5 Holiday Reads set in Italy

Books, Language

Looking for a good book set in Italy?….. Whenever I have an upcoming trip to Italy, my reading lists usually includes a few novels or memoirs set in Italy. 

Whether you’re wanting to explore the Renaissance in Florence in a historical fiction or devour the huge selection of novels that let us explore the Tuscan countryside, the choice of reading material is immense. From contemporary crime fiction to descriptive memoirs, I’ve read so many I’ve lost count and there’s been some real page turners along the way…..

So just for you I’ve made a list of my top 5….so far!!


Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes – It will be on every list and its no surprise its on this one, if you haven’t read it already there’s no time like the present.  When she began restoring an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside Frances Mayes uncovered unexpected treasures like faded frescos and a vineyard under the wildly over grown garden. She also discovered vibrant markets, delightful people and Italian cuisine, all of which she shares in this poetic memoir. 


Misadventures In Tuscany by David M. Addison – A highly entertaining account of an unfortunate trip to Tuscany. After picking up the wrong bag at airport the author and his wife share their tangled tale of tracking down the person whose case it is and finding their missing luggage. The amusing travel memoir follows the couple as they visit the sights of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, with someone else’s luggage.


The TerraCotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri –  This  of the Inspector Montalbano series begins with a tired Mafia boss and the theft of a delivery truck which lead to the discovery of a secret cave and the mummified bodies of two young lovers. This mysterious opening of the book grabs you attention and holds it as you follow the inspector on a journey through the island of Sicily’s past and into a family’s dark heart amid the horrors of World War II.


The Villa In Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson – Four strangers are summoned to a grand but neglected villa on the Italian coast, The four very different people each with troubles of their own are named in the will of the late Beatrice Malaspina. But who was she? While they wait to find out, the villa begins to work its seductive magic and then the mysterious Beatrice has a devastating secret to reveal that affect’s them all…


A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance by Marlena de Blasi – Memoirs of a divorced American woman travelling through Italy who falls in love with a man from Venice. Within a few months, she quits her job as a chef, sells her house, kisses her two grown-up kids goodbye, and moves to Venice. This honest and often comic view of how she settled into her new life and prepares to marry a virtual stranger makes a perfect read.

Have you read any of the above? What are your thoughts and do you have and favorite book set in Italy?

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