Italy and the Sea by Paolo Frascani - This book is meant as a history of the rediscovery of nineteenth and twentieth-century Italy’s maritime identity, after a decline that lasted several centuries during which the Italy of communes and Sea Republics gradually lost its leadership at sea. It narrates the restoring of the sea as an element in Italy’s self-representation as a nation, showing how this occurred in the context of a cultural, political and institutional debate. The book discusses values, feelings of belonging and identity models, drawing on a broad range of sources including historiographic literature, narratives, coeval journalism, audiovisual sources, cinema, etc. In pursuing these objectives, Frascani displays a sense of urgency and enjoyment as he freely roams about the sea, giving us the broad picture. As he spins out his narration, he does not lose sight of landscape, demographic, social and economic transformations. His book is also a history of the factors behind the transformative processes that have shaped the seas and coasts of Italy as they appear to us today. Several problematic issues are also addressed here, such as the complexity of periodization, the role of geographical scale, changes in the historical perception of environmental values, and the risks of a new ideological representation.
Keywords: History, sea, rediscovery, identity