For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a lover and collector of books. When I was young, I wanted my own library with an armchair by the fire (I lived in the mountains) and a big collection of coffee table books! Over the years I’ve made space for Italian coffee table books, the ones that are visually appealing and easy to read. I enjoy the vivid descriptions and incredible photos that go along with it. After all, its Italy! So here are 10 of the most dreamy and “must have” coffee table books on Italy that you should add to your collection!
10 Dreamy Coffee Table Books on Italy
1. Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi & Leslie Pariseau
Spritz is an excellent choice of a coffee table on Italy and worth adding to your collection. I browsed this in a bookstore and ended up buying it! It is rich in detail and pictures and definitely not boring, even for me, because I don’t consider myself much of a cocktail person. (As far as the Spritz is concerned, I love it!) This book is celebratory and unique and a must have for all Italophiles.
2. One Hundred and One Small Towns in Italy by Paolo Lazzarin
Another fabulous coffee table book on Italy is Paolo Lazzarin’s One Hundred and One Small Towns in Italy. I found this book in a dusty corner of the Italian Embassy library. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, pick this book because it has beautiful photos and highlights on not 10 or 20 but 101 towns! You’ll end up adding so many more towns to your ever growing Italian list.
3. Dream of Venice by JoAnn Locktov
I’m the owner of this stunning Venetian book since before it was published. JoAnn is a fellow Italophile who most kindly sent me a copy before the release. Not only is Dream of Venice a guidebook on the floating city but also a testament to its soul. The photographs are moving and you’ll feel a longing desire to be in Venice. JoAnn has done a commendable job on this coffee table book. It is a somehting that you can savor with your morning coffee!
4. Italian Gardens of Lake Como by Lucia Impelluso
This coffee table book is a work of art thanks to the evocative illustrations and photographs by the author! Lucia Impelluso certainly knows Lake Como like the back of his hand. He has done an excellent job promoting the gardens and villas of this part of Italy. What makes this book wonderful is the impressive text with it. I am now inclined to read more of the authors works. He also wrote Villas and Gardens of the Renaissance.
5. Rome- Portrait of a City by Giovanni Fanelli
Rome- Portrait of a City is rich in detail with striking cultural text and photos from the eternal city. There are many post war and urban pictures, from Via Veneto to the Roman Forum. This multilingual book has a mixed collection of photographs- some exceptional while others very basic. That being said, it is not my favorite book on Rome but worth keeping in my coffee table collection. (How did you expect me not to include a book on the Eternal City?)
6. Michelangelo, God’s Architect by William E. Wallace
If you want a fresh insight into Michelangelo’s works especially towards the end of his life, pick this coffee table book! This book is not a history lesson but a great exploration in the struggles of Michelangelo’s life. It is painful to realize how it must have felt to the great artist as he never saw a lot of ongoing projects finished.
7. Urbino: The Story of a Renaissance City by June Osborne
After my trip to Urbino in 2018, I read a lot about this often overlooked Renaissance gem. Finding this book sort of completed the circle for me. It is a true testament to the medieval city, as June Osborne captures the magic and ambiance of the town very well. Sitting at home with a glass of wine, the exceptional imagery will make you dream of this town.
8. Palaces of Sicily by Angheli Zalapi
Sicily is a mysterious island full of hidden secrets and gems. The region is home to thousands of grand palaces left by the Norman and Arab rulers! Palaces of Sicily explores its rich palazzi along with it’s rugged land. This book will give you an itch to visit Sicily so bad that you’ll almost want to book your flight! Yes, its an older edition but well worth your time and money!
9. Best-Kept Secrets of Tuscany by Tamsel Pickeral
Can there by an Italian region/word more used than Tuscany?? Believe me that is why I picked this detailed coffee table book! Not only does it have an amazing text but also visually stunning photos! Although I have to say, the seasoned traveler to Italy might be a little disappointed as many of the best kept secrets are pretty well known 😉 But if you’re looking to add more Tuscan books to your collection, worth the money!
10. Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Silver Spoon Kitchen
If you’re looking to take a gastronomic journey in the South of Italy, Silver Spoon Kitchen has some great coffee table books. Naples and Amalfi Guide specifically focuses on authentic recipes and grandmother tales from Campania. The rustic ceramics will make you dream of the South of Italy and make a future trip to visit a nonna! Silver Spoon Tuscany and Puglia are two versions that you can explore too.
Hope you enjoyed this dreamy collection of coffee table books on Italy. Tell me, what did I miss??
- Books that give an itch to visit South Italy
- 103 Other Adventures In and Around Rome – a must read for Italophiles
- Book Review: South of Somewhere by Robert Camuto
- Women in Translation- 3 Italian Authors You Must Read
- Midnight in the Piazza- an art mystery set in Rome
- 5 Non fiction books to understand Italy better