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Taste of Tuscany & Umbria

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXITL675. Buy these 4 items as a set for $67 including shipping, 20% off the retail price.
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Eyewitness Guide Florence & Tuscany

Eyewitness Guide Florence & Tuscany

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

Superbly illustrated, this compact guide shows the neighborhoods, museums, shops and sites of Florence and surroundings in full color. (ITL46, $25.00)

Eyewitness Guide Umbria

Eyewitness Guide Umbria

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • FLEXI-BOUND
  • 192 PAGES

A marvelously illustrated, compact guide to the culture, history and attractions of Umbria, organized geographically and especially helpful for its innovative site plans, building diagrams and local maps. (ITL512, $20.00)

The Art of the Renaissance

The Art of the Renaissance

by Peter Murray

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 286 PAGES

A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists. (ITL14, $18.95)

Central Italy Map

Central Italy Map

by Touring Club Italiano

  • MAP

A regional map of Central Italy, including Tuscany, Umbria and Rome, at a scale of 1:400,000. (ITL103, $12.95)

 
Florence Map

Florence Map


by Borch Maps

  • 2006
  • MAP

A detailed, plastic-covered city map of Florence at a scale of 1:7,000. (ITL59, $8.95)

Rome Map

Rome Map


by Borch Maps

  • 2007
  • MAP

A handy map at a scale of 1:11,000, with a more detailed overview of the city center. (ITL60, $8.95)

Fodor's Florence's 25 Best

Fodor's Florence's 25 Best


by Fodor's

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 128 PAGES

This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map and essential information on the city's highlights, including sightseeing, restaurants and shopping. (ITL140, $11.99)

Fodor's Rome's 25 Best

Fodor's Rome's 25 Best


by Fodor's

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 176 PAGES

This shirt-pocket guide includes a map of the city and essential information on its highlights. (ITL112, $12.99)

Made in Italy, A Shopper's Guide

Made in Italy, A Shopper's Guide


by Laura Morelli

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

The second edition of Morelli's expert survey of handcrafted Italian shops and products from Murano glass to ceramics, jewelry and leather. (ITL473, $24.95)

Italy, A Short History

Italy, A Short History


by Harry Hearder

  • HISTORY
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 294 PAGES

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. (ITL56, $29.99)

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind


by Beppe Severgnini

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES
  • BEST SELLER

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. (ITL718, $15.00)

The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings

The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings


by R.W.B. Lewis

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 350 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

A vivid tour of the city and its riches by the fine biographer of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Lewis has written what he calls "a partial biography of Florence," beautifully interweaving the personal and the historical. (ITL47, $22.99)

The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall

The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall


by Christopher Hibbert

  • HISTORY
  • 1982
  • PAPER
  • 364 PAGES

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. (ITL135, $16.99)

The Italians

The Italians


by Luigi Barzini

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

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. (ITL05, $17.00)

Tuscan Country, A Photographer's Journey

Tuscan Country, A Photographer's Journey


by Wes Walker

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2007
  • HARD COVER
  • 160 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

Walker captures the allure of the hill towns, including Siena, Lucca, Pisa and smaller cities and villages in 100 luminous color photographs. (ITL848, $29.95)

A Valley in Italy, The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria

A Valley in Italy, The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria


by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

This short memoir chronicles a year in the small Umbrian village of San Orsola--especially the delights and frustrations of renovating a decayed villa. Taking in food, wine, local customs and landscapes, the book is an excellent introduction to the region (ITL98, $14.99)

Reluctant Saint, The Life of Francis of Assisi

Reluctant Saint, The Life of Francis of Assisi


by Donald Spoto

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

Spoto draws on fascinating new research to explore the travels, spirit and work of the beloved saint. This engaging portrait provides an excellent overview of the life of St. Francis. (ITL849, $16.00)

Songbirds, Truffles and Wolves, An American Naturalist in Italy

Songbirds, Truffles and Wolves, An American Naturalist in Italy


by Gary Paul Nabhan

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

The author, a poet and naturalist, heads along the Franciscan Way from Florence to Assisi. This most unusual travelogue combines natural history, spirituality and a lively appreciation of local food and food traditions. A print-on-demand paperback. (ITL99, $16.00)

War in Val D'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

War in Val D'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944


by Iris Origo | Denis Mack Smith

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 239 PAGES

A diary of day-to-day heroism and fortitude. The author and her family take children, deserters, escaped prisoners, and Jews fleeing the advancing Germans into their home in Tuscany. (ITL219, $15.95)

Ratking

Ratking


by Michael Dibdin

  • MYSTERY
  • 1997
  • PAPER

Venetian crime investigator Aurelio Zen goes after the kidnappers of a Perugian industrialist in this enjoyable thriller, winner of the Gold Dagger Award (and first book in the series). (ITL622, $15.00)

Summer's Lease

Summer's Lease


by John Mortimer

  • MYSTERY
  • 1991
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

A well-paced mystery set in the Tuscan countryside, by Sir John Morimer, author of Rumpole of the Bailey. Poor Molly Pargeter's idyll is upset when the water supply fails and a neighbor dies. John Gielgud starred in the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation as the seriously mischievous Haverford Downs. (ITL580, $18.00)

Travelers' Tales Tuscany

Travelers' Tales Tuscany


by Tara Austen Weaver | James O'Reilly

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 222 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

An anthology of great excerpts from travel essays about Tuscany, with pieces from Saul Bellow, Frances Mayes and Ferenc Mate, among others. (ITL315, $16.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.