The 6 Best Books About Italy

6 Best Books About Italy

I love reading about Italy, I love reading books set in Italy, I just love Italian culture. But I must say, it's not always easy to find engaging, well-written books that sweep me off my feet in this genre. I've done the legwork for you, and here, I outline the top books I've come to love over the years that have an Italian twist.

Beautiful Ruins

You know those books that you don't want to end? This was one of them for me.

This little work of fiction had elements of real life (i.e., Elizabeth Taylor), that mingled with made-up towns near Cinque Terre

My favorite part of reading this was that the main character, Pasquale, was actually named after a hotel we passed everyday during our stay in Monterosso. I was reading it while in Italy and loved it. 

Highly recommend :)

Oil and Marble

This tells the story of when Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were both in Florence. It's a nicely written book that got me hooked from the first page. How historically accurate it is remains to be seen, but I'm loving the storytelling. 

Another book to highly recommend!

In other words 

Um, when you understand how this book came to be, you'll be blown away. In order to master Italian, this author (who was already a Pulitzer Prize winner) moved her entire family to Rome and challenged herself to write a novel completely in Italian. Her dedication to the language gives it a cool twist, and was so intriguing. I found it hard to put down.

To say this is a beautifully written book doesn't even begin to do it justice. You'll love it.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Ah, what a classic. Interestingly enough, I read this book while on the beach in Mexico. It's a bit of a slow moving piece of nonfiction at times, but given my setting (i.e., lounging on the beach), it was exactly what I was looking for.

The recipes inside were also good reading. I loved dreaming about how I would recreate them at home.

This is also one of the few books that was made into a movie that I actually loved. Having said that, if you're a fan of the movie (I mean, who isn't...), then be prepared, as this storyline is pretty different.

Eat, Pray Love

Ok, ok, so only the first part of this book is about Italy, but I also find it the happiest part of the whole book. I also find Italy happy. This is about a woman who takes on a year of travel to find her true self. True to the name of the book, she eats her way through Rome. Also made into a movie, though the book was still my favorite. 

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

Truth be told, I'm still in the middle of reading this book, but it sets the stage for how the duomo of Florence was designed by a guy who had no architecture background, winning a contest that he had no business winning. I love a good underdog story! In advance of our trip to Florence, I'm excited to know more of the back story...then I can drop knowledge on my unassuming husband :)

What's your favorite book about Italy?