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Italy

Italy Books. Read all about it.

Even if you have only read one good book in your life, you will know what pleasure reading good travel books brings. These travel and tourism books will spark your imagination, fuel your soul, and transport you to another world. Begin your literary journey now.

Home » Resources » Italy

A Guide to Jewish Italy (2004)

Annie Sacerdoti

The Jewish community in Italy has a long and storied history going back more than two millennia to the days of the Roman Empire. This remarkable guidebook – the only one of its kind – is a city-by-city survey of every location in Italy that contains art, artifacts, or architecture tied to the Jewish heritage of Italy.

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Travel literature

An Italian in Italy (2005)

Beppe Severgnini

Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America! on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors—la bella figura—and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self.

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Fiction

Angels and Demons (2000)

Dan Brown

Best-selling mystery-thriller novel set in Italy.

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Family Sayings (1963)

Natalia Ginzburg

Family Sayings is a semi-biographical description of aspects of the daily life of Natalia Ginzburg’s family, dominated by her father, the renowned histologist, Giuseppe Levi.

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Fiction

God’s Mountain (2001)

Erri De Luca

This is a story told by a boy in his thirteenth year, recorded in his secret diary. His life is about to change – his world is about to open.

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Non-fiction

Gomorrah (2006)

Roberto Saviano

Gomorrah is a non-fiction investigative book which documents Saviano’s infiltration and investigation of various areas of business and daily life controlled or affected by the criminal organization Camorra.

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If This Is a Man (2003)

Primo Levi

A clear and matter-of-fact description of concentration camp survival, where cruelty, starvation and privation were a part of life. It’s a powerful testament to the ability of humans to survive such relentless, inhuman treatment. It is an important history to tell by the few that survived. Few people can imagine such horrors, yet it happened to real people, perpetrated by real people.

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Jewish Catacombs: The Jews of Rome: Funeral Rites and Customs (2014)

Elsa Laurenzi

This slender well-written book is packed with easy-to-read information about the structure of the Jewish community of Rome and the politics and history of the city where it developed and grew.

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Historical Fiction

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo (1958)

Irving Stone

The Agony and the Ecstasy is a biographical novel of Michelangelo Buonarroti written by American author Irving Stone.

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Historical Fiction

The Birth of Venus (2003)

Sarah Dunant

This novel is set in late 15th-century Florence, centering around a young Florentine girl, Alessandra Cecchi, who is drawn to a young painter commissioned to pain the family’s chapel walls.

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Epic poetry

The Divine Comedy (1472)

Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy is an Italian long narrative poem completed in 1320, a year before the author’s death. It is widely considered to be the preeminent work in Italian literature, and one of the greatest works of world literature.

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Historical Fiction

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962)

Georgio Bassani

An Italian historical novel which chronicles the relationships between the narrator and the children of the Finzi-Contini family from the rise of Benito Mussolini until the start of World War II.

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The Ghetto of Venice (1995)

Riccardo Calimani

The Ghetto of Venice chronicles the Jewish ghetto of Venice, from its creation in 1516 through its travails during World War II, and sheds light on subjects including the Inquisition, the Marranos, and the organization of the Jewish community.

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The Jewish War (75 AD)

Josephus Flavius

Divided into seven books, it opens with a summary of Jewish history from the capture of Jerusalem by the Seleucid Ruler Antiochus IV Ephipanes in 168 BC to the first stages of the First Jewish-Roman War.

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The Neapolitan Novels (2012-15)

Elena Ferrante

The Neapolitan Novels is a series of four books: My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014), and The Story of the Lost Child (2015). Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, Elana Ferrante tells the story of a sixty-year friendship between the brilliant and bookish Elena and the fiery rebellious Lila.

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The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican (2009)

Benjamin Blech & Roy Dolliner

The recent cleaning of the Sistine Chapel frescoes removed layer after layer of centuries of accumulated tarnish and darkness. The Sistine Secrets endeavors to remove the centuries of prejudice, censorship, and ignorance that blind us to the truth about one of the world’s most famous and beloved art treasures.

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Treasures of the Jewish Museum of Rome: Guide to the Museum and its Collection (2010)

Daniela Di Castro

The guide describes the creation of the Jewish Museum of Rome, inaugurated in 2005 with various additions.

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