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Italy: Sicily

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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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

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On Persephone's Island

On Persephone's Island

by Mary Taylor Simeti

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1986
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

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. (ITL03, $15.95)

Midnight in Sicily, On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra

Midnight in Sicily, On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra

by Peter Robb

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

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. (ITL74, $20.00)

The Leopard

The Leopard

by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Giuseppe 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. (ITL11, $16.00)

Eyewitness Guide Sicily

Eyewitness Guide Sicily

by Eyewitness Guides | DK Publishing

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

This superb guide to Sicily features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a synopsis of the island's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry. (ITL468, $23.00)

Sicily Map

Sicily Map

by Touring Club Italiano

  • 2011
  • MAP

A detailed map of Sicily (1:200,000) printed on water- and tear-resistant paper. (ITL181, $13.95)

 
Blue Guide Sicily

Blue Guide Sicily


by Ellen Grady

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 500 PAGES

This in-depth guide to Sicily's ancient history and archaeology features detailed maps and site plans. (ITL125, $26.95)

Eat Smart in Sicily, How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure

Eat Smart in Sicily, How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure


by Joan Peterson

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

A slim pocket guide that focuses solely on the cuisine of the island and the influences that the Greeks, Norman French, Tunisians and Italians have had on its delectable dishes. (ITL911, $13.95)

Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook

Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook


by Lonely Planet

  • LANGUAGE & PHRASEBOOKS
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

A handy, palm-size guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler. (ITL531, $9.99)

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 Italian handcraft shops and products from Murano glass to ceramics, jewelry and leather. (ITL473, $24.95)

Between Salt Water and Holy Water, A History of Southern Italy

Between Salt Water and Holy Water, A History of Southern Italy


by Tommaso Astarita

  • HISTORY
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Astarita captures the fanfare, rivalry and changing fortunes of Sicily from antiquity through Norman, Spanish and Bourbon rule to unification and the 20th century. (ITL597, $22.95)

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)

Seeking Sicily, A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean

Seeking Sicily, A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean


by John Keahey

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2011
  • HARD COVER
  • 320 PAGES

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. (ITA274, $28.99)

Sicily, An Island at the Crossroads of History

Sicily, An Island at the Crossroads of History


by John Julius Norwich

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • HARD COVER
  • 432 PAGES

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. (ITA558, $32.00)

Walking

Walking


by Henry David Thoreau

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 92 PAGES

Slip this pocket edition of Thoreau's meditations on the spiritual benefits of this most civilized form of travel in your daypack for inspiration. (WLK04, $9.99)

Women of Sicily, Saints, Queens and Rebels

Women of Sicily, Saints, Queens and Rebels


by Jacqueline Alio

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

This landmark history places 17 biographies of notable Sicilian women against a broad chronology, showing how maidens, queens, mothers and women of all kinds left their mark on the world's most conquered island. (ITA539, $32.00)

Ancient Sicily, Monuments Past & Present

Ancient Sicily, Monuments Past & Present


by G. Messineo | E. Borgia

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 72 PAGES

In this illuminating overview, ingenious overlays depict 17 important sites as they appear today and how they may have appeared in the past. (ITL733, $29.95)

Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey

Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey


by Robert V. Camuto

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 312 PAGES

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. (ITA205, $18.95)

Places of My Infancy

Places of My Infancy


by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 76 PAGES

This brief memoir, source material for a remarkable novel, chronicles the lost paradise of Lampedusa's childhood on his family's estate in Sicily at the start of the 20th century. Lampedusa grew up as the only child in an aristocratic Italian family and did not begin his writing career until his fifties, just two years before his death. (ITA334, $10.95)

Sicilian Carousel

Sicilian Carousel


by Lawrence Durrell

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 291 PAGES

Durrell writes with warmth and grace of his journey around the island in the 1950s. (ITL08, $12.00)

Sicily, A Literary Guide for Travellers

Sicily, A Literary Guide for Travellers


by Andrew Edwards

  • LITERATURE
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 256 PAGES

From local authors to classic writers like Cicero and Shakespeare and 20th-century greats Lawrence and Capote, this literary survey reveals Sicily's multifaceted personality through literature. (ITA436, $25.00)

Sicily, Through Writers' Eyes

Sicily, Through Writers' Eyes


by Claire Horatio

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 306 PAGES

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. (ITL780, $33.95)

The Four Corners of Palermo

The Four Corners of Palermo


by Giuseppe Di Piazza

  • MYSTERY
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

In DiPiazza's slim crime novel, set in 1980s Palermo, you can practically smell the gunpowder. In four great mafia vignettes, we are introduced to the worst of mafia gang warfare. (ITA508, $14.95)

The Ruby in Her Navel, A Novel of Love and Intrigue in the 12th Century

The Ruby in Her Navel, A Novel of Love and Intrigue in the 12th Century


by Barry Unsworth

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

Unsworth transports the reader to the 12th century in this richly imagined novel of love and intrigue set in Norman Sicily, where Christian knights, Anatolian belly dancers, Jews and Arabs mix and mingle. (ITL760, $14.95)

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)

The Wine-Dark Sea

The Wine-Dark Sea


by Leonardo Sciascia | Avril Bardoni | Alberto Mobilio

  • LITERATURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 201 PAGES

A collection of 13 stories, all set in the celebrated writers' native Sicily, and featuring mafiosi, carabinieri and villagers. (ITL408, $14.95)

Volcanoes, Fire from the Earth

Volcanoes, Fire from the Earth


by Maurice Krafft

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1993
  • PAPER
  • 175 PAGES
  • HARD TO FIND ELSEWHERE

By the great French volcanologist (who died on the job on Mount Unzen in Japan in 1992), this pocket guide features hundreds of full-color paintings and traces the study of volcanoes from early myth and legend to modern science. (GEO06, $15.95)

Birds of Europe

Birds of Europe


by Lars Svensson

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps. (FG47, $29.95)

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.