These captivating books on Italy are a must-read before your trip. Non-fiction Italian travel books include the classic Rick Steeves travel guide alongside books about the Italian language and food you’ll encounter during your vacation as well.
Planning a trip to Italy? Or perhaps you just want to explore Italy from home as part of a homeschool geography, history, or cultural study.
These non-fiction books on Italy cover a broad range of fascinating topics that bring the Italian vistas right to your front door.
When I’m reading up before a big trip, I always start with a few classic travel guides to get a better sense of the area I’ll be visiting and the landmarks I want to add to my itinerary.
But then I like to dig a little deeper with books about the language, history, food, and culture so that I’m better prepared for the people I’ll meet and the experiences I’ll encounter.
Though you might be able to find locals who can speak a bit of English, if it is your first International trip, the right thing to do is to pick up a few Italian phrases before you go.
Familiarizing yourself with an Italian phrase book and reading a little about all the amazing food you’ll find in the pasta and pizza restaurants will help you to order more easily and be sure you get what you love.
I’ve also included a few Italian travelogues if you prefer a first-hand account of Tuscany vs. a more detailed guide book or history book.
If you’ll be traveling as a family, you’ll definitely want to check out this list of books about Italy for kids. They are perfect for using in a homeschool curriculum or simply to prepare your children before a family vacation.
But if non-fiction books aren’t your thing, don’t miss this list of fiction books about Italy that would fun to take on the plane!
20 Travel Books About Italy to Read Before You Go
Planning a trip to Italy? Be sure to pick up a few of these fantastic travel books about Italy so you can have the best trip ever.
Now more than ever, you can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling through Italy. From the Mediterranean to the Alps, from fine art to fine pasta, experience it all with Rick Steves!
From erupting volcanoes to magnificent coastal scenery, this breathtaking country is rich in natural beauty. And with more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than anywhere else on Earth, there is no better place to experience the glories of European art and architecture.
Of course, Italy is not only a sumptuous feast for the eyes; famous for some of the world’s finest food and wine, the country’s vibrant gastronomic traditions differ from one town to the next.
Our newly updated guide brings Italy to life, transporting you there like no other travel guide does with expert-led insights, trusted travel advice, detailed breakdowns of all the must-see sights, photographs on practically every page, and our hand-drawn illustrations which place you inside the country’s iconic buildings and neighborhoods.
With helpful advice and honest recommendations from Frommer’s expert authors, you’ll walk among the ancient ruins of Pompeii, float along the canals of Venice, appreciate Renaissance masterworks in Florence, explore off-the-beaten-path Puglia and live la dolce vita in Rome―as well as discover timeless wonders such as the vineyards of Tuscany and cliff-top towns perched along the Amalfi Coast.
We at Lingo Mastery have developed Easy Italian Phrase Book: Over 1500 Common Phrases for Everyday Use and Travel for you, our favorite language-learner, so that you may find the best expressions for common usage in Italy and communicate with your Italian friends, colleagues and client without any issue!
In this deliciously seductive account of an Italian neighborhood with a statue of the Virgin at one end of the street, a derelict bottle factory at the other, and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna in between, acclaimed novelist Tim Parks celebrates ten years of living with his wife, Rita, in Verona, Italy.
Via Colombre, the main street in a village just outside Verona, offers an exemplary hodgepodge of all that is new and old in the bel paese, a point of collision between invading suburbia and diehard peasant tradition in a sometimes madcap, sometimes romantic always mixed-up world of creeping vines, stuccoed walls, shotguns, security cameras, hypochondria, and expensive sports cars.
Tim Parks is anything but a gentleman in Verona. With an Italian-born wife, an Italian made family, and a whole Italian condominium bubbling around him, he collects a gallery full of splendid characters who initiate us into all the foibles and delights of life in provincial Italy.
More than a travel book, Italian Neighbors is a sparkling, witty, beautifully observed tale of how the most curious people and places gradually assume the familiarity of home. Italian Neighbors is a rare work that manages to be both a portrait and an invitation for everyone who has ever dreamed about Italy.
Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn’t it?" But soon he turns his novelist’s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy.
Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians―conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants―Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.
Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians’ sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"
“Aperitivo” or “Apero” is an integral part of Italian lifestyle—it is the daily ritual of meeting late afternoon or early evening for a cocktail and a few nibbles. As a renowned expert on food styling and entertaining, and currently restoring a castle in Tuscany, Annette Joseph is an experienced, authentic guide to la dolce vita of Italy.
With chapters on twelve major cities along the Italian Riviera (including San Remo, Genova, Portofino, and Santa Margarita), each will feature unique cocktail recipes as well as regional appetizers traditionally served with cocktails, often as a beachside ritual.
You’ll also find sidebars offering detailed info about local distilleries, celebrity barmen, cultural idiosyncrasies of bar life, famous hotels, and much more.
From the same team that created Let’s Eat France! comes this celebration of Italian food in the form of an oversized, obsessively complete, visual feast of a book.
With a mix of gastronomy, food science, history, cultural references, legend, lore, charts, graphs, photos, and illustrations, every one of the 400 pages in Let’s Eat Italy! is an alluring and amusing journey into Italian food.
This is not just another Italian cookbook filled with pizza and pasta recipes.
Italian Street Food takes you behind the piazzas, down the back streets and into the tiny bars and cafes to bring you traditional, local recipes that are rarely seen outside of Italy. Delve inside to discover the secret dishes from Italy’s hidden laneways and learn about the little-known recipes of this world cuisine.
Learn how to make authentic polpettine, arancini, piadine, cannoli, and crostoli, and perfect your gelato-making skills with authentic Italian flavours such as lemon ricotta, peach and basil, and panettone flavour. With beautiful stories and photography throughout, Italian Street Food brings an old and much-loved cuisine into a whole new light.
Richly painted maiolica ceramics from Tuscany. Supple Florentine leather. The cameos of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheeses. Jaw-dropping glass from the island of Murano.
MADE IN ITALY takes you on a complete tour of the dazzling artisanal legacy of Italy, uncovering off-the-beaten-path destinations and one-of-a-kind, hidden workshops where everything from leather bags to gilded frames are turned out completely by hand, piece by piece.
Susan is your fun-loving, savvy-traveler girlfriend whispering in your ear, inspiring you to make your Italian dream vacation come true. Go along with her as she leads you up and down the boot to discover this extraordinary country where Venus (Vixen Goddess of Love and Beauty) and The Madonna (Nurturing Mother of Compassion) reign side-by-side. These pages, curated with passion, humor, and expert female tips, are guaranteed to lift you out of the flood of online information and make your travel planning easy and pleasurable.
Discover masterpieces of art that glorify womanly curves, join a cooking class taught by revered grandmas, shop for artisan treasures, ski the Dolomites, or paint a Tuscan landscape. Make your trip a string of Golden Days by pairing your experience with the very best restaurant nearby, so sensual delights harmonize and you simply bask in the glow of bell’Italia.
His time—the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring Popes, and the all-powerful de'Medici family…
His loves—the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de'Medici, the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi, and his last love, his greatest love—the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna...
His genius—a God-driven fury from which he wrested brilliant work that made a grasp for heaven unmatched in half a millennium...His name—Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Creator of the David, painter of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, architect of the dome of St. Peter's, Michelangelo lives once more in the tempestuous, powerful pages of Irving Stone's towering triumph.
A masterpiece in its own right, this biographical novel offers a compelling portrait of one of the greatest artists the world has ever known.
On August 19, 1418, a competition concerning Florence's magnificent new cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore was announced:
"Whoever desires to make any model or design for the vaulting of the main Dome....shall do so before the end of the month of September."
The proposed dome was regarded far and wide as all but impossible to build: not only would it be enormous, but its original and sacrosanct design shunned the flying buttresses that supported cathedrals all over Europe. The dome would literally need to be erected over thin air.
Of the many plans submitted, one stood out--a daring and unorthodox solution to vaulting what is still the largest dome in the world. It was offered not by a master mason or carpenter, but by a goldsmith and clockmaker named Filippo Brunelleschi, then forty-one, who would dedicate the next twenty-eight years to solving the puzzles of the dome's construction. In the process, he reinvented the field of architecture.
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion.
This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
The essence of Italian style through fashion and costume in the 20th century in a handsome volume that captures the evolution of Italian fashion’s biggest brands.
The fashion archive of Enrico Quinto and Paolo Tinarelli has been painstakingly assembled over the last twenty years and traces the international evolution of costume from the mid-19th century to the present day.
Gray Malin turns his unique photographic eye to the coasts, beaches, and landscapes of Italy. From the sparkling blue waters of the Amalfi Coast to the dramatic coastal scenery of Cinque Terre, Gray Malin: Italy captures and celebrates in photographs many of the country’s most famous and beloved destinations.
The world's favorite expert on la dolce vita, Under the Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes guides readers through Italy's iconic regions, in a book replete with lavish National Geographic images.
This lush guide, featuring more than 350 glorious photographs from National Geographic, showcases the best Italy has to offer from the perspective of two women who have spent their lives reveling in its unique joys.
Discover stress-free, cost-saving secrets for planning the ultimate Italian getaway.Is a trip to Italy on your bucket list but out of your budget? Does preparing for international travel leave you feeling anxious? Do you worry about falling into a tourist trap? Italian travel guide and blogger Corinna Cooke has years of experience creating private vacations throughout every corner of the country. And now she’s here to share her insider tips so you can make the most of your time abroad.