist Paul Paolicelli does what many of us can only dream of--he picks up and moves to a foreign country in an attempt to trace his ancestral roots. With the help of Luigi, his guide and companion, he travels through Italy--Rome, Gamberale, Matera, Miglionico, Alessandria, even Mussolini's hometown of Predappio--and discovers the tragic legacy of the Second World War that is still affecting the Old Country. He visits ancient castles and village churches, samples superb Italian cuisine, haggles at the open air market at Porta Portese, enjoys and Alessandria siesta, and frequents "coffee bars", where beggars discuss politics with affluent Italian locals. He finds lost-lost cousins during the day and performs with an amateur jazz group during the night. Along the way, he discovers deeply moving stories about his family's past and learns answers to question that have plagued him since childhood.
More that just a spiritual account of one man's ancestral search, Dances With Luigi is also a stunning portrait of la bella Italia--both old and new--that is painted beautifully in all of its glamour, history, and contradiction.