Being a huge bookworm my whole life means whenever I want to learn something new, I dive into any book I can get my hands on about that subject.
So naturally, when we booked a trip to Italy, I started researching all the books available about the cities we were traveling. Oh man, there were THOUSANDS. I checked out so many books from the library and ordered even more on Amazon.
There were some I read that were total duds or just repeating the same information I already read. So if you are traveling to Italy this summer, I got you covered on the ultimate Italian Reading List. You can thank me later for saving you SO much time flipping through blogs, reading useless books, or wasting time at the library trying to find the perfect book.
Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin
“Covering all of Italy– restaurants, trattorias, food fairs, festivals, bakeries, coffee bars, wine bars, bookstores, gourmet shops, markets, vineyards, farms, wineries, olive oil, cooking schools, and much more!”
The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee
“This is a portrait of Italy unlike any other, a heady blend of travel, history, art, and food that takes us from Lake Garda’s lemon houses through the gardens of Tuscan villas to Calabria’s scented bergamot groves and a Sicilian marmalade kitchen from top to bottom of the land where lemons grow.”
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
“The Birth of Venus is a tour de force, the first historical novel from one of Britain’s most innovative writers of literary suspense. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a heroine with the same vibrancy of spirit as her beloved city.”
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
“When Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome to warn the Vatican, the Illuminati’s most hated enemy. Joining forces with beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, Langdon follows a centuries-old trail of ancient symbols in the hope of preventing the Illuminati’s deadly plot against the Roman Catholic Church from coming to fruition.”
12 Books You HAVE To Read Before Traveling To Italy- Picking Daisies Blog
The Woman of Rome by Alberto Moravia
“A profoundly realistic and compassionate story which continually transcends its subject; which is in effect the story of modern Italy. Love, art, and prostitution within this drama of passion, mystery, and betrayal. Moravia calmly strips away the pride and arrogance hiding the corrupt heart of Italian Fascism.”
The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy
“A blend of expression and action about a city so loved that one visit is never enough. McCarthy offers lucid insights on the relevant history of this famous city from its inception to the dominant role it came to play in the world of art, architecture, and Italian culture.”
I, Claudius (From The Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius) by Robert Graves
“Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus lived from 10 BC to 54 AD. Despised as a weakling and dismissed as an idiot because of his physical infirmities, Claudius survived the intrigues and poisonings that marked the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and the Mad Caligula to become Emperor of Rome in 41 AD.”
SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
“Roman history is always being rewritten, and always has been; in some ways, we know more about ancient Roman than the Romans themselves did. Roman history, in other words, is a work in progress. This book is my contribution to that bigger project; it offers my version of why it matters..This is a book about how Rome grew and sustained its position for so long, not about how it declined and fell, if indeed it ever did.”
Fodor’s Travel Essential Italy Guide Book 2018
“Fodor’s correspondents highlight the best of Italy, including Rome’s art and architecture, Tuscany’s glorious hill towns, and the Amalfi Coast’s spectacular views. Our local experts vet every recommendation to ensure you make the make the most of your time, whether it’s your first trip or your fifth.”
For The Love of Italy- Rural Pleasures And Hotel Estates- by Marella Caracciolo
“The spectacular beauty of Italy is revealed through the treasures Marella Caracciolo has meticulously sought out and that Oberto Gili has captured on film. For The Love of Italy is a private tour of the wonderful diversity of a country whose food, landscapes, and people fill me with inspiration.”
And for the huge bookworms that want to tackle some 500+ pages…
The Agony and The Ecstasy (a biographical novel of Michelangelo) by Irving Stone
“The Renaissance was a turbulent time of plotting princes, warring Popes, the all-powerful de’ Medici family, the fanatical monk Savonarola, and the brilliant young artist Michelangelo Buonarroti.”
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
“In the summer of 1348, as the Black Death ravages their city, ten young Florentines take refuge in the countryside. They amuse themselves by each telling a story a day for the ten days they are destined to remain there.”
Let me know which books were your favorite! Also, if there are any other books on Italy you just HAVE to read before taking a big trip there, let me know in the comments below.