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Last month I read Inheritance, by Natalie Danford, which is about a woman going to Urbino to learn about her father's mysterious past during the war. I wasn't sure about it at first but it grew on me.

I'm glad you have Calvino on your list!


I'm reading my way through Donna Leon and enjoying them. I have Andrea Camilleri on my TBR list.


Rebecca--I bought the Calvino ages ago and really do need to pull it out and read it--many people have recommended it to me. Thanks for the heads up on the Danford--this is new to me, and I've added it to my wishlist--I'm finding a number of books set during the war--which I don't know a lot about as I always seem to read about it from the American or British perspective.
Merilym--I am planning on reading a Donna Leon this summer too--it is on my list of Italian crime novels. I read a number of them years ago and quite like Inspector Brunetti! Read my first Camilleri and very much enjoyed it as well.


Bassani's novel is one of my 10 favourite novels of all time. Just a word of warning - I' love melancholic and sad stories... A Room with a View is, although not sad another of my Top 10.
I started History and so far I'm utterly fascinated!
I bouth Metamorphoses last month and in a bilingual edition... I'm not as "fluent" in Latin as I used to be...


If you're focusing on Italy , I loved this book
War in Val' D'orca by Iris Origo

Sounds like you have some fun reads

Margaret @ BooksPlease

Some books I've enjoyed are:

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Frances Mayes's Tuscany books, The Savage Garden by Mark Mills, La Cucina by Lily Prior.

And two I haven't read yet - Italian Neighbours: an Englishman in Verona by Tim Parks - a travel/memoir
and Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy, about Michelangelo.

You may already have read these of course :)

I have the Calvino book - it begins very well and then I got confused and didn't finish it. I'm interested to know what you think. I'd like to give it another go sometime.

A Room with a View has been tempting me for a while too.

Liz F

Ooh books set in Italy - where do I start?!
I will second the recommendation of the Iris Origo book and the Mary Taylor Simeti is very enjoyable too.
My daughter and I recently raced through Niccolo Amaniti's I'm Not Scared - well I read the English translation and she, clever girl, is reading it in Italian (well she does want to be a translator/interpreter) but it is very compelling in both languages!
I loved Tim Parks' books about his life in Italy, Italian Neighbours and An Italian Education, and I am thoroughly enjoying the crime novels by Gianrico Carofiglio and Carlo Lucarelli.
I'm glad you are enjoying the Grace Brophy, I thought it was a good read too!


I love, love, love The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. I re-read it a couple of years ago and it was as wonderful as I remembered it. A masterpiece.


Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There has a delightful section on Italy. And for a fluffy read I've just ordered I Love Capri by Belinda Jones.

I love your list posts. :-)


These all sound good! Just added several to my wish list. I went to Italy a couple of years ago and went on a total books-set-in-Italy binge. If you're looking for really good, page-turning non-fiction, I would recommend:
Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King (also The Pope's Ceiling by the same author)
Murder of a Medici Princess by Caroline Murphey
The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
For fiction, my favorites were:
Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
and actually The Aenid was way better than I expected!


One of my favourites is The Agony and Ecstasy by Irving Stone about Michelangelo. I read it just before visiting Italy after college and it made my visit even more special:)


The Calvino is fantastic. I am looking forward to hearing about the Morante and I have had my eye on that book and can't decide whether or not I want to read it.


Italy, your list sounds good! What came to mind were Italian authors I've read, often long ago,(I mention just one title,any book would do with these authors I think),
Cesare Pavese: The Moon and the Bonfires, Alberto Moravia: The Conformist, Dacia Maraino: Women at War(title is deceiving, story in diary format about two women)
More recent Paolo Giordano: The Solitude of Prime Numbers.
The next few I don't know if they are translated into English:
Antonio Tabucchi,Dario Fo (plays,Nobel Prize winner literature)and Sandro Veronesi.

Margaret Powling

For travels in Italy, what about the books written in the 1950s and 1960s by H V Morton? Out of date but filled with the sights, sounds and smells of Italy.
Next, might I suggest Frances Mayes? I loved Under a Tuscan Sun, which was followed by Bella Tuscany. There is now an illustrated In Tuscany, too.
I would also like to mention Henry James on Italy, a beautifully illustrated book published by Barrie & Jenkins in 1988. The words are from Italian Hours (by Henry James) and it is lavishly illustrated with paintings of Italy by an assortment of artists.
It has already been mentioned but might I endorse a read of Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April?


I don't recall that I've read any book by an Italian author. Seems like something I need to rectify.


I recently read about Scent of a Woman by Giovanni Arpino. I had seen the film with Al Pacino and hadn't realised that it was a book, or that it was originally set in Italy. It's published by Penguin Classics. It sounds good and I've put it on my TBR list.


Caroline--I don't mind sad or melancholy stories actually--only maybe not too many in a row! :) I'm very tempted to read the Bassani now, but I had better work on Elsa Morante first--have only read the first few pages--it's sort of hefty to carry around. I've not a work of Latin, so it is a translation for me when it comes to Ovid!
Val--Thanks for the heads up on the Origo book--I had not heard of it and it sounds really good. I have added it to my wishlist. My library has it as well, so I may be checking it out next week...
Margaret--I've only read Savage Gardens, and La Cucina, both of which I really like. I have read Sarah Dunant, but none of her Italy books and should rectify that. I'm curious about Calvino--I don't always do well with experimental fiction but want to give him a try.
Liz--I have the Ammaniti book on my list to read of crime fiction so will get to that one sooner than later I hope. And have a couple of others of the crime novels. Very cool your daughter can read Italian. I want to learn but I just discovered that my university no longer teaches it--am very dismayed by that! I need to finish the Grace Brophy book tonight or tomorrow as it is due at the library (today--am going to be late!).
Cristina--Am glad to hear that--I have pulled it from my shelves in anticipation of reading it soon. Well, hope to read it soon anyway.
Cath--I Love Capri has gone on my wishlist (I see one cent copies on Amazon!) and I, too, love Bill Bryson but that is one I have not read.
Maire--I am lucky as I went to Italy when I was younger but really want to go again! I think I will binge on books about Italy in any case. I either own the Brunelleschi's Dome book or remember looking at it at a library sale--will have to dig around now in my piles. I do have the Vreeland, but the others are new to me--will look them up, thanks!
Sakura--I love books about art and artists so will be adding this to my wishlist, too. I also like reading up on a country before I go--it's like having an insider's view!
Stefanie--Now the Calvino would be great to read in a group, but I am sure I'll get to it on my own at some point! I will let you know about History--it looks quite promising!
Catharina--Lots of books to explore--I have something by Dacia Maraini--maybe even this books (alas unread), so I will see what is on my shelves. I believe Alberto Moravia was married to Elsa Morante so should certainly read him as well. Thanks!
Margaret--I actually don't mind travel books written in other eras at all--you get a feel for the place at that time! I have only seen the movie made from Frances Mayes's book, but I think I might have it and one or two others--I think she has written several? I love travel books, so these are great suggestions--I especially like the idea of an illustrated book! And Love The Enchanted April--it is an all time favorite of mine, to! :)
Kathleen--I've read very, very little, a couple of novels this year, but I also plan on rectifying that!
Joanne--I had no idea Scent of a Woman was from a book (no surprise though)--now I must look it up. Someone must have adapted it to film and then made lots of changes to locale. I'm very curious since it is a Pengiun classic.

Thanks everyone for such great suggestions--am off to look them up now! :)


I've enjoyed my French themes reading this month but I find it hard to constrain myself. I hope you enjoy your Italian month though!


Eillie--I have enjoyed reading other people's posts as well--still will keep on with my Nicolas Le Floch and I always like a French setting so will dip into other books still this year I'm sure! Am very much enjoying my Italian crime fiction, too.


I always love your lists! I might add Up At The Villa by Somerset Maugham and Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford (half of which happens in Italy, if I remember right). It's such an evocative location for a story, isn't it?

Dorothy W.

How about Italian author Italo Svevo? I've read his book Zeno's Conscience (or The Confessions of Zeno -- it gets translated both ways), and it was really interesting.


Litlove--Italy is my dream destination at the moment. I have read the Maugham but forgot it had an Italian setting, but didn't realize Sybille Bedford had a book set there as well--will check it out, thanks.
Dorothy--Svevo is new to me. I will look him up as I am trying to read more Italian authors. Thanks!

Mary Grover

I loved "On Persephone's Island." A book I highly recommend is Giuseppe di Lampedusa's "The Leopard." It's on my list of all time favorites, a modern classic.


Mary--I read On Persephone's Island, too--though years ago. I've all but forgotten it now and would like to reread. I will look for the Lampedusa--have heard of it. I'm hoping to get in some Italian classics, so thanks.

Packabook - Books set in Italy

Lots of great books here! For something a bit more contemporary try 'The Imperfectionists' by Tom Rachman...set in a newspaper office in Rome.


Packabook--Thanks for the heads up--I am sure my library has it--didn't realize it had an Italian setting--will check it out!

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