5 Books on Italy to Read this Spring

No matter how busy I am, I always have a book or two going on in the background. And one out of the two will be a book on Italy. Predictable much?? I also re-read a lot of my favorite books. Do you??


For instance, recently I re-read Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler and loved it, finding newer meanings to Calvino’s eccentric tale and words. Anyway I thought of compiling a list of “5 Books on Italy to Read this Spring” for books written in English or translated from Italian. Hope you add more to your reading pile!

Related reading: Ten Favorite Books on Italy
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Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano

If you are someone looking to read a book that exposes The Mafia, pick this one! The author, with his life like characters and gritty image, shows the dark side of Italy. It is not an ordinary book and needs courage to be picked up to read the raw, vivid and horrific details. The book shows a new style of prose too. Bravo to Saviano! That being said, I would prefer to read this book in Italian one day as a lot got lost in translation.

Buy the book by clicking on the link below:

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Are you looking for a sensual, passionate and powerful book?? Call Me By Your Name is exactly that…. plus a little more. I read it on recommendation by Jasmine and I am so happy I picked it up! The story, set in Northern Italy, is about the irresistible relationship of two men. (no spoiler zone) After reading the book, I saw the 80s nostalgia on screen and have to say I equally loved the movie too. It made me sad and giddy at the same time. Call Me By Your Name will get in your skin.

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Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon

If you are interested in Italian art and traditions and also want a little Tuscany on the side, Waking Isabella is the book to pick. Italy Book Tours was most kind to send me this book, a story of the past and present that moves back and forth. The author entwines it best with the richness of the town of Arezzo. Although the story is a tad predictable, I enjoyed it from the leading character’s point of view the most. Melissa’s blog is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn Italian and she had interviewed yours truly for her blog 2 years back.

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The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee

I am amazed at how much Italy offers as a nation. It continues to surprise me daily. The Land Where Lemons Grow is Helena’s deep research and prose on the citrus fruit. Yes, it is a book on the citrus really. Although it originates from The Himalayas, it’s connection with Bella Italia is evident from the first page. The author travels all around Italy searching this exotic fruit and it’s varieties and hence the name. The book has recipes, maps and interviews in addition to it’s specialized subject, making it a perfect combination of food and travel. Next time, I would prefer to read it under the shade of a lemon tree in Liguria.

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Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau

Ending the list with Cheers! I saw this book on Instagram last year and later at a cafe where I browsed for hours. A gorgeously printed book with interesting stories and DIY recipes, Spritz instantly puts you in a better mood! It is the perfectly breezy yet informative coffee table (errr cocktail table??) book about modern Italian living. Don’t you think all of us Italophilies can write their own version of this very famous Italian drink?!

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Related Reading: #BooksonItaly Contemporary and Travel
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Ishita is an Indian Blogger who is in love with all things Italian. Every year, Ishita seek’s new experiences and destinations in Italy; from the southernmost tip of Sicilia to the Northern most parts of Piemonte.

Ishita works and lives in Delhi.

14 thoughts on “5 Books on Italy to Read this Spring

  1. Adding to my reading list as always Ishita!!! You are THE source for Italy books 😉 I am especially interested in the Sprtiz and lemon books, foodie that I am! <3

  2. Good post! I’ll find some of those to read. Funny though: I clicked on Spritz and the price on Amazon appeared to be in Lira!
    Have you or your followers found “On Persephone’s Island” by Mary Taylor Simeti? It’s the story of an American woman who married an Italian and subsequently lived with him and their children in Sicily. It’s very good though rather old (copyright 1986). It’s available on Amazon in paperback.

  3. I’m a bit ambivalent with regards to Gomorrah. Whilst what Saviano says is undoubtedly true, it’s also true that much of it were acts of the various trials that he managed to read, and then put into some kind of journalistic story whilst the protagonists got subsequently locked up. A good, dead-pan book on the Sicilian mob I really recommend is “Il capo dei capi”, on Totò Riina. Don’t think it’s in English, unfortunately.

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