2015. In the pages of this book, it is my intention to offer a totally different picture of the Italians from that which normally springs to mind. The popular stereotype projects an exceptionally pleasant and easy image of Italy and the Italians but inevitably it is rather superficial. I hasten to add, however, that it is not entirely the fault of other nationalities that such an image prevails; in my view, the Italians themselves have to carry a great deal of responsibility for it. Take them all in all, I detest these Italians beyond measure. they are Yoricks skull with the worms in it, nothing of humanity left but the smell. (John Ruskin) Without Italy I am beggared. Though God saw fit to make me an Englishman, it was in Italy I caught my first glimpse of heaven. (Edward Hutton) The trouble with Italy s national genius, however, is that the clash between civic duties on the one hand, and private and family business on the other, is too great; individualism causes the pendulum between the two to swing too far in a particular way, always in favour of the particulare . That is the reason why individuality does not lead to national unity: indeed, the situation is quite the reverse.