A Thousand Bells at Noon: A Roman Reveals the Secrets and Pleasures of His Native City

A Thousand Bells at Noon chronicles one of G. Franco Romagnoli's lengthy returns trip to Rome, during which he reflects on his native city's many odd but endearing qualities.  Each chapter begins with a photograph of Rome and focuses on a single topic Roman healthcare, Roman cuisine, Roman bureaucracy, and Roman death rituals, to name a few.  As a chef, Romagnoli's passages about food are particularly compelling, and he brings the sights, sounds, and tastes of his city to life.

"He proceeds to tell me the carciofo e buono e bello: in the artichoke, goodness and beauty go hand in hand.  'Look at it!'  He holds an artichoke at arm's length, revolving it slowly.  'If nature had not invented it, I'm sure Leonardo da Vinci would have!'"

G. Franco Romagnoli (1926-2008) was a chef, author, cinematographer, and restaurant owner.  Born in Italy, he moved to the United States in the 1950s.  His last book, The Bicycle Runner, was published posthumously and chronicles his time as a messenger for the resistance in fascist Italy.

Published:  2002
Length:  232 pages
Set in: Rome, Italy