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Looking for the best books about Italy? We are here to help!

Sometimes the best and most affordable way to travel is by picking up a book and going on a fictional adventure.

So, this year, why not head to Italy

Throughout this post, you’ll learn about some of the best books set in Italy, including fiction, non-fiction, historical, memoirs, and more.

There’s even a few young adult books on here in case you want to read something a little lighter by the pool!

Without further ado, here are some of the best books that take place in Italy. Be sure to share and bookmark this post so that you can refer back to it!

1. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

First up is Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, which was turned into a critically acclaimed movie back in 2017.

This is one of the best Italian novels that are all about a whirlwind romance.

It takes place in the 1980s and is an LGBT romance novel that is said to be one of the best books of the past five years.

The book is narrated by Elio, a 17-year-old who falls for someone who is 24 years old.

His narration is mostly about him reliving memories of his relationship with Oliver, a guy visiting Italy from the United States.

After you read the book, be sure to watch the Oscar-winning movie! It’s one of the best movies about Italy!


2. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Another one of the most popular travel books on Italy is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This book is based on a true story and is somewhat of a biography about herself!

With more than ten million copies sold globally, Eat, Pray Love is a book you can’t miss.

The story follows a woman named Elizabeth, who recently got divorced. She travels to Bali, India, and Italy to find herself again and learn more about life.

This is one of the most popular books of all time that started the entire self-help genre in the early 2000s.

It was also adapted as a movie which has become one of the most famous travel movies of all time!


3. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

A Room with a View is one of the best books for travel to Italy. It’s written by E.M. Forster and was published in the early twentieth century.

It takes place in both England and Italy and is a love story about a young woman from the United Kingdom. 

This classic is one of Forster’s best novels of his career and is somewhat of a contemporary coming-of-age tale.

The book has since been made into a movie in the 1980s featuring Maggie Smith and Daniel Day-Lewis. This book is perfect for anyone who wanted to read more of a classic to travel fictionally to Italy.


4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Next up is a true classic and one of the best-selling books in Italy and the rest of the world. It’s none other than Romeo and Juliet, arguably William Shakespeare’s most well-known play he wrote during his career!

Though you probably know the plot already, it’s a tragic love story between two teenagers whose families despise each other.

While the entire book ends tragically, the tale takes place in Verona, a lovely Italian village.

You can actually visit the town, write letters to Juliet, and even find her balcony, one of Verona’s top tourist attractions.

This book is excellent for all ages, but if you have trouble understanding Shakespeare’s writing, be sure to check out the No Fear Shakespeare version. 


5. The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper is a young adult fiction novel that follows a teenager named Kate Sanderson.

She ends up spending the summer studying abroad in Verona, where she studies Romeo and Juliet and may even have a romantic relationship of her own.

Plus, this book is an excellent look into what it’s like at the Juliet Club, a real club that helps to answer the letters to Juliet in Verona!

This is one of the best books about living in Italy, even if it is only for a summer! You’ll find yourself living vicariously through Kate, and you’ll soon want to plan a trip to Verona of your own.

This is a great book for anyone who wants a lighter read about Italy.


6. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Arguably the best Italy travel book is Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.

This is a bestselling mystery written in 2000 that takes palace around Italy and in Vatican City.

The story follows Robert Langdon, who looks into what happened to a physicist who was murdered.

He ends up finding that there’s something darker going on with the Illuminati, and things get thrilling and mysterious real fast!

If you end up liking this book, you’re in luck because it’s also the first book in a series.

This high-rated book is loved by readers all over the world, and it’s considered a modern-day classic.

However, it might take you a while to read because it’s just over 700 pages! IIf you’re a fan of mysteries, you’re going to love this book. Plus, it was also made into a movie!


7. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

Next is The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston, one of the great Italian books.

This true crime is also one of the top books about Italy non-fiction, as it’s actually about the author!

The story follows Douglas Preston, who moved to Italy only to find that the home where he moved was actually where some of the worst murders in Italy had taken place.

The murderer was a real serial killer named the Monster of Florence.

With a journalist by his side, the two of them try to work together and uncover what happened and who the notorious serial killer was.

This is not your average light-hearted read about Italy, but if you love true crime, then you’re going to breeze right through this book.

It’s a lesser-known novel, so it’s a true hidden gem on this list!


8. Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb

One of the top Italian culture books is Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb.

This book is one of the nonfiction Italian politics books that is perfect if you’re looking to read something about this country.

It takes place in Palermo mainly and includes all of Peter Robb’s findings on this part of Italy, where he lived for 14 years.

Throughout the book, he discusses politics, the Mafia and even shares his opinion on some Italian food!

By the end of this book, you’ll know a lot more about Sicily, including its dark side.

It can be a bit heavy to read at times just because of how deep the content is, but if you take your time reading it, you’ll definitely enjoy it.

This is one of the harder-to-read books on this list, which is something to keep in mind.


9. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith is one of the most excellent Italian summer books that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time you’re reading.

Seriously, you may even breeze through the book in one sitting if you can’t help yourself!

The story follows a man named Tom Ripley, who is a bit of a sociopath.

However, he becomes friends with a guy named Dicki Greenleaf and becomes somewhat obsessed with him, even so far as to try to become him and take his life!

It’s also the first book in a series, so if you like Tom Ripley, you’re in for a treat. 

It was also made into a movie in 1999 with Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Cate Blanchett. Talk about a talent-packed cast! If you love fast-paced thrillers, you’ll love The Talented Mr Ripley


10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

While it’s a bit different from the rest of the books on this list, Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is definitely worth mentioning.

This book takes place in Florence and is a fun, summer contemporary romance in the young adult genre, though you’ll surely enjoy it no matter your age. 

The story follows a girl named Lina whose mother recently died.

She ends up taking a trip to Tuscany and brings her mom’s journal, which is the same journal that she wrote in while she lived in Italy for a while.

Throughout the book, she learns more about her mom through the journal entries and ends up falling for Italy, and there’s also a cute boy involved!

If you want a fun, bubbly read about Italy, this is it.


11. The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi

This next book is another one based on a true story. The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi follows four women who continually meet up on Thursdays.

Marlena (named after the author) joins them, and together they talk about their life stories and a lot of personal secrets that were kept in the family for years.

This is a more fun and lighthearted read! If you like Eat, Pray, Love, this is sort of along the same lines.

It’s one of those books that you’ll really enjoy, and by the end, you’ll want to visit Orvieto, Umbria, where the book takes place.


12. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This book has one of the most famous Italian destinations right on the cover: Cinque Terre!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter is a historical fiction romance book that follows two timelines at once.

Throughout the book, two different characters’ stories unfold over fifty years, and you find that many characters have intertwined lives. 

This is one of the top-rated books about Italy online, so it’s one you’ll want to check out if you love reading books with exciting plots and characters.

Many past reviewers rave about how well the author intertwined the character storylines. 


13. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco takes place in the 14th century inside an Italian monastery.

This historical fiction mystery starts to unfold once Brother William of Baskerville comes to the abbey and learns of mysterious deaths.

Throughout the book, he must find out what’s going on as he collects clues and artefacts. 

This book is a bit denser to get through despite being a fiction novel. It’s one of those books that you’ll either love or you’ll hate, but you won’t know until you finally read it.

The writing style of Eco has been applauded by many, though, so have high hopes!


14. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend is the first book in a series by Elena Ferrante.

It takes place in Naples and Campania, Italy and is one of Ferrante’s most popular books that she wrote during her career.

The story follows two friends (hence the book’s name) and is all about friendship in Italy right after World War II, with a few darker undertones. 

If you’re a fan of more classical books, then this is one that you’ll enjoy.

However, it’s another one of those books that has very polarising reviews, so just know that by the end, you’ll either love it or hate it.


15. The Woman of Rome by Alberto Moravia

Last but not least is The Woman of Rome by Alberto Moravia, a novel about Rome and one of the best books on Rome.

Written in 1999, this cultural tale is an example of great literary fiction about Italy. 

This book follows a girl named Adriana who models but ends up finding that she is living the life of a prostitute.

Many other tiny tales are also told throughout the story, including that of an officer who is madly obsessed with the main character.

This book talks a lot about Fascism in an unconventional way.

There was also a film made that is worth watching if you enjoy the tale.

Despite its dark topic, this book will make you want to book a trip back to Rome as soon as possible. 


16. Three Nights in Italy by Olivia Beirne

This one is the perfect book for ladies in search of adventure! The story is about 4 women who go to Italy because one of them wants to retrieve her grandmother’s ring.

It’s a very interesting read featuring strong women exploring the Italian countryside.

The book touches on many topics such as love, second chances and travel. It’s an excellent read that will for sure touch your heart.


As you can see, there are tons of great books about Italy! No matter what part of Italy you’re itching to go to, instead of hopping on a plane, you can probably find a book that will let you travel there fictionally and hold you over.

Have you read any of these books? Which book do you most want to read?

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