Suggested Reading List
Blue Guide Northern Italy, from the Alps to the Adriatic
Author: Paul Blanchard
Description: This guide by a popular tour leader provides a thorough overview of the history, art and architecture of northern Italy from Trieste across to the Valle d'Aosta, Venice, Verona, Milan, Genoa and Bologna.
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 La Fenice theater.
Author: Elizabeth Von Arnim, Cathleen Schine (Introduction)
Description: In this delightful book, four Englishwomen are awakened by self-discovery and the power of their friendship on a stay in Italy in the 1920s.
Extra Virgin, A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera
Author: Annie Hawes
Description: A memoir of travels and life in Liguria, where the Hawe sisters ventured and stayed. In this refreshingly candid account, the English sisters end up buying a house and learning the local customs and eccentricities of their neighbors in Diano San Pietro.
Fodor's Venice's 25 Best
Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map of the city center and essential information.
Author: Tim Parks
Description: This sparkling memoir by the British novelist captures the travails and delights of life in the Italian countryside. Montecchio, which Parks so indelibly sketches in this favorite book, is outside Verona.
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.
La Bella Lingua
Author: Dianne Hales
Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
Author: Lonely Planet
Description: A handy palm-size phrasebook for the traveler.
Made in Italy, A Shopper's Guide
Author: Laura Morelli
Description: The second edition of Morelli's expert survey of handcrafted Italian shops and products from Murano glass to ceramics, jewelry and leather.
Northern Italy Map
Author: Touring Club Italiano
Description: This beautifully shaded road map of Northern Italy (1:400,000) shows the region including Trieste, Venice, Bologna Milan and Turin.
Palladio and Palladianism
Author: Robert Tavernor
Description: A well illustrated guide to the work of Andrea Palladio, the 16th century Venetian architect, and his followers.
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 Italian Renaissance
Author: J. H. Plumb
Description: A well-written history of the Renaissance, its artists and thinkers, with chapters on Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Women of the Renaissance.
The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como
Author: Roland Merullo
Description: Merullo shares this congenial account of a summer with his family in Italy and Switzerland, offering delicious descriptions of wonderful meals, colorful characters -- and rounds of golf at some of the most beautiful courses in Europe. He is a golf fanatic.
Author: Luigi Barzini
Description: The definitive portrait of the Italian people, this is a classic, scholarly essay on the Italian character. Though first published in 1964, it's still worth reading for its insight, grace and wit.
The Life of Verdi
Author: John Rosselli
Description: Part biography, part musical history, the life story and major operas of the 19th-century composer.
The Lives of the Artists, Vol 1
Author: Giorgio Vasari, Julia Conway and Peter Bondanella (Translator)
Description: Written in the mid-16th century, Vasari starts with Giotto as painting's prophet and ends with Michelangelo as its messiah in these short, influential biographies.
The Renaissance, A Short History
Author: Paul Johnson
Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.
The World of Venice
Author: Jan Morris
Description: If you are going to read one book on Venice, we recommend this favorite.