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You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
, a website that supports local bookstores.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
by Beppe Severgnini
From Amazon: You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: the highway, the airport, and the small town.
Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
by Paul Roberts
Drawing on sharp, full-color photographs of more than 200 objects excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum, Roberts, a curator at the British Museum, discusses what life was like in the ancient cities. He covers everything from birth certificates to the prevalence of bakeries and taverns.
The House in Amalfi
by Elizabeth Adler
Master of suspense and romance, Adler deftly intertwines lush descriptions of place with fast-paced intrigue in this novel set in the Amalfi Coast.
Herculaneum: Italy's Buried Treasures
by Joseph Jay Deiss
An artful and wonderfully written description of the daily life of the Romans at the time of the destruction of Herculaneum.
by Gillian Darley
Darley unveils human responses to Mount Vesuvius, a place both feared and celebrated, from a cast of characters as far-flung as Pliny the Younger and David Hockney. This entry in Harvard University Press's excellent Wonders of the World series is a perfect introduction for travelers to Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Pompeii, The Day a City Died
by Robert Etienne
This indispensable pocket guide illustrates daily life in the city as revealed by its evocative frescoes, mosaics and treasures.
Rediscovering the Ancient World in the Bay of Naples, 1710-1890
by Carol C. Mattusch
This extensively illustrated volume details various reactions to the early excavations of the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and their international influence in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Fires of Vesuvius
by Mary Beard
Amazon Books: "Pompeii is the most famous archaeological site in the world, visited by more than two million people each year. Here, acclaimed historian Beard explores what kind of town it was, and what it can reveal about ordinary life there."
by Selected and retold by Italo Calvino
This collection by one of Italy’s most famous writers is a magic and classical tome to put anyone in the mood for visiting this fascinating and continually surprising country.
The Ancient Shore
by Shirley Hazzard
Hazzard's lyrical collection of essays on the history, beauty, complexities and contradictions of Naples. Includes a celebrated New Yorker essay by Francis Steegmuller.
by John Hooper
From Amazon: A vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent.
Campania Basilicata Map
by Touring Club Italiano
A colorful, durable map of Campania, including Naples and the Amalfi Coast.