Books, blogs and tips on national cultures

Hola, salut, ciao, aboutye. Cultural identity has never been more important. Travel, relocation to a new country, language studies – all are immeasurably enhanced by cultural understanding, by getting to know the lifestyle, art, architecture, literature, politics, film and food of the country you’ve taken to heart. Only with immersion and awareness will you avoid the dreaded culture shock.

Speak the Culture works as an amiable, exhaustive guide to that process, unlocking the great figures of creative culture, from Almodovar to Zola, and helping you grasp the wider culture of everyday life. It began with a cultural guidebook on France, and then came books on Spain, Great Britain and Italy. Now we’re stirring the debate on the web – probing and questioning to unlock the secrets and joys of national culture.

When culture is not enough

Latest in blog:

It is now easier to think of Berlusconi than it is of Botticelli, to get the image of Bunga Bunga rather than of a building by Brunelleschi.


Free downloads

Download chapters from our series of cultural guidebooks free of charge.


What the critics said about Speak the Culture

Speak the Culture Italy is a guidebook with a difference. Rather than suggesting itineraries across Italian landmarks, it steers people through that intricate maze that is Italian culture. Speak the Culture does provide a rare insight on Italian life, culture, and society. Rather remarkably, it also avoids most of the stereotypes that often plague efforts of this kind, painting a realistic picture of the country rather than indulging in a rose-tinted portrait of an imaginary Dolce Vita idyll. Even better, all this comes packaged in a witty, humorous style.
Carla Passino Italy Magazine


French Icons: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Toulouse-Lautrec only grew to a height of 4ft 11in. Some have suggested that years of inbreeding by his aristocratic heirs (his parents were cousins) caused the genetic disease that stunted his growth. He seemed unperturbed, oftencommenting: “I may only be a small coffee pot, but I have a big spout”.


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Adam Mickiewicz Institute, promoting Polish culture throughout the world

News and advice from France

French English newspaper for Pézenas and the Herault region; le journal local des délocalisés
French English newspaper for Pézenas and the Herault region; le journal local des délocalisés

Resident Speak the Culture artist Johnny Bull

Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK

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