…so the song goes.
The man who made it famous, the late Dean Martin, was so conspicuously Italian that one wonders just what he felt he was doing when he anglicised his name (from Dino Martini, although he was born Dino Crocetti in Ohio in 1917).
But Martin or Crocetti, the essence of the song remains the same – that’s love, and love and romance are emotions that one instinctively associates with the Latin way – to the dreamy cultural allure of the Eternal City to the intangible beauty of the spoken language itself.
Dean Martin of course was far from being a lone ambassador of Italian amore. The old crooner Frank Sinatra sang about it, da Vinci painted it, Michelangelo sculpted it, Verdi composed it, Rossini wrote it, Zeffirelli directed it and sex symbol actresses Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren exuded it on the silver screen.
Even the modern convertible couch was the creation of an Italian, one Bernard Castro back in the earlier days of the last century.
Indeed when Italy was born as a nation united under the House of Savoy in the late nineteenth century it was shaped in the romantic vision of the Risorgimento by the great patriots Garibaldi and Mazzini.
Perhaps this is the reason why the Italians put so much love and affection into their food. At Eco, the Clapham pizza restaurant, one can sense the passion that goes into every pizza and every item of food that is brought to the table.
Few people are neutral about pizza. For those who enjoy it it is an experience to savour, a taste to enjoy to the full. All the ingredients that comprise the delightful topping fuse seamlessly into a finished product that is a masterpiece well worthy of consigning to canvas, carving in marble or even of composing an opera about.