12 Best Books About Italy Update 05/2022

Is it not possible to “transport” yourself somewhere else? Because reading is the best way to learn more about Italy before you go on a trip there, Plus, it’s great for people who want to go somewhere new, because they don’t need a passport. With so many tourists coming from all over the world to visit, there’s no shortage of books about Italy. For this reason, we’ve taken the time to find the best books about Italy. Here are the top 25! Must-read novels include classics, books about Italian culture and travel, history books, historical fiction, romance novels, and mystery novels set in Italy, as well as books about Italy and its people. No matter what kind of book you like to read, you should be able to find an Italy book on this list!

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

The Betrothed is often said to be the most popular and well-known book in the Italian language. In 1628, this historical novel is set in Lombardy and tells the story of Renzo and Lucia, two young people who are getting married soon. Unfortunately, the local baron wants Lucia for himself, so he does everything he can to stop them from getting married, which is bad for them. His interference forces the couple to stay apart for a long time, but their love for each other is still there.

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

As part of theRisorgimento, Garibaldi takes over Sicily in 1860 to make it part of a single Italy. Follow Don Fabrizio Corbera, the Prince of Salina in The Leopard. Corbera is from what’s known as the “Old Order.” Don Fabrizio sees the nobility’s (and his own) downfall coming because of the political turmoil that was going on at the time. So, he has to choose between his old upper-class way of doing things and the new bourgeois way of doing things. A lot of people think The Leopard is one of the most important novels in modern Italian literature. It has sold a lot of copies over the years.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

There are four good English women who leave rainy England to go on a vacation in Italy. The story is called “The Enchanted April.” If you see an ad for a small medieval castle in Portofino, even though these women have never met each other, they all answer the same question. People who travel together can connect because they all have different backgrounds and personalities, but they do so over the shared experience of going on a trip. This book is very popular with book clubs. It is even said to have made Portofino a popular place to go on vacation.

Italian culture & travel books

Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks

An important book for anyone who wants to move to Italy is “Italian Neighbor.” Tim Parks, on the other hand, is very good at explaining the intricacies of the Italian mind to other foreigners. This book, in particular, talks about his first year living in Montecchio, which is a small town near Verona. Parks makes this travel book unique by focusing on his relationships with his neighbors and getting to know the people who live in the town where he was living. It also makes sense that some memoirs about living in Italy are more romantic, but Parks talks about the cultural differences between Italy and the United States (British culture).Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Because of this, Under the Tuscan Sun is a lighter movie about life in Italy than Tim Parks is. What person hasn’t dreamed of owning a home in the Tuscan countryside? In this book, Mayes tells us a wonderful story about doing just that. You can expect to read about the people, history, and food of Tuscany, as well as the renovation process and the food in the area. This memoir has become so popular that it has been translated into 54 languages and even made into a 2003 comedy-drama film called “At the Movies,” which is about the same thing.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

In Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert tells a fun story about how she grew as a person through travel. This book is still worth reading, even though it doesn’t take place entirely in Italy. Rome is one of three places she visits. During her trip around the world, Gilbert realizes that her marriage isn’t going well. She wants to find out what she wants out of life. During her time in Italy, she spends four months learning “the art of pleasure.” She also eats all of Rome’s best food. Her time in Italy will make readers want to live vicariously through her.

Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb

Robb talks about the Mafia and La Cosa Nostra in Midnight in Sicily. This is a very interesting part of Sicilian life that Robb talks about in the book. The Australian writer Robb has lived in Palermo for 14 years decides to learn more about the Mafia, its role in Sicilian society, and how it ties into Italy. The book mostly talks about La Cosa Nostra, Andreotti, and the extreme violence of the 1970s and 1980s. However, there are also some sidebars and chapters that talk about Sicilian food, culture, and literature, as well as other things that happen in the book.

La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind by Beppe Severgnini

In contrast to most books about Italian life, La Bella Figura gives an inside look at how Italians think about their own country and what they think about living there. When Severgnini wrote this book instead of a travel guide, he took us on a tour of Milano, Naples, and Rome. He told us about the people he met and the things he did. On this trip, he tells you about the rules of Italian culture that aren’t written down. He also tells you how to follow them. Severgnini also talks about the difference between tourists’ romantic idea of Italy and the Italian idea of Italia.

Italian history books

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

SPQR stands for “Sentus Populusque Rmnus,” which means “The Roman Senate and People,” but that’s not what it means at all. In her history of Rome, Mary Beard focuses on how Rome grew instead of how it fell and died. Indeed, she starts her book with Rome’s mythical beginning and ends it in 212 AD. She does a great job of describing what it was like to live in Rome at different times in its history. She talks about politics, poetry, costs, hygiene, and a lot of other things, too.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

If you don’t want to read Gibbon’s six-volume “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” Amazon has a shorter version that you can buy there! This edition has 795 pages, which is a lot easier to read. Scholars still enjoy going back and reading Gibbon’s writing, even though it has been 200 years since it was first published. It’s a good book for anyone who wants to learn more about Roman or Classical history.

Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King

At a competition in Florence in 1418, the winner would build the church of St. Maria del Fiore. During this time, the Florence cathedral was being built. It had been going on for more than 120 years, but no one could figure out how to build the huge dome that was needed for the design. Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith, came along and won the competition. He then changed the way architecture was done, which led to Brunelleschi’s Dome. His best-known work is still there in Florence today. In addition, he is now thought of as the first engineer of the Renaissance and the first architect of the modern world.

Historical fiction about Italy

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

History-based WWII spy stories are what Beneath A Scarlet Sky is all about. If you like that kind of thing, it’s probably a good book for you. Pino Lella, a young man from Milan, is made to join the German army by his family and friends. While everyone else isn’t aware, he’s actually using his job as a driver for a powerful Nazi general in Italy to work for the Allies and spy on them. It’s based on real people and Pino’s real experiences from 1943 to 1945.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend is the first book in Elena Ferrante’s best-selling Neapolitan series, and it’s a favorite of many. It tells the story of two friends, Elena and Lila, as they grow up in Naples in the 1950s and 60s. They live in a poor neighborhood. It all starts with the girls’ earliest memories, and then we follow the push and pull of their friendship all the way until they are adults. In 2018, HBO started making a TV show with the same name. It’s going to adapt all four books over the course of four seasons, and it’s going to happen over the course of three years.

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