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.
A detailed map of Sicily (1:200,000) printed on water- and tear-resistant paper.
Saving Italy, The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis
In this intense history, Edsel brings readers into WWII-era Milan, the Vatican and beyond, discussing the near destruction of The Last Supper and other timeless works at the hands of the fascists.
La Bella Lingua
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.
Syracuse, City of Legends: A Glory of Sicily
Dummett covers the history, architecture and archaeology of Syracuse, which Cicero dubbed the greatest and most beautiful Greek city, in this lavishly illustrated book.
Sicily, An Illustrated History
Privitera covers the scope of Sicily and its diverse civilizations in lively prose and well-chosen illustrations in this succinct history.
When Antonio Ricci is unable to find work and his bicycle is stolen, the man becomes desperate to support himself and his son. Set in Rome. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
Sicily, An Island at the Crossroads of History
Norwich delivers a page-turning account of Sicily, from the Classical period through the Mafia, highlighting the crucial role the island has played in world politics.
Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
An American journalist living in France, Robert Camuto roams the vineyards and visits with vintners from Palermo to Marsala and the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in this year-long celebration of the culture and spirit of Sicily, Italy's largest and oldest wine region.
Survival Kit for Overseas Living
With chapters on cultural baggage, stereotypes and common complaints of American expats, this intercultural classic is perfect for study abroad.
Italy correspondent for The Economist Hooper explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in this illuminating portrait.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. The book opens with a snapshot of Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
Behind Closed Doors
Translated from the Italian by Elise Magistro. From Amazon: "A cultural album of 10 short stories that captures the lives of peasant, working-class, and middle-class women, this volume will appeal to millions of Italian descendants and readers everywhere fascinated by Italian history."
Compact Oxford Italian Dictionary
This hefty companion covers more than 90,000 words and phrases with helpful sections on grammar and culture to better prepare the traveler for a visit to Italy.
The Day of the Owl
A mesmerizing description of the Mafia at work, Sciascia's beautifully paced novella traces Captain Bellodi's investigation of a man shot dead as he runs to catch a bus in a small Sicilian town.
Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily 1943
From Amazon: Using a wealth of original sources, D'Este paints an unforgettable portrait of men at war. From the front lines in Sicily and Northern Africa to the councils of the Axis and Allied high commands, Bitter Victory offers penetrating reassessments of the men who masterminded the campaign. Thrilling and authoritative, this is military history on an epic scale.
Midnight in Sicily, On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra
Combining interviews, research and essays on Sicilian history and culture, this vivid report by journalist Robb is a superb introduction to Italy's glorious, corrupt and troubled south.
In this charming little book, Alajmo offers a wry, lyrical portrait of his native city, its people, charms and "big problems." What follows is a rollicking, odd journey through the peccadilloes of the Sicilian city.
Seeking Sicily, A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean
Taken with Sicily, its culture and its literature, Keahey explores the food, history and pure pleasure of the place, using his heroes Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Leonardo Sciascia and other Sicilian literary greats as guides.
In Other Words
In this complex memoir, award-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri moves to Rome and immerses herself in Italian. Her dual-language book chronicles her courtship with the language, the Italian culture and the difficulties of linguistic exile.
The Art of Travel
A digressive riff on desire, happiness and how best to experience travel by the Proust scholar and philosopher Alain de Botton who asks: "What is the point of traveling?"
Widely believed to be his finest work, Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical look at a director who's lost his inspiration is a gorgeous and surrealistic masterpiece that dreamily blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Blu-ray edition.
On Persephone's Island
Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a year-long journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land.
The Shape of Water
The first of Camilleri's wildly popular Inspector Montalbano mysteries, nicely translated and shot through (pun intended) with not just memorable characters but also with Sicilian lore and politics. If you like the series, it continues in 19 more installments -- and counting.
Sicily, Through Writers' Eyes
Homer, Herodotus, D.H. Lawrence, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Elio Vittorini and Peter Robb are represented in this magnificent tour of Sicily, its history, culture and allure.
The Great Beauty
After his 65th birthday, witty and arrogant novelist Jep Gambardella is blindsided by an ex-lover’s secret. He begins re-examining his lavish lifestyle (nightclubs, parties and cafes) and looking for a different side of Rome. Originally released in 2013.
La Dolce Vita
As his distraught girlfriend commits suicide and he becomes enamored with a film star (played by the beautiful Anita Ekberg), columnist-playboy Marcello searches for meaning. An enduring classic, set in Rome. Originally released in 1960.
A House in Sicily
An old-fashioned memoir of life at Casa Cuseni, the pensione and garden in Taormina run by the indomitable Daphne Phelps, which has been a sanctuary for such guests as Tennessee Williams, Betrand Russell and others, famous and infamous, since 1947.
The Mask of Apollo
Master of historical fiction Mary Renault centers her novel in the turbulent world of fourth-century B.C. Greece, where a tragic actor finds Plato and his friend trying to subdue the tyrannical ruler of Syracuse.
D.H. Lawrence and Italy
This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places, his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia.
Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Di Lampedusa's memorable tale, set on a rural Sicilian estate during the days of independence, follows the world-weary Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina. A classic, now in a 50th anniversary edition.
Between Salt Water and Holy Water, A History of Southern Italy
Astarita captures the fanfare, rivalry and changing fortunes of Sicily from antiquity through Norman, Spanish and Bourbon rule to unification and the 20th century.
Ancient Sicily, Monuments Past & Present
In this illuminating overview, ingenious overlays depict 17 important sites as they appear today and how they may have appeared in the past.