Italy awaits! With or without a plane ticket

Come travel with La Dolce Vita University (LDVU) to the heart of Italian culture in the seductive spirit of la dolce vita. Like a box of Italian sweets, LDVU is the perfect sampler to indulge anyone curious about—or already in amore with—Italy and its remarkably rich trove of cultural treasures. In dozens of entertaining yet authoritative mini-essays, LDVU lets you explore, at your leisure and pleasure, fascinating aspects of Italy’s cuisine, history, art, traditions, style, legendary personalities, and so much more. Even the most sophisticated Italophile will discover dazzling new facts and illuminating new insights in these pages. Charmingly illustrated, La Dolce Vita University brings Italy to life with wit, exuberance and joy—a celebration of why we love Italy.


Lannie Hart


Michael Stein



The title—La Dolce Vita University—captures the great virtues of this reader-friendly book perfectly: it’s delicious and educational at the same time, with each virtue reinforcing the other.

This book sustains that combination masterfully. It is a complete delight to read, but (as a professor of Renaissance literature for many decades) I’m happy to report that the authors know their stuff. The research is careful and the analysis is intelligent and witty. I learned amazing new things about dozens of topics—Artemisia, Burano, Casanova, Dante, and onward through the alphabet to zanni. It’s written in prose as clear, bright, crisp, and lively as a spring morning in the Dolomites. Add to that graceful but also playful prose, the talent of skilled storytellers, and it’s no wonder that the entries stay so fascinating.

La Dolce Vita University makes me crave a return to Italy, and helps me daydream that I’m already there. Like an ideal platter of antipasti, it’s made of deliciously varied bites you can pick your way through. If you want—or want to give a friend—an appetizer that will rouse up a hunger for the glory and festivity of that wonderful place and its no less wonderful culture, this book is perfect.”

Robert N. Watson, PhD.
Distinguished Professor of English,
Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation, UCLA

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An enlightening, entertaining guide to the history behind so much of what we love about Italian cuisine and culture. As a chef and cooking enthusiast I enjoyed the variety of information and perspective on the Italian and Sicilian culture. From antiquity to today, reading this special history written with color and style is a pure joy for the food aficionado and any lover of Italy. You won’t want to miss reading through any part of this book.”

Chef Bert Cutino, CEC, AAC, HOF, WCMC
The Sardine Factory Restaurant, Cannery Row, Monterey, CA

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La Dolce Vita University is an authentic full immersion in Italian culture, history, art, traditions, and more. Fun, funny, and informative. Brava!”

Cristiano Bonino
Founder & Director

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Imagine it as a dessert course of dark chocolates, filled with exotic fruits and nuts, packed knowledge and love of history and art and her own wisdom and wit, Italian, American, global.

The chocolates are alphabetically listed, described and presented beautifully, and offered as something to dip into as you wish. You open it, choose the one you think you will like best, then another, and another. Suddenly it’s gone. Because Carla wears her scholarship lightly, you don’t feel over full, but what a feast!”

Denise Scott Brown RIBA, Int. FRIBA
Winner of the Jane Drew Prize for Women in Architecture

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For someone who is of Italian heritage and anyone who loves Italian food, wine, and culture, this is a must read. Loved it!”

Ted J. Balestreri
Chairman & CEO, Cannery Row Company, Monterey, CA

Recipient of the National Restaurant Association’s Legends Award

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Carla is the consummate Italian. Mille grazie for sharing your extensive knowledge, insights and fascinating little-known backstories with such affection and humor!”

Joan Tucci
Co-Author, The Tucci Cookbook

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Excellent! Bravissima! Delightfully informative, a book to enrich any reader’s life with a greater appreciation of Italian culture—even in everyday experiences here at home, from visiting an art museum to dining in a local Italian restaurant, or from cooking for friends and family to the usage of common expressions and words. Not to mention, it might just inspire you to hop on a plane!”

Commendatore Professor Carlo Sclafani
Suny Distinguished Professor,
Former Chairperson of the Modern Languages Department at Westchester Community College

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An obvious love of all things Italian is evident in every essay of this quirky, delicious, and absolutely delightful book. From A to Z topics are peppered with insights, memories, fun factoids, and the intrigues of history. Whether you are a seasoned globetrotter or an armchair-traveler, La Dolce Vita University will inspire you to dig deeper into the magic and allure of Italia.”

Tara Coniaris
Secretary, Board of Trustees at Katonah Museum of Art

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I believe that most rewarding travel experiences are those that engage the senses and enrich you emotionally and intellectually. Reading La Dolce Vita University is a great armchair vacation that captures the essence of Italy. This is the one book to read before visiting Italy—or to put you in the mood for your next one.”

Lauren Hefferon
Founder & Director
Ciclismo Classico and Travel Vision Journeys

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LDVU’s 165 mini-essays surprise, intrigue and “edu-tain.” Collectively they begin to express what Carla finds so endlessly captivating about “the Boot.” Their organization appears as alphabetical. But nothing is ever quite that straightforward when it comes to Italy. Even if you choose to read the book sequentially you may very well feel as though you’re wandering the mysterious alleys of a medieval town, the hidden vicoli of a larger city, or even along the serpentine canals of La Serenissima. Unexpected connections emerge and fresh discoveries await around each corner. Or perhaps you’ll choose to dip in and out of this volume at random. Either way, just relax—you’re in Italia!—and enjoy the passeggiata. It will lead you to new insights and marvelous revelations. Italy is a glorious and fascinating mosaic. Consider the following passages just a few of its glittering tesserae.

Readers who are planning to visit a specific Italian city or region may wish to consult the special LDVU Traveler’s Topic Index at the end of the book.

» Download La Dolce Vita University's table of contents (PDF)
» Download La Dolce Vita University's excerpts (PDF)





Upcoming Events



Wed June 6, 7 PM, Trivia Challenge Italian Style and book signing, The Ridgefield Library in collaboration with Books on the Common, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 203 438-2282

Sun June 10, 4 PM, Trivia Challenge Italian Style, Book Signing, Wine & Cheese Reception Larchmont Public Library, Larchmont, NY 10538


Fri July 13, 4 PM, Italian Foodie Trivia Challenge presented by La Dolce Vita "U"; test your knowledge, discover fun facts, win prizes; Arthur Avenue Summer Concert Series, East 186th Street and Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY 

Tue July 17, 7 PM,  La Dolce Vita "U" presents Trivial Pursuit Italian-Style -- test your knowledge, discover new fun facts, win prizes, espresso and dolci reception; in collaboration with the Italian American Museum and Capri Ristorante 145 Mulberry Street, NY, NY

Fri July 27, 4 PM, Italian Foodie Trivia Challenge presented by La Dolce Vita "U"; test your knowledge. discover fun  facts, win prizes; Arthur Avenue Summer Concert Series, East 186th Street and Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY 


Sat Aug 10, 4 PM,  Dolce Vita "U" presents Trivial Pursuit Italian Style; book signing and vino e formaggio reception;  Explore Booksellers, 21 East Main Street,  Aspen, CO


Fri Sept 7, 7 PM, Trivia Challenge Italian Style test your knowledge and discover new fun facts; espresso and cannoli reception;  Westchester Italian Cultural Center, One Generoso Pope Place, Tuckahoe, NY 10707 - http://wiccny.org/



Thurs May 31, 7 PM
The Alchemy of Italy presentation and Book Signing, Warner Library 121 North Broadway, Tarrytown NY 10591

Thurs May 17, 6-8 PM, La Dolce Vita Giro d'Italia ” Spin, Spuntini,Vino,  Raffle & Book SigningEquinox of Armonk

Wed May 23, 7:30 PM Trivia Challenge Italian-Style and Book Signing. Head House Books, 619 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA

Wed May 16, 6:30 PM The Alchemy of Italy presentation and book signing, Columbus Citizens Foundation, 8 East 69th Street NY, NY, 10021 http://columbuscitizens.org/events

Mon May 7, 4 PM, The Alchemy of Italy presentation and book signing Bronxville Public Library, 201 Pondfield Road, Bronxville, NY10708

Sat May 5, 6 PM Trivia Challenge Italian-Style, I AM Books, 189 North St. Boston, MA 857 263 7665 https://www.iambooksboston.com/

Thurs May 3, 6:30 Meet the Authors Wine & Cheese, Elm Street Books, 35 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT o6840 http://www.elmstreetbooks.com/


Sat April 28, 4 PM, Triva Challenge Italian Style, Book Passage Corte Madera, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA

Sat April 21, 7:00 PM, Trivia Challenge Italian-Style, Dolphin Books and Cafe,  299 Main Street, Port Washington, NY;  Register by phone $5 518 767 2650 .http://thedolphinbookshop.com/index.html

Thurs April 19, 6:30 PM, The Alchemy of Italy presentation and book signing Westchester Italian Cultural Center, One Generoso Pope Place, Tuckahoe, NY 10707 - http://wiccny.org/

Fri April 13, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Main Line School Night, Creutzburg Center 102, 260 Gulph Creek Rd. Radnor, PA 19087.

Mon April 9, 7-9 PM, Circolo DaVinci at Little Sorrento's RTE 202 in Parkside Mall 3565 Crompond Road, Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567. Dinner and presentation $35 per person.

Mon April 2, 7-10 PM, Sicilian Meet-Up and Cultural Trivia Night, 83 1/3 Restaurant, 345 East 83rd Street, NY, NY


Sat March 24, 4 PM, Katonah Village Library, 26 Bedford Road, Katonah, New York 10536


(Pre-launch) Thurs Feb. 22, 6:30 PM, Italian American Museum, 155 Mulberry Street, NY




Use the contact form to reach Carla for any questions and press info


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