Best Books to Read Before Traveling to Italy
Ahh Italy. I would venture a guess that there is no place on earth that captures the hearts and minds of travelers as often as Italy. The winding canals of Venice, the rolling hills of Tuscany, brightly colored fishing boats along the coast, and the ancient history of Rome. It's enough to spark anyone's wanderlust.
Since we all can't jump on the next plane, here are the best books to read to take you to Italy without a passport. If you're lucky enough to be traveling to Italy soon, these books will deepen your experience in a meaningful way.
La Bella Figura: A field Guide to the Italian Mind by Beppe Severgnini. Forget about the Italy that you think you know, and disappear into the Italy that Severgnini knows. He shares a chaotic, authentic glimpse into the Italy that Italians know and (sometimes) love.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters. I'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't enjoy this book. Walter's creates a history of romance, light-hearted comedy, and family that bounces from the Italian coast in the 60s to modern Hollywood. Enjoy the ride, it's a fun one. Bonus: the cover features the ever beautiful and ultra-popular Cinque Terre (as if you had another reason to want to head there).
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Had to! This travel memoir is well-known for a reason. It's easy reading that instantly transports you to the streets of Rome. Best enjoyed with a glass of red wine.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Mayes moves to Tuscany to refurbish an old villa. Sound like a dream to you? Me too. Her detailed account of the daily goings-on are slow, meticulous, and beautiful. Best for readers who want to trade the hustle and bustle of daily life for a slower, sunnier one in Italy.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. Throwing a classic book in here for a classic location. Set in Florence, it's a timeless story about falling in love on vacation. Who doesn't dream of that?
The Rocks by Peter Nichols. While not explicitly set in Italy, this modern Mediterranean masterpiece weaves sixty years of family history, secrets and romance. It's a page-turner made for enjoying sunny days on a rocky coast.
My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith. Paul Stuart arrives in Italy only to find that the only rental car available is a bulldozer. This book is as comical, light-hearted and silly as it sounds.