Books are a wonderful way to know another country’s culture, habits and traditions. And what’s even better when its books about the Italian culture! Yes, the thirst to read books based in Italy doesn’t satiate, so continuing the trend is another list of some more favorite books on Italy. These fall under the “essential reading” category. Enjoy 🙂
Some More Favorite Books on Italy
1. Il Bel Centro by Michelle Damiani:
Michelle Damiani’s Il Bel Centro was the first memoir I ever read on Italy. I remember writing a long-ish email to the author later, thanking her for beautifully capturing the journey of living as an expat in Italy. (I even cried when the book came to an end…..)
Il Bel Centro is the story of Michelle and her family spending a year in the town of Spello in Umbria. It is the journey of their family living in Spello where the readers get a lovely glimpse of raising a family in a small town. The author really makes the readers part of her struggles, frustrations and victories. Not only are you invested about the family’s time in Italy but you also begin to understand how life in a small Italian town can really be like!
Il Bel Centro is a great read for those who are planning to move to Italy and also for travel enthusiasts in general. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a delightful escape to the hill towns of Italy.
2. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon:
It is impossible to mention books set in Venice and not think of Donna Leon. An American author in love with Venice, Donna Leon is globally known for her crime fiction series starring Commissario Brunetti. The author, having spent a considerable part of her life in the floating city, is head over heels with Venice. That is quite evident from the first page of her describing the serene city. Donna Leon takes her readers to the back alleys of Venice with the empathetic Police Inspector- Brunetti. The fabled city’s copious amount of Venetian food, prosecco and locals make her descriptions and characters likeable and vivid. Brunetti always keeps the readers on toes with his ever tumultuous Venetian life!
After having read more than 10 novels from the series, I can safely say that the very first book Death at La Fenice is by far my favorite book that I highly recommend you to read. Donna Leon books are now also a popular German TV series!
3. The Stones of Florence and Venice Observed by Mary McCarthy:
The Stones of Florence and Venice by Mary McCarthy is a unique book on two of the most wonderful Italian cities. McCarthy shares about her intense travels in the Italian cities of Venice and Florence. She also expresses most about the people and art in both these cities. Her descriptions can make you feel the intensity and crowd of a piazza or the quietness of a small cold alley. If you are acquainted with the two Italian cities, this book is an icing on the cake as you’re almost walking along with the author as she meanders through the cities.
This book was a thrift store find for me and I’m so glad to have found another gem on Italy. A well written and poignant piece, McCarthy’s views are a great commemoration to the cities of Florence and Venice.
4. Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best by Louise Fili & Lise Apatoff:
Anyone looking to know more about the Italian culture should get their hands on Italianissimo. This handy 6 inch of a book covers topics such as art, architecture, ceramics, soccer, food, fashion, family, aperitivo, bars and festivals! This handy book on La Bella Figura gives you a good enough understanding of the Italian way of life toppled with a little fun on the side. The co-author, Louise Fili, a popular graphic media designer shows visual essays on Italy in this tiny volume. Highly recommend! Also check Fili’s caligraphy and designs.
5. Times New Roman by Martha Miller
Another fantastic memoir set in Italy is Times New Roman by Martha Miller. The story of how the author and her husband move across the world to experience Italy for 2 years, Times New Roman is well-written and poignant. It is also a story of two Americans living in Italy during the time of 9/11. This memoir is set in much simpler times (there was no Instagram or WhatsApp!) and is written with an authenticity that is hard to find! Another book set in Italy that I highly recommend you to pick today.
- 10 Most Beautiful Places in Le Marche, Italy
- Midnight in the Piazza- an art mystery set in Rome
- 5 Non fiction books to understand Italy better
- A Writer in Italy- a podcast on travel, books and art
- Rome to Florence train- my first scenic journey in Italy
You may have the universe if I may have Italy.giuseppe verdi