Kill Your Inner Tourist (Special Edition), featuring Pellegrino D’Acierno

Tanti Auguri Babbo, Happy Birthday Dad!

On the eve of a milestone birthday, I sat down with my father, Pellegrino D’Acierno, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies at Hofstra University, for an unscripted and unedited talk about his life as a “professional Italian”.

In this special episode, streaming on his 80th birthday, we have a father daughter heart to heart that spans everything from the great auteurs of Italian cinema, to aesthetics, the notions of the bella and the brutta figura, and “cafone radar”. We also touch upon our love for Italy, our special connections to Venice and Naples, how to outfox sommeliers, the beauty and significance of the caffè sospeso, and the importance of Xenia in Italian culture. Finally, we grapple with problems related to over tourism and the idea of killing one’s inner tourist by engaging with Italy and Italians in a profound way.

Some notes and further resources

View Pellegrino D’Acierno’s Biography, Author Page and Frank Lentricchia’s preface to the Fat Man Arpeggios…

Xenia – The law/custom of offering protection and hospitality to strangers (cf. its opposite: xenophobia). The law/custom was felt to be so fundamental to human civilized life that its patron was Zeus xenios: “Zeus the god who protects strangers.” Source:…

Sgraffito – (Italian: “scratched”), in the visual arts, a technique used in painting, pottery, and glass, which consists of putting down a preliminary surface, covering it with another, and then scratching the superficial layer in such a way that the pattern or shape that emerges is of the lower colour.


The Caffè Sospeso

Caffè Sospeso – Coffee for All (2017 Documentary, Fulvio Iannucci, Roly Santos)

In Naples, Gift of Coffee to Strangers Never Seen…

The word pellegrino translates to pilgrim in English

Lucio is Lucio Pozzi, one of Italy’s most important contemporary artists, who illustrated both The Fat Man Arpeggios and 13 Ways of Crossing the Piazza.

I think Giada was actually around 7 years old when she steered that Gondola

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