The name Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, has been used for centuries by European chroniclers and gazetteers in the titles of periodicals that have featured the latest news reports, anecdotes, short stories, and satires. This engaging book, an intermediate-level Italian text, offers an up-to-date and varied portrait of Italy's language, culture, and society by presenting lively excerpts from its literature, news reports, comic books, film reviews, music lyrics, sociological surveys, and more. Every chapter in the book has a theme that is discussed from multiple points of view. The centerpiece of each chapter is a recent work of fiction, which interacts with other literary or sociocultural accounts (sometimes from English-language media outside Italy) to convey a meaningful representation of today's multifaceted Italy. The book also includes numerous exercises on grammar and comprehension. Themes include: -- Italian emigration to North and South America; -- Italy's fascination with bicycles; -- new thoughts about houses and living spaces; -- Italian cities.