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Best Books About Italy

Explore the allure of Italy through literature. This collection of best books, aggregated from reputable literary sources, promises to transport readers to the heart of Italian culture.

Recommendations from 48 articles, Pope Francis, Bill Clinton, Anderson Cooper and 31 others.
100 books on the list
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My Brilliant Friend book cover
My Brilliant Friend
Neapolitan Novels, Book One
Elena Ferrante - 2012-09-25 (first published in 2011)
Goodreads Rating
This modern masterpiece follows two friends, Elena and Lila, as they grow up in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples in the 1950s. Through their intertwined paths, Ferrante tells the story of a changing nation and the nature of friendship. This rich, intense, and generous-hearted book is a must-read for fans of character-driven stories.
Recommended by
Emily NussbaumLee Pace
Under the Tuscan Sun book cover
Under the Tuscan Sun
At Home in Italy
Frances Mayes - 1997-09-02 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the enchanting beauty of Tuscany through the eyes and palates of author Frances Mayes. Follow her journey as she restores an abandoned villa in the Italian countryside and discovers unexpected treasures, including faded frescos and a vineyard hidden beneath brambles. With the voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a food writer, Mayes invites readers to explore the vibrant markets and delightful people of the nearby hill towns, as well as to indulge in the flavors of Italian cuisine at her own table.
Beautiful Ruins book cover
Beautiful Ruins
A Novel
Jess Walter - 2012-06-12
Goodreads Rating
Experience a roller coaster of a novel as an almost-love affair that began in Italy in 1962 resurfaces fifty years later in Hollywood. Follow flawed yet fascinating characters through the lavish sets of Cleopatra, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the back lots of contemporary Hollywood in this national bestseller that is both gloriously inventive and deeply human. This highly-acclaimed novel is sure to surprise and delight readers of literary and historical fiction alike.
Recommended by
Anderson Cooper
Eat Pray Love book cover
Eat Pray Love
One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Elizabeth Gilbert - 2014-01-21
Goodreads Rating
Embark on a captivating journey through Italy, India, and Bali in search of pleasure and devotion with this heartfelt memoir. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, left behind a successful American life to explore the true meaning of happiness. Discover her wisdom and humor as she navigates three different cultures, exploring the art of pleasure, devotion, and a balance of the two. A must-read for anyone searching for inspiration and transformation.
Angels & Demons book cover
Angels & Demons
A Novel (Robert Langdon)
Dan Brown - 2006-04-01 (first published in 2000)
Goodreads Rating
A Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, is called to a Swiss research facility to investigate the murder of a physicist branded with a cryptic symbol. He soon uncovers a centuries-old vendetta against the Catholic Church by the secretive Illuminati. To save the Vatican from a time bomb, Langdon teams up with a beautiful scientist, and together they embark on a thrilling adventure through awe-inspiring crypts and catacombs, leading them to the forgotten lair of the Illuminati.
E. M. Forster - A Room with a View book cover
E. M. Forster - A Room with a View
E. M. Forster - 2005-01-01 (first published in 1908)
Goodreads Rating
In this captivating novel, Lucy's life takes an unexpected turn when she visits Florence with her rigid cousin Charlotte. Through her encounters with unconventional characters at the Pension Bertolini, Lucy's eyes are opened to a world of passion and intensity unlike anything she's experienced before. But will she have the courage to follow her heart and break free from Edwardian England's repressed morality?
Recommended by
Guy BranumJess Brammar
Midnight in Sicily book cover
Midnight in Sicily
On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
Peter Robb - 1999-02-22 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
Midnight in Sicily explores the dark underbelly of Sicilian life, delving into the Mafia's influence on the island's culture, politics, and art. Author Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over 14 years and shares his insight on the violent and corrupt world of Cosa Nostra, while also celebrating the beauty and history of this ancient culture. A must-read for those interested in crime, travel, and cultural exploration.
Love & Gelato book cover
Love & Gelato
Jenna Evans Welch - 2016-05-03
Goodreads Rating
Embark on a breathtaking journey across Tuscany with Lina in this debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure. When Lina's mother dies, she spends the summer in Italy with the father she's never met. But Tuscany holds secrets Lina never could have imagined, and she discovers a magical world of secret romance, art, and hidden bakeries through her mother's journal. Alongside the charming Ren, Lina sets out to uncover a secret that will change everything she knew about her parents and herself. Love & Gelato is a must-read for lovers of romance fiction and adventure.
The Neapolitan Novels book cover
The Neapolitan Novels
Elena Ferrante - 2015-10-06
Goodreads Rating
Experience an unrivaled story of a sixty-year friendship set against the seductive yet perilous backdrop of Naples undergoing epochal change. With unmatched honesty and brilliance, this novel cycle tells the tale of the brilliant Elena and rebellious Lila. Described as "gutsy and compulsively readable," this remarkable story will leave readers returning for more, uncovering new revelations each time.
Recommended by
Rob Delaney
La Bella Figura book cover
La Bella Figura
A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Beppe Severgnini - 2007-06-12 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Explore Italy through the eyes of foreign friends in this humorous and sentimental journey. From the rules of the road and office etiquette, to train chatter and hotel wisdom, witness the quirks and complexities of Italian culture. Join the adventure from north to south, covering everything from food and sports to morals and politics. Uncover the last unexplored region of Italy- the Italian mind.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
The Leopard by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
SPQR by Mary Beard
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks
Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Rick Steves Italy 2020 by Rick Steves
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
From Scratch by Tembi Locke
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi
DK Eyewitness Italy by Eyewitness
Pasta, Pane, Vino by Matt Goulding
Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King
I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Lonely Planet Italy by Lonely Planet
Acqua Alta by Donna Leon
The House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert
Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes
Pompeii by Robert Harris
From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
Trieste And The Meaning Of Nowhere by Jan Morris
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell
The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
Rick Steves Florence Tuscany by Rick Steves, Gene Openshaw
Hemingway Boxed Set by Ernest Hemingway
Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Bemelmans Marciano
Stone Giant by Jane Sutcliffe, John Shelley
Italy The Best Places to See by Rail by Bob Kaufman
Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy by Corinna Cooke
Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst
An Italian Education by Tim Parks
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano
Italian Ways by Tim Parks
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno by Italo Calvino
See You in the Piazza by Frances Mayes
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
Strega Nona by Tomie Depaola
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
City of Fortune by Roger Crowley
The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie Depaola
Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino
The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti
Rick Steves Rome 2018 by Rick Steves, Gene Openshaw
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
The Lemon Tree Café by Cathy Bramley
Il Bel Centro by Michelle Damiani
War in Val d'Orcia by Iris Origo
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
Summer at the Lake by Erica James
Where Is the Colosseum? by Jim O'Connor
This is Rome by Miroslav Sasek
Arturo's Island by Elsa Morante
Mission Rome by Catherine Aragon
This Is Venice by M. Sasek
The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee
Pippo the Fool by Tracey E. Fern, Pau Estrada
A Thousand Glass Flowers by Evan Turk
Kids' Travel Guide - Italy & Rome by Shiela H. Leon
The Novels of E.M. Forster by E. M. Forster, Karen Cass, David Rintoul, Matthew Llyod Davies, Chris Nayak, Emma Gregory, Jonathan Keeble, Barnaby Edwards, Snr Audio
Vroom With a View by Peter Moore
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo
Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Juliet by Anne Fortier
Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
Inferno by Dan Brown
A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino