Travel Narratives

Under the Tuscan Sun

by Frances Mayes

In this memoir of her buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in Tuscany, Frances Mayes reveals the sensual pleasure she found living in rural Italy, and the generous spirit she brought with her. She revels in the sunlight and the color, the long view of her valley, the warm homey architecture, the languor of the slow paced days, the vigor of working her garden, and the intimacy of her dealings with the locals...

A Room With a View 

by Malcolm Bradbury (Introduction), Edward Morgan Forster

Classic set in Florence.

A Tuscan Childhood

by Kinta Beevor

Set in a fortress in the Carrara Mountains and in a villa in Fiesole, this autobiographical narrative is a beautifully written and a fascinating glimpse into Tuscan life spanning most of the 20th century.

A Valley in Italy : The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria

by Lisa St. Aubin De Teran

Narration of the restoration of a crumbling villa by a creative family.

William Weaver, Washington Post Book World "Authentic. . . . Her next book should prove worth waiting for."

The Baron in the Trees

by Italo Calvino, Archibald Colquhoun

Enjoyable book by one of Italy's foremost writers.

The Bay of Noon

by Shirley Hazzard

The story of an English woman working in Naples.

Bella Tuscany : The Sweet Life in Italy

by Frances Mayes

A new book by a favorite author who writes about Tuscany.

The Decameron (Oxford World's Classics)

by Giovanni Boccaccio

Medieval classic. Young nobles tell tales during a plague.

An Italian Education : The Further Adventures of an Expatriate in Verona

by Tim Parks

Further adventures of author of Verona.

Italian Neighbors

by Tim Parks

An enjoyable and witty account of life in contemporary Italy.

A Valley in Italy

by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

The author’s firsthand account of how her eccentric family made their home in a deteriorating villa in a small town in Umbria.

Villa Fortuna

by Geoffrey Luck

An Australian’s visit to Umbria

Guidebooks

Italy: Instructions for Use

by Nan McElroy

This is a great book to take with you! This palm-sized book covers the how-to's of traveling in Italy: how to read road signs, how to use Italian phones, what to pack, etc.

 DK Eyewitness Travel Guides Italy

by DK Publishing

Art

History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture 

by Frederick Hartt, David G. Wilkins (Editor)

"Don't let the size (huge) and scholarly look fool you. This is the best book on the subject, densely illustrated, and best of all, it is a pleasure to read and refreshingly jargon-free." Robert Eckhardt

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art

by Jane Hall

Source for understanding the symbolism of Renaissance Italian art.

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo 

by Irving Stone

Fictional depiction of Michelangelo. Includes bibliography, glossary and a list of the artist's works.

Being Bernard Berenson : A Biography

by Meryle Secrest

Biography of the American art critic and collector.

General Information and History

I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 (Vintage International)

by Robert Graves

A historical novel of ancient Rome, also made into a PBS series.

Cento Citta : A Guide of the 'Hundred Cities and Towns' of Italy

by Paul Hofmann

Brief, interesting and helpful descriptions of 100 Italian cities.

Songbirds, Truffles and Wolves: An American Naturalist in Italy

by Gary Nabhan

An American naturalist who hiked from Florence to Assisi talks about nature in Italy.

Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria

by James Ladsun

Wonderfully specific suggestions for hikes and country walks with beautiful picnics and luscious restaurant meals.

Fiction

After Hannibal

by Barry Unsworth

A dark comic novel of deceit set among the lanes of Umbria where an assortment of oddball characters all consult the same devious lawyer.

Summer’s Lease

by John Mortimer

This amusing mystery centers around a villa rental with an overly curious tenant, an ominously mysterious absentee landlord and a trip along the Piero della Francesca trail.

Shopping Books

Born to Shop Italy 

by Suzy Gershman

The ultimate guide for travelers who love to shop.

The Civilized Shopper's Guide to Rome

by Pamela Keech, Margaret A. Brucia 

The Antique and Flea Markets of Italy

by Marina Seveso, Oonagh Stransky (Translator)

Made in Italy

by Laura Morelli

Shopper's guide to Italy's best artisanal traditions

Cooking Books

Umbria: Regional Recipes from the Heartland of Italy

by Julia della Croce

Explore the fresh earthy flavors of Umbria--and the very soul of this region.

Children's Books

Italy Discovery Journal

by P.L. Byrne

If you are traveling to Italy with children, they will love seeing the country from the perspective of the unusual, weird or exciting. Kids will discover Italy, popular Italian culture, and even some art and history, plus hundreds of free or inexpensive activities for family travel in Italy.

Strega Nona book

by Tomie de Paola

Strega Nona — "Grandma Witch" — is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony.

Da Vinci (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists)

and 

Michelangelo (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists)

by Miroslav Sasek

These are short, 32-page, children’s books which provide a neat introduction to some of the most important artists of the Renaissance.