Suggested Reading List
Catherine of Siena, A Passionate Life
Author: Don Brophy
Description: Brophy sets this deeply researched biography of the saint against the backdrop of 14th-century Europe, showing Catherine's sheer fortitude and personal magnetism in her efforts to bring peace to a troubled time.
A Room with a View
Author: E.M. Forster
Description: E.M. Forster's classic tale of love among the middle classes, set largely in Florence.
Cinque Terre Map
Author: Litographia Artistica Cartographica
Description: A detailed shaded relief walking and road map of the Cinque Terre at a scale of 1:40,000.
Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life
Author: Frances Mayes
Description: Twenty years later Mayes is still besotted by Italy -- her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food -- all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.
Author: Berndtson & Berndtson
Description: A detailed, plastic-covered city map of Florence at a scale of 1:7,000.
Author: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Description: Grizzuti Harrison writes with warmth and depth of her journey from Milan south to Calabria in this sprightly account of Italy and the Italians.
Italy in Mind
Author: Alice Powers
Description: A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.
Italy, A Short History
Author: Harry Hearder
Description: Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.
Italy, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Lawrence Venuti (Editor)
Description: Not just a literary companion, this anthology is also a who's who of contemporary Italian writers that captures the spirit, history and allure of the country.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Author: Beppe Severgnini
Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
National Geographic Italy
Author: Tim Jepson
Description: Published in the National Geographic's attractive visual style, this illustrated guide features hundreds of photographs, full color maps, and useful information on history, culture and travel.
Author: Litographia Artistica Cartographica
Description: A very detailed map of Siena, scale 1:7000.
The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy
Author: Hugh Johnson (Foreword), Nicholas Belfrage
Description: This astute guide to wine-making regions and villages in Tuscany includes a history of Tuscan grapes and culture, excellent color maps and profiles of select vintners and wines.
The Food Lover's Guide to Florence, With Culinary Excursions in Tuscany
Author: Emily Wise Miller
Description: Miller polled neighbors, friends, cooks and ordinary folk for this delectable guide to 125 eateries, organized by neighborhood.
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 Most Beautiful Country Towns of Tuscany
Author: James Bentley
Description: Traveling north to south, Bentley captures the historic, walled and Romanesque cities of Tuscany. Includes principal sites, hotels, events and restaurants in each town. 273 illustrations.
The Portable Romantic Poets
Author: Norman Holmes Pearson, W.H. Auden (Editor)
Description: This is the anthology to take along on a trip to England's Lake District, Italy's Cinque Terre or any other classic haunt of the romantic poets. This selection includes works by all the masters (and even an occasional mistress).
Too Much Tuscan Sun, Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide
Author: Roberto Rodi, Dario Castagno
Description: With affection and humor, Castagno recalls his experience as a tour guide in Tuscany, and the remarkable travelers he meets along the way. His ease with and taste for Chianti combine to evoke intoxicating images of the much-loved Tuscan region.