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Essential Reading List - Great Books About or Set in Italy

Essential Reading List - Great Books About or Set in Italy

Old Apr 4th, 2003, 12:19 PM
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I've got a kind of Italy book fetish, so this thread is great. These are my favorites:<BR><BR>Italian Hours (Henry James)<BR>Italian Days (Barbara Grizzuti Harrison)<BR>Twilight in Italy, Sea &amp; Sardinia and Etruscan Places (D.H. Lawrence)<BR>A Traveler in Italy (H.V. Morton)<BR>The City of Florence (R.W.B. Lewis)<BR>Venice Observed, Stones of Florence (Mary McCarthy)<BR><BR>Reading back over this, I see it seems I mostly read old stuff, but it's not true. I read the new stuff too, but find much of it very overrated. It seems every week somebody else writes a book about Italy. Not all of them are very good.<BR>
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Old Apr 4th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Traveljack,<BR>Oh, please, can't we find a way for you to provide the text plus pictures version? I love the way you have combined the two.<BR>Dog Mother
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 07:29 AM
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ttt<BR><BR>Looking for a work of fiction featuring Italy (preferably Rome) that is a relatively light read.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 09:03 AM
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I highly recommend &quot;See Naples,&quot; by Douglas Allanbrook, a memoir of his experience in Italy during the war and after -- lyrical and haunting.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 09:28 AM
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I like Paul Hofmann's books, especially &quot;The Seasons of Rome: A Journal.&quot;<BR><BR>For those with an interest in architecture, another wonderful book about Rome is &quot;An Architect's Rome&quot; by John M. McGuire. Jr. McGuire writes exceptionally well and also has many delightful pen-and-ink drawings. It was in his book that I read about Rome's &quot;street of dueling churches&quot;, with one small church done by Bernini, and the other by his rival, Borromini. (Can't recall the street name offhand, but it's the one which runs parallel to the Quirinale Palace.) <BR><BR>I recently finished &quot;Venetian Dreaming&quot; by Paul Weideger. It was discussed here before and a lot of people seemed to dislike it, but I really enjoyed it.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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Traveler 212,<BR><BR>Here's a url that lists a wide variety of books in Italy, most already mentioned on this thread.<BR><BR>http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/book/memoirs.htm<BR><BR>Interestingly, in doing a web search there are TONS of novels that take place in ancient Rome, but not many in modern Rome.<BR><BR>My favorite &quot;light&quot; reads have been based in Venice (where I was going) and already mentioned on this thread<BR><BR>&quot;Mrs. Garnet's Angel&quot;, the Sklepowich mysteries and the Dibdin mysteries.<BR>
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 10:33 AM
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The Donna Leon mystery novel series featuring her detective, Guido Brunetti, and set in Venice (you can find them used on amazon.com)<BR><BR>Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes<BR><BR>Dances with Luigi (A real favorite, about an American taking a period of time off to discover some information about his Italian grandparents - very sensitively written. I preferred it to Pasquale's Nose, hands down!)<BR><BR>Anything by Iris Origo<BR><BR>Vanilla Beans &amp; Brodo by Isabella Dusi (nonfiction memoir, set in Montalcino)
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 10:46 AM
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I love mysteries and usually read ones set in the place I'm visiting.<BR>The Donna Leon series set in modern Venice previously mentioned is a favorite. <BR>Another mystery series, Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series, is set all over modern Italy--&quot;Cabal&quot; is set in Rome. <BR>Dan Brown's &quot;Angels and Demons&quot; is a fast-paced suspense novel set in modern Rome--physics, Vatican politics, art history all rolled up in a fantastical adventure.<BR>Steven Saylor writes a great historical mystery series set in ancient Rome.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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Can anyone jog my memory? <BR>I'm trying to recall the title and author of a book I read in 2000. It was set in Florence shortly after the 1966 flood.<BR>It followed a young American woman's love affair with an older man, and involved the finding of a book of twelve or thirteen pornographic drawings and poems in a convent. <BR>Does anyone remember this one?
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 01:42 PM
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Lots of stuff on Tuscany (we know that's romantic), Rome, Sicily, but what about Naples / Amalfi Coast / Capri?
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 02:34 PM
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Hi Kvick:<BR>I think you are referring to &quot;The Sixteen Pleasures: A Novel&quot;, by Robert Hellenga. Haven't read it yet but its on my wish list!<BR>
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 04:26 PM
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Ditto...Marlena de Blasci's book &quot;1000 Days in Venice. Very interesting read.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 05:42 AM
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I cannot remember the author of &quot;La Cucina&quot; - fiction, but beautifully written - Sicily based, some Mafia involvement, and an ode to cooking. Really worth the reading!
 
Old Apr 15th, 2003, 07:46 AM
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La Cucina, as an ode to cooking? I rather thought of it as an ode to something else! <BR><BR>It's by Lily Prior. A really fun book.<BR><BR>Did anyone mention Dances with Luigi?
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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LindaS, thank you very much. Not being able to remember &quot;The Sixteen Pleasures&quot; would have gnawed at me for weeks.
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 09:37 AM
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I took La Cucina on vacation to Lake Tahoe several years ago. Definitly an Ode to what you can do on the kitchen table!!! My mother was along with us on vacation. I was embarrassed to even read the book with her in the room!! I was hoping she wouldn't pick it up.<BR>
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 02:59 PM
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Two of my favorite books set in Italy are Serenissima by Erica Jong and Disturbance of the Inner Ear by Joyce Hackett. The Hackett book is current and the Jong book was written several years ago and I believe is out of print, but if you can get a used copy or one from the library, it's well worth it.
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 05:34 PM
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If you love mysteries: &quot;The Name of the Rose.&quot;
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Old Apr 18th, 2003, 01:15 AM
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Don't forget Edith Wharton's &quot;Italian Villas and their Gardens.&quot;<BR><BR>The characters in many Henry James novels tend to spend significant time hanging around in Italy (which represents love and freedom usually) before they return to the more repressive climes of England or the U.S.<BR><BR>And don't forget E.M. Forster's &quot;A Room with a View&quot;. <BR><BR>But, while &quot;A Death in Venice&quot; is certainly set in Italy, it is a very sad book and possibly not what you want to peruse while on vacation.<BR><BR>I know you're looking for literature, but you may also think about taking some time before you go and watching Katherine Hepburn in &quot;Summertime&quot; or taking in Fellini's &quot;Roma.&quot;<BR><BR>Another thought -- why not go back to the real Italian masterpieces? Machiavelli's 'The Prince', Dante, Catullus, Virgil or Caesar's &quot;The Civil Wars&quot;?
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Old Apr 18th, 2003, 12:21 PM
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Here's a compilation of the above:<BR>A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster<BR>A Thousand Days in Venice, by Marlena De Blasi –<BR>Francis of Asissi: A Revolutionary Life.<BR>A Traveler in Italy (H.V. Morton)<BR>An Architect’s Rome by John M. McGuire, Jr. <BR>An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser <BR>Angels and Demons by Dan Brown <BR>Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre set in Rome.<BR>Aurelio Zen mystery series by Michael Dibdin<BR>Books by Iris Origo<BR>Dances with Luigi <BR>Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann. <BR>Disturbance of the Inner Ear by Joyce Hackett. <BR>Etruscan Places (D.H. Lawrence)<BR>Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes. <BR>Galileo's Daughter, by Dava Sobel <BR>Italian Days (Barbara Grizzuti Harrison)<BR>Twilight in Italy, D.H. Lawrence<BR>Italian Education, Tim Parks<BR>Italian Hours (Henry James)<BR>Italian Neighbors, Tim Parks<BR>Italian Villas and their Gardens, by Edith Wharton<BR>La Cucina by Lily Prior <BR>Little World of Don Camillo by Guareschi<BR>Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, by Ross King <BR>Mrs. Garnet's Angel<BR>Mysteries set in Venice by Edward Sklepowich, <BR>Pasquale's Nose<BR>Postcards from Europe by Rick Steves<BR>Sea &amp; Sardinia, D.H. Lawrence<BR>See Naples, by Douglas Allanbrook <BR>Serenissima by Erica Jong. <BR>Steven Saylor writes a great historical mystery series set in ancient Rome. <BR>Stones of Florence (Mary McCarthy)<BR>The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone <BR>The City of Florence (R.W.B. Lewis)<BR>The Collected Traveler: Central Italy Tuscany and Umbria.<BR>The Decameron <BR>The Donna Leon mystery novel series featuring her detective, Guido Brunetti, and set in Venice.<BR>The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani. <BR>The Geometry of Love,by Margaret Visser <BR>The Italians by Luigi Barzini<BR>The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa <BR>The Merchant of Prato <BR>The Miracle of Santo Fico <BR>The Name of the Rose. <BR>The Roman Way by Edith Hamilton<BR>The Seasons of Rome: A Journal. By Paul Hofmann<BR>The Sixteen Pleasures: A Novel, by Robert Hellenga. <BR>Under the Tuscan Sun<BR>Vanilla Beans &amp; Brodo by Isabella Dusi <BR>Vaporetto 13<BR>Venetian Dreaming by Paul Weideger <BR>Venice Observed, Mary McCarthy<BR>
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