Aldo Palazzeschi

In the alleys and piazzas of contemporary Rome, among ruins new and old, people lead their fantastic lives made of mold and velvet, of dream and speculation. As much at home in the raucous inns as under the eaves of a cathedral, they blend, with a touch of ribaldry, the past and the future.

There is the Prince of Santo Stefano, whose days of austere dedication begin every morning with six o'clock mass; his daughter Norina, who hopes that adultery will bring her peace of mind; his son Gherardo, who finds a rich life supported by wealthy women more congenial to his tastes than the hard comforts of a clean conscience. And there is Checco, the flat-footed and blindly faithful servant of the old Prince: his highest aspiration is to don forever the habit of a monk; Mrs. Sequi, heiress to a long line of sausage- makers, who conquers Roman society with her outstanding chef and the help of her millions.

Unlikely, but real, all these characters belong to Rome: the city which reconciles extremes in its crucible of deep humanity.

This translation, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, preserves the lyrical elegance of the original.

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