Reading list inspiration for travel
City and region specific
Books & eBooks
- Approach Guides to ItalyView on ApproachGuides.com* Explore the full catalog of our travel guides to Italy, focused on art, architecture, food and wine.
- Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750View on Amazon The definitive review of Baroque art & architecture. Unrivaled in detail and scope. By Rudolf Wittkower.
- Confessions of an ItalianView on Amazon An overlooked classic of Italian literature, this epic and unforgettable novel recounts one man's long and turbulent life in revolutionary Italy. By Frederika Randall.
- DH Lawrence and ItalyView on Amazon With three stories written in the 1930s -- 'Twilight in Italy', 'Sea and Sardinia' and 'Etruscan Places' -- Lawrence delivers a highly sensitive portrayal of the place and the people.
- Innocents AbroadView on Amazon A refreshing and funny travel narrative based on the famed author's writings from his 1867 steamship voyage to Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land. By Mark Twain.
- Italian Baroque and Rococo ArchitectureView on Amazon The best introduction to this dynamic architectural style, showcased throughout the country, from Sicily to Venice. Think of it as the "lite version" of Wittkower's tome. By John Varriano.
- Italy in MindView on Amazon A well-chosen compilation — of short stories, novel excerpts, essays, poetry journals and letters by 19th- and 20th-century British and American authors — that provides a window into the soul of the country. By Alice Leccese Powers.
- Made in Italy, A Shopper’s GuideView on Amazon An expert in art history, the author provides valuable information on the country's signature artisanal products. By Laura Morelli.
- Osterie d’ItaliaView on Amazon Produced by the Italian Slow Food team, this book points out the country's most traditional local restaurants and their must-try dishes (Italian only). It is also available as an app.
- Ten Books of ArchitectureView on Gutenberg.org Vitruvius' classic treatise which had a profound influence on the Italian renaissance. Translation by Morris Hicky Morgan.
- The History of Western PhilosophyView on Amazon While not country-specific, this masterpiece puts all of the greats — the ancient Greeks and Romans, early Catholic philosophers, and the moderns — into context in a thoughtful, engaging and approachable style. By Bertrand Russell.
- The ItaliansView on Amazon A must-read. A consummate portrait of the Italian people, it provides insights available nowhere else. By Luigi Barzini.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy”View on MetMuseum.org A tour-de-force examination of the interplay between 16th-century artists (especially the greats: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael) and scientists in advancing anatomical understanding. By Domenico Laurenza.
- “End of ongoing sea rescue mission ‘puts thousands at risk”View on TheGuardian.com Refugee expert says to expect 3,000 death toll to multiply as Europe cuts back on its patrols of waters used by migrants. By Lizzie Davies and Arthur Nelsen.
- “Fourteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces”View on MetMuseum.org A comprehensive review of this fascinating subject — the epicenter of which was Florence and Siena — by the Met's head of European paintings. By Keith Christiansen.
- “Gluten-Free Dining in Italy”View on NYTimes.com What was taboo is perhaps no longer. By Andrew Curry.
- “Man, The Drinker”View on UPenn.edu The uncovering of an ancient tomb, the Midas Tumulus, in central Turkey at the ancient site of Gordion, sparks Patrick McGovern's exploration of the origins of wine. By Trey Popp.
- “Searching for Truffles, a Treasure that Comes in Black”View on NYTimes.com A search for the delicacy in the Marche region. By Helene Cooper.
- “The Demolition Man”View on NewYorker.com Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (a Florentine native) is on a mission to remake Italy. By Jane Kramer.
- “The Italian Disaster”View on London Review of Books What's plaguing the Italian economy. By Perry Anderson.
- “The Mussolini of Ass”View on GQ.com The author's appraisal of Silvio Berlusconi. By Devin Friedman.
- “The Renaissance in Italy and Spain”MetMuseum.org Presents the full range of artistic endeavor from the first awakenings of the Renaissance spirit to the climactic creations of Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo. Titian, and Veronese, the masters of the High Renaissance.
- “What Will Ferrari Be After Montezemolo Leaves”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com What the chairman's departure means for the future of the Italian icon. By Dan Neil.
If you won’t have ready access to wifi during your travels, consider saving these articles for offline reading using the Instapaper app.
- Eating Slow FoodVisit ApproachGuides.com* Guide to eating Slow Food in Italy.
- Italy’s VolcanoesVisit volcano.si.edu Developed and maintained by the Smithsonian Institute, it is the best source we've found for comprehensive information (appearance, type, photos, eruption history) on the country's spectacular volcanoes. We link to Etna's profile, but encourage you to check out those of Stromboli and Vesuvius. Climb one if you can!
- Scheduled Transportation StrikesVisit scioperi.mit.gov.it Unfortunately, regularly-scheduled transportation (airlines, rail) strikes are still the norm in Italy. Be sure to check this site before scheduling logistics.
- The ultimate app for wine enthusiastsVisit wine.approachguides.com Simply the best resource for learning about wine regions, appellations and grape varieties.
- Yale Lectures on DanteVisit youtube.com Yale University Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta offers a complete course on Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of the Divine Comedy and selected minor works.
Just for Kids
- Italian Picture Word BookView on Amazon Delightful learning aid contains 15 scenes of home, school, farm, beach, and other environments with dozens of objects labeled in Italian. By Hayward Cirker.
- Strega NonaView on Amazon Classic folktale of what happens when Strega Nona — who lives alone in a small cottage in Calabria — leaves Big Anthony alone with her magic pasta pot. By Tomie dePaola.
- The Legend of Old BefanaView on Amazon Delightful Italian Christmas legend about a busy old woman and her search for the Child King. By Tomie dePaola.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Erica FirpoFollow @moscerina An expat writer affords valuable insights into the happenings of her beloved city, Rome.
- Twitter: Italian TalksFollow @ItalianTalks Lovers of Italy sharing the best of Italy: art, culture, gastronomy, design, travel & lifestyle from Trentino to Sicily.
- Twitter: Italy MagazineFollow @ItalyMagazine Tweets offer a lot of Italian travel inspiration.
- Twitter: John HooperFollow @john_hooper Italy & Vatican correspondent, The Economist, and S. Europe Editor, the Guardian.
- Twitter: Lidia BastianichFollow @LidiaBastianich For her unrivaled insights into Italian cuisine.
- Twitter: Monica LarnerFollow @MonicaLarner Italian Reviewer for The Wine Advocate.
- Twitter: Sanne de BoerFollow @ZzItalia The only foreign correspondent based in Calabria, Southern Italy * from Amsterdam, the Netherlands * most tweets in English.