Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
, a website that supports local bookstores.
Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
by Ross King
The story of the design and construction of the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a tale rife with politics, cut-throat competition and mighty inspiration.
Anzio: Italy and the Battle for Rome — 1944
by Lloyd Clark
The Allied campaign on the beaches of Western Italy, at Anzio, reigns as the bloodiest battle in the Second World War’s western theater. About six months before D-Day, in January 1944, a united force of 36,000 soldiers launched one of the first attacks on continental Europe at Anzio, a small coastal city thirty miles south of Rome.
Between Salt Water and Holy Water
by Tommaso Astarita
From the Normans and Angevins through Spanish and Bourbon rule to the unification of Italy, historian Tommaso Astarita explores the intellectual, religious, economic and political history of this fascinating region and delivers an accessibly written book that is not just colourful and scholarly but also wholly engrossing.
La Bella Lingua
by Diane Hales
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.
Venice: A New History
by Thomas Madden
Using long-buried archival material and a wealth of newly translated documents, Madden weaves a spellbinding story of a place and its people, tracing an arc from the city’s humble origins as a lagoon refuge to its apex as a vast maritime empire and Renaissance epicenter to its rebirth as a modern tourist hub.
The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944
by Rick Atkinson
Rick Atkinson follows the strengthening armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north. The decision to invade Europe's so-called soft underbelly was controversial, but once under way the commitment never wavered. And with the liberation of Rome from the Nazis in June 1944, victory at last began to seem inevitable.
A House in Sicily
by Daphne Phelps
Near Mount Etna in Sicily lies Casa Cuseni, a beautiful house built in golden stone - and the home which Daphne Phelps was astonished to find she had inherited in 1947. At the age of 34, war-weary from working as a psychiatric social worker, with barely any Italian and precious little money, she plunged into a fascinating Sicilian world. The many of problems to be overcome included not only financial difficulties but local authorities and a house staff who initially felt no loyalty to the new Signorina, but who gradually accepted her as a respected member of their small community.
by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
The Leopard is a novel that chronicles the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento.
The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily
by Nancy Bazelon Goldstone
On 15 March 1348, Joanna I, Queen of Naples, stood trial for her life before the pope and his court in Avignon. She was 22 years old. Her cousin and husband, Prince Andrew of Hungary, had recently been murdered, and Joanna was the chief suspect. Determined to defend herself, Joanna won her acquittal against enormous odds. Returning to Naples, she ruled over one of Europe's most prestigious and enlightened courts for more than thirty years - until she was herself murdered. As courageous as Eleanor of Aquitaine, as astute and determined as Elizabeth I, Joanna was the only female monarch in her time to rule in her own right.
The World of Venice
by Jan Morris
Morris displays her talent for research, telling anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited portrait of a beloved city, its history and inhabitants. If you are going to read one book on Venice, we recommend this favorite.
La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z
by Carla Gambescia
La Dolce Vita University (LDVU) is the perfect sampler for anyone curious about (or already in amore with) Italy and its remarkably rich cultural gifts, both past and present.
Street Fight in Naples: A City's Unseen History
by Peter Robb
Peter Robb's Street Fight in Naples ranges across nearly three thousand years of Neapolitan life and art, from the first Greek landings in Italy to the time of his own less auspicious arrival thirty-something years ago.