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A Beautiful Figure and 'The Italian Mind'

Beppe Severgnini is a newspaper columnist who's been helping fellow Italians make sense of U.S. culture for years. Now, he is turning his wit toward his homeland, exploring the nuances of life in modern Italy.

For instance, as Severgnini tells NPR's Michele Norris, he believes traffic laws are interpreted a bit differently in Italy.

Instead of red meaning "stop" and green meaning "go," he says, for Italians a traffic light is the beginning of a "philosophical investigation."

Severgnini's new book is La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind. In addition to the best-selling Ciao, America!, Severgnini writes for Corriere della Sera, the largest daily in Italy.

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