An exuberant history of postwar Rome, as seen through the lenses of its burgeoning filmmakers and paparazzi.
1950s Rome. From the ashes of war, the Eternal City is reborn as the epicentre of film, style, boldfaced libertinism and titillating journalism. It's the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci and Brioni, and the height of 'Hollywood on the Tiber', when a dizzying array of stars flock to Cinecitta, the huge movie studio on the outskirts of Rome. At the bars on Via Veneto the likes of Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor mix with blue bloods and bohemians, while behind them trail street photographers in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.
In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, Shawn Levy shows how all roads lead to Federico Fellini's world-conquering movie La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. He recreates Rome's ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city's magnificent transformation.
Shawn Levy's uproariously readable book explains the genesis, summit and decline of 'Hollywood on the Tiber' ... He is a master of the group biography, pacing his chapters for maximum suspense and revelation ... The climactic story is a humdinger - SUNDAY TIMES
[A]n exuberant portrait of postwar Rome ... [Levy] brings an infectious and freewheeling enthusiasm to every page as he reintroduces us to the extravagant romanticism of fast cars, reckless hedonism, and beautiful people behind the resurrection of the Eternal City
Shawn Levy is a former film critic for The Oregonian newspaper and the bestselling author of RAT PACK CONFIDENTIAL, PAUL NEWMAN: A LIFE, DOLCE VITA CONFIDENTIAL and THE CASTLE ON SUNSET. His work has appeared in major publications including the NEW YORK TIMES, the LOS ANGELES TIMES, the GUARDIAN, the INDEPENDENT and SIGHT AND SOUND. He lives in Portland, Oregon.