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A Week in Venice, Florence and Rome

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 EXITL933. Buy these 5 items as a set for $87 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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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 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)

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

by Ada Gabucci

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 144 PAGES

This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction. (ITL419, $19.95)

Eyewitness Guide Italy

Eyewitness Guide Italy

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 672 PAGES

Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide is handsome, convenient and up-to-date. Featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions. (ITL32, $30.00)

Italy Map

Italy Map

by Borch Maps

  • 2011
  • MAP

A convenient laminated map of Italy at a scale of 1:800,000 with excellent topographic detail, an index and large maps of Sicily and Sardinia. (ITL19, $11.95)

 
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)

Venice Map

Venice Map


by Borch Maps

  • 2008
  • MAP

A colorful, detailed city map of Venice, perfect for finding your way around the famously labyrinthine streets and canals. (ITL26, $8.95)

Fodor's Florence's 25 Best

Fodor's Florence's 25 Best


by Fodor's

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map and essential information on the city's highlights, including sightseeing, restaurants and shopping. (ITL140, $13.99)

Fodor's Rome's 25 Best

Fodor's Rome's 25 Best


by Fodor's

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

This shirt-pocket guide includes a map of the city and essential information on its highlights. (ITL112, $13.99)

Fodor's Venice's 25 Best

Fodor's Venice's 25 Best


by Citypack

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map of the city center and essential information. (ITL106, $13.99)

Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook

Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook


by Lonely Planet

  • LANGUAGE & PHRASEBOOKS
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 260 PAGES

A handy, palm-size guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler. (ITL531, $8.99)

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)

One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Italy

One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Italy


by Paolo Lazzarin

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 276 PAGES

This pocket-sized pictorial guide to some of Italy's hidden gems features towns from twenty diverse regions, each with varied landscapes, architecture and local specialties. (ITL546, $25.00)

A Traveller's History of Italy

A Traveller's History of Italy


by Valerio Lintner

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 287 PAGES

A brief history of Italy through the 1990s -- wide-ranging, accessible and necessarily condensed. With a useful chronology and historical gazetteer, this book marches confidently through the centuries. (ITL86, $14.95)

Italianissimo

Italianissimo


by Louise Fili | Lise Apatoff

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2008
  • HARD COVER
  • 111 PAGES

Divertingly illustrated, this A-to-Z guide profiles 50 very Italian customs and concepts from the notion of beauty (bellisimo) to the Italian disregard for lines (Fare La Coda). (ITL983, $19.95)

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)

Venice, A New History

Venice, A New History


by Thomas F. Madden

  • HISTORY
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 446 PAGES

With authority, Madden tackles the history of the celebrated city from Roman times onward. (ITA380, $20.00)

Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture


by Ross King

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

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. (ITL410, $16.00)

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling


by Ross King

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

Presented with flair and backed by a wealth of research, King's captivating chronicle of Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel tells the story of its conception and creation. (ITL464, $18.00)

Michelangelo, A Life in Six Masterpieces

Michelangelo, A Life in Six Masterpieces


by Miles J. Unger

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 448 PAGES

This highly readable biography of Michelangelo will delight the traveler with its accessible explanations of six of the artist's well-known masterpieces, such as the Pieta, David, the Sistine Chapel fresco and St. Peter's Basilica. (ITA454, $29.95)

St. Peter's

St. Peter's


by Keith Miller | Mary Beard

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Miller traces the evolution of St. Peter's from its original incarnation, built on the orders of Emperor Constantine, to its medieval rebirth and additions by Michelangelo, Bernini and Maderno in this history, guide and celebration of the great baroque basilica. (ITL886, $14.95)

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)

The Genius of Venice, Piazza San Marco and the Making of the Republic

The Genius of Venice, Piazza San Marco and the Making of the Republic


by Dial Parrott

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 413 PAGES

With 112 color illustrations and four maps, the Genius of Venice presents the magnificent buildings of the celebrated piazza as, in the words of John Ruskin, the "living books of history" in this handsome cultural history. (ITA376, $40.00)

Italian Days

Italian Days


by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 479 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Grizzuti Harrison writes with warmth and depth of her journey from Milan south to Calabria in this sprightly account of Italy and the Italians. (ITL02, $16.00)

La Bella Lingua

La Bella Lingua


by Dianne Hales

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES
  • NEW

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. (ITA26, $15.00)

The Other Side of the Tiber, Reflections on Time in Italy

The Other Side of the Tiber, Reflections on Time in Italy


by Wallis Wilde-Menozzi

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

An ardent Midwesterner transplanted to Parma, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi returns to the Rome for her youth in this soulful meditation on the people, places, ruins, statues and allure of the Eternal City. She's particularly astute on art, but it is her ability to conjure the life of the city that sets the book apart. (ITA373, $16.00)

The World of Venice

The World of Venice


by Jan Morris

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 315 PAGES
  • BEST SELLER
  • FAVORITE

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. (ITL12, $18.95)

Venice Is a Fish

Venice Is a Fish


by Tiziano Scarpa

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

The hugely popular Venetian novelist, poet and playwright makes his English-language debut with these marvelously digressive essays on the many moods and pleasures of La Serenissima. (ITL964, $12.00)

Cabal

Cabal


by Michael Dibdin

  • MYSTERY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 241 PAGES

Zen is called to the Vatican to investigate the death of Prince Ludovico Ruspanti, who plunged from the roof of St. Peter's Basilica. (ITL620, $13.95)

Death at La Fenice

Death at La Fenice


by Donna Leon

  • MYSTERY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 270 PAGES

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. (ITL555, $14.99)

Italy, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Italy, A Traveler's Literary Companion


by Lawrence Venuti

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Not just a literary companion, this anthology is also a who's who of contemporary Italian writers that captures the spirit, history and allure of the country. (ITL466, $14.95)

The Birth of Venus, A Novel

The Birth of Venus, A Novel


by Sarah Dunant

  • LITERATURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 397 PAGES

A rich novel of art, passion and patronage, memorably set in late 15th-century Florence and prominently featuring the famously pious reformer Savonarola. (ITL532, $15.00)

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.