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Italy

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 EXITL544. Buy these 5 items as a set for $84 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Eyewitness Guide Italy

Eyewitness Guide Italy

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 720 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)

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 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)

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)

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)

 
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)

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)

Biba's Italy

Biba's Italy


by Biba Caggiano

  • FOOD
  • 2006
  • HARD COVER
  • 320 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

Caggiano focuses on regional, seasonal food in this omnibus cookbook (featuring 100 recipes), menu planner and travel guide to Rome, Florence, Bologna, Milan and Venice. Nicely produced, this handsome sepia-toned book includes recommended restaurants, cafes and markets in each city. (ITL777, $29.95)

The Tuscan Year, Tuscan Life and Food in an Italian Valley

The Tuscan Year, Tuscan Life and Food in an Italian Valley


by Elizabeth Romer

  • FOOD
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 182 PAGES
  • FAVORITE
  • OUT OF PRINT

An intimate portrait of life on a Tuscan farm as seen primarily through the robust food and a Longitude favorite. Romer captures the goings-on in the countryside, and especially in the Cerotti kitchen, where traditional Tuscan rural food is prepared with loving care. Every chapter includes concisely described recipes. (ITL131, $15.00)

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)

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 Renaissance, A Short History

The Renaissance, A Short History


by Paul Johnson

  • HISTORY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 196 PAGES

The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages. (ITL774, $15.00)

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)

Italy, Monuments Past and Present

Italy, Monuments Past and Present


by R.A. Staccioli

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 2003
  • FLEXI-BOUND
  • 78 PAGES

This informative volume shows Italy's most important monuments as they look today and, via overlaid illustrations, as they were once upon a time. The book surveys the history and archeological highlights of Pompeii, Rome and Sicily. (ITL455, $25.00)

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)

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)

Four Seasons in Rome

Four Seasons in Rome


by Anthony Doerr

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

Doerr captures the romance and challenge of living abroad in this lyrical memoir, invitingly subtitled "On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World." (ITL840, $15.00)

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 World of Venice

The World of Venice


by Jan Morris

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 315 PAGES
  • 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)

Italy in Mind

Italy in Mind


by Alice Powers

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 349 PAGES

A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others. (ITL39, $18.95)

The Italian Lover

The Italian Lover


by Robert Hellenga

  • LITERATURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

A novel of food, romance and Florence, Hellenga's exhilarating sequel to The Sixteen Pleasures finds Margot Harrington overseeing the production of a film based on her experiences in the first installment. (ITL892, $14.99)

The Patience of the Spider

The Patience of the Spider


by Stephen Sartarelli | Andrea Camilleri

  • MYSTERY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Book number eight in Camilleri's series, starring the world-weary, earthy -- and now aging not so gracefully -- Inspector Montalbano (made into a wildly popular television series in Italy). (ITL826, $15.00)

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water


by Andrea Camilleri

  • MYSTERY
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

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 16 more installments -- and counting. (ITL528, $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.