Books about Northern Italy

Old Sep 16th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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Books about Northern Italy

Departing on our trip to Northern Italy (3 nights Lake Como & 4 in Venice) and beginning to get excited!

I love a good book while on vacation -- especially once set in the area I am visiting. Prefer non-fiction, but open to a good fiction read too. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Donna Leon's novels set in Venice are favorites of mine. Also 'Dead Lagoon' by Michael Dibdin. And the nonfiction 'The City of Falling Angels' by John Berendt. All in Venice.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 02:49 PM
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Do you play or like golf?

I really enjoyed;

The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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Well, you are bit farther north but two highly recommended non-fiction books by Ross King. My wife and I enjoyed them on our trip to Italy.

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
http://www.amazon.com/Brunelleschis-...tt_at_ep_dpt_1

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
http://www.amazon.com/Michelangelo-P...tt_at_ep_dpt_2

Another great one:
Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
http://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-...dp/1444420410/
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 03:13 PM
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P.S. Not sure if Cellini's autobiography is fiction or non-fiction!
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...864148,00.html
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Old Sep 17th, 2011, 03:21 AM
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I like Tim Parks' books about living in northern Italy, Italian Neighbors, an Italian Education and A season with Verona.
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Old Sep 17th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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There is always the classic "A Soldier of the Great War" by Mark Helprin. It's a bit heavy (in weight) and unfortunately doesn't appear to have a kindle version (you could check for a Nook one). It's fiction, but based heavily on the events of WWI in the area (more the Dolomites, but still nearby)
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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 01:54 PM
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Everytime I'm preparing for a trip I always check Longitude Books, they have both fiction and non-fiction arranged by destination. I'm not sure what they have on Italy, but always a good place to check before a trip.

http://www.longitudebooks.com/
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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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Donna Leon's "Guido Brunetti" detective novels are an easy read and perfectly suited (in my mind) to vacation reading although I never have time to read while traveling.

I am in the middle of a very good non-fiction read, "Venice Pure City" by Peter Ackroyd 2009. Very well reviewed covering all facets of Venetian history and life. Its readable and chock full of information.
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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 04:11 PM
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Here's another good website for novels and nonfiction books for the country of your choice including Italy:

http://www.packabook.com/books-set-in-italy.html#gohere
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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Steviegene, not sure about a book, but if you have time you might rent the film A MONTH BY THE LAKE which contains fabulous views of Como. Vanessa Redgrave stars in this classy comedy set just before WWII. Again, scenery to die for….
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 03:30 AM
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I like Donna Leon's novels set in Venice, but I wouldn't say they are good holiday reads as each book is quite short - and there are currently 19 of them !

I read 'City of Falling Angels' recently and disliked it and everyone in it, although there were some interesting anecdotes if you know Venice well.

Especially since you say you prefer non-fiction, I'd highly recommend Jan Morris's 'Venice'. I've read it twice now, before each of our last 2 trips to Venice, and although it takes me a while to get through it I think it may be the most interesting book I've ever read - there is so much in it, and it really gives you a feel for the place. It should certainly keep you going for a week.

'Venice is a Fish' is interesting and atmospheric but very short, and Jan Morris covers more.

Don't know any books set at Lake Como, I'm afraid.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 04:04 AM
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I just finished Paul Weideger's Venetian Dreaming. It was rivetting and I enjoyed following her apartment-hunting and so on with the aid of my map. However, it is another book where the reader emerges thinking most of the characters are in need of some counselling.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 04:04 AM
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Sorry, it's PAULA Weideger.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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Thanks all for your suggestions and great links! This gives me a lot to think about. I have read City of Fallen Angels too, and also didn't like it -- so looking forward to finding a Venice book I'll enjoy. I will look into some of these suggestions -- thanks!!
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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I fell in love with Savannah and loved the developed characters of Midnight in the Garden. Although the real life characters we encountered were larger than Berendt's.

I also really did not like The City of Fallen (they had already hit the ground) Angels, it just seemed as someone was riding on the crest of a wave a trying to hard to create. Just seemed laboured and well short of Midnight.

I haven't been to Venice and have over the period of 22 trips to Italy avoided it like the Black Death. We are in Turin at the end of October again and have 3 spare days. Just don't know, just don't like over-exposed places....and smelly canals.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 11:34 AM
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Canals aren't likely to be smelly in October and you've missed one of the most unique places on the planet. Off season and off the beaten track within the city it's beautiful. Not the epicurean center of the universe but otherwise great. No place is the same as it used to be.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 11:35 AM
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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Francescos-V.../dp/0563521376

Some Brits hate him but I personally love his laid back "born into money" approach. Haven't read the book but have read his book in which he sailed The Black Swan down the coast of Croatia. Again, I am bias as it is the most beautiful yacht in the world.

http://www.charterworld.com/index.ht...-windrose-1260

I never go to Italy without Giuseppe Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo
which has an incredibly descriptive narrative and a good insight into the excesses of the old Italian high life. Not northern Italy I know.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 11:42 AM
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joannay

I don't know. I just don't know.

The Dolomites would be an easy pick. We have only driven through them at 85 miles an hour on the way to Munich. I swore no more tourist trails after Florence the last time. Still October should be quiet(ish).
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