Suggested Reading List
Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History
Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)
Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.
Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History
Author: Robert D. Kaplan
Description: Kaplan interweaves the history, art and culture of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece with his travels in this portrait of the region.
Blue Guide Sicily
Author: Ellen Grady
Description: This in-depth guide to Sicily's ancient history and archaeology features detailed maps and site plans.
Death at La Fenice
Author: Donna Leon
Description: The first of the tremendously good Guido Brunetti mysteries, all set in the author's beloved Venice, in which a famous conductor is found dead at the celebrated theater of the title.
Eyewitness Guide Provence & the Cote D'Azur
Author: Roger Williams
Description: This is an illustrated, colorful guide to the art and architecture, literature, history and attractions of Provence. With photographs and site plans, maps and sections on the Riviera, the Var, Bouches-du-Rhones, Vaucluse and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Fodor's Rome's 25 Best
Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes a map of the city and essential information on its highlights.
Fodor's Venice's 25 Best
Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map of the city center and essential information.
Ironfire, A Novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades
Author: David Ball
Description: In this rousing historical novel the fates of a young boy, his sister, one of the Knights of Malta and an inquisitor play out against the backdrop of the 16th-century Ottoman assault on Malta, the formidable citadel of the Knights of St. John.
Author: Ocean Explorer Maps
Description: This handy color map of the Mediterranean from Spain to the Black Sea and the Levant puts ancient sites and historic ports into context. With notable people, a timeline and descriptions of dozens of places across the classical world, this map serves equally well for Mediterranean and Black Sea cruises.
Mediterranean by Cruise Ship
Author: Anne Vipond
Description: The best-selling, compact guide, featuring excellent local maps, hundreds of color photographs, concise background information and recommended excursions for ports-of-call throughout the Mediterranean.
On Persephone's Island
Author: Mary Taylor Simeti
Description: Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a yearlong journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land.
Author: Lawrence Durrell
Description: This classic tribute to Corfu, its long history, myths and resilient people, is drawn from the young Durrell's idyllic time as a newlywed on the island in the years before WWII.
The Ancient Mediterranean
Author: Michael Grant
Description: Grant explores the realms of archaeology, geography, art and economics to sketch this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and the influence on western civilization.
The Balkans, A Short History
Author: Mark Mazower
Description: A brief, provocative survey of the complex and often contentious history of the Balkans. With eloquence and insight, Mazower addresses the issues of geography, nationalism and modern nation-building in the region.
The Bridge on the Drina
Author: Ivo Andric, Lovette F. Edwards (Translator)
Description: These linked stories by the Nobel-prize winning author capture the history and complexity of Christian and Muslim relations during Ottoman occupation. Hewn of stone, the bridge dividing the town of Visegrad was Andric's inspiration.
Author: Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard
Description: This engaging overview of the history of the Colosseum deconstructs Hollywood-perpetrated misconceptions of gladiator-eating lions, Nero fiddling and other myths.
The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall
Author: Christopher Hibbert
Description: A well-written, entertaining history of the Medicis in Renaissance Florence. Great to read before going to Florence, where the influence of the Medicis and the artists they supported is still very much in evidence.
The Middle Sea
Author: John Julius Norwich
Description: A marvelous writer who has already tackled Byzantium, the Normans in Sicily and Venice, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean.
The Ruby in Her Navel, A Novel of Love and Intrigue in the 12th Century
Author: Barry Unsworth
Description: Unsworth transports the reader to the 12th century in this richly imagined novel of love and intrigue set in Norman Sicily, where Christian knights, Anatolian belly dancers, Jews and Arabs mix and mingle.
The World of Venice
Author: Jan Morris
Description: Morris displays her talent for research, anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited history of a beloved city.
Two Towns in Provence
Author: M. F. K. Fisher
Description: Celebrated food writer M.F.K. Fisher contrasts village life in Aix-en-Provence with bustling Marseilles, evoking these two favorite places with anecdote and loving description.
Venice Is a Fish
Author: Tiziano Scarpa
Description: The hugely popular Venetian novelist, poet and playwright makes his English-language debut with these marvelously digressive essays on the many moods and pleasures of La Serenissima.