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Recommendations? > Books Set in Italy?

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message 1: by Lianne (last edited Oct 13, 2011 05:01PM) (new)

Lianne (eclecticreading) | 47 comments Hi everyone! *waves* I'm sort of in an Italian kick at the moment (courtesy of my recent trip there and reading Anne Fortier's Juliet) and was wondering if anyone could recommend me any books that are set in Italy? Historical fictions preferrably but any genre really would be good, fiction or non-fiction even.

Thanks in advance! =D


message 2: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 2751 comments Here's a few I've read or have on my list:

Pompeii- haven't read this one, but it's on my TBR list
When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra- a good chunk takes place in Rome
Mistress of Rome
Daughters of Rome
Eat, Pray, Love
Sarah Dunant- she has a few HF ones with some interesting twists.


Chrissie Here are a couple I like very much:

The Homecoming Party
(http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)

The Fall of a Sparrow: A Novel
(http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)

A Soldier of the Great War
(http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)

These three reviews are short and spoiler free. I gave all three books five stars. The midddle one is not just set in Italy., but if you don't know this author, start here.


Elizabeth La Lettrice (ElizabethLaLettrice) | 37 comments Sarah Dunant is great - In the Company of the Courtesan is one of my favorites.


Margaret (ReadingwithMargaret) | 465 comments Li, where did you go? I am going in a month and can't wait.


message 6: by Carolyn (last edited Oct 13, 2011 01:07PM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 32 comments How about the Gregory Maguire book Mirror Mirror - it's a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale set in Italy (very much a grownup's book though)


Barbara G.Tarn (Barb65) I'm Italian, but can't think of a good book that is also translated into English... I mean, my favorite author is Brunella Gasperini but even if she used to translate (I think she translated Stephen King's Carrie), nobody bothered to translate her into English. Sigh.


Clodia Metelli (ClodiaMetelli) | 15 comments The Name of the Rose by Umberto Ecois brilliant - a murder mystery set in a medieval monastery with lots of fascinating medieval lore and detail.


Lianne (eclecticreading) | 47 comments Thanks for the recommendations everyone! I'll look into them all =)

Margaret wrote: "Li, where did you go? I am going in a month and can't wait."

I was in Rome for 4 days and Perugia for 4 days with day trips to Assisi, Gubbio and Florence =) Where will you be in Italy next month? It's stunning there in the autumn =)

Barbara wrote: "I'm Italian, but can't think of a good book that is also translated into English... I mean, my favorite author is Brunella Gasperini but even if she used to translate (I think she translated Stephe..."

That sucks that no one's bothered to translate her work into English. I'm hoping to continue my Italian soon enough so maybe I'll read her in Italian one of these days instead (when I'm proficient enough) ;)


Shomeret | 361 comments Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven is a historical fiction that takes place in Italy. It's an old favorite of mine, but I should say that the central character is a eunuch.


Katz Nancy from NJ (Nancyk18) Beach Music by Pat Conroy

One of my all time faves which takes place in Italy and the United States.


Elizabeth La Lettrice (ElizabethLaLettrice) | 37 comments If you want to try some Italian authors, read Carlo Lucarelli and Andrea Camilleri for mysteries, Giacomo Leopardi and Montale, Eugenio for poetry (both have excellent translations from Jonathan Galassi), and Niccolò Ammaniti for fiction! I might think of more as time goes by... :)


Elizabeth La Lettrice (ElizabethLaLettrice) | 37 comments Of course there are a lot of better Italian authors but I find that these are the easiest "good authors" to find in America.


Elizabeth La Lettrice (ElizabethLaLettrice) | 37 comments Almost Blue by Carlo Lucarelli is amazing. LOVE IT.


Shay | 384 comments I'm currently rereading The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough- haven't read it in about 20 years but it's as good as I remember. It's the first in the series.

I haven't read these but have them on my shelves:
Tomato Rhapsody by Adam Schell
Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome by Steven Saylor

If you like mysteries, Lindsey Davis writes a series that I like. The Silver Pigs is the first book. Saylor also writes a mystery series.


Lianne (eclecticreading) | 47 comments Thank you for the recommendations everyone, I really appreciate it and will look into them =)

Elizabeth wrote: "If you want to try some Italian authors, read Carlo Lucarelli and Andrea Camilleri for mysteries, Giacomo Leopardi and [author:Montale, Eugenio|4729019..."

Thanks for the recommendation for Italian authors! I am only familiar with Alessandro Baricco's works at the moment (with Italo Calvino waiting to be read on my bookshelf) so I'll be sure to check them out!


Joe Whitney | 35 comments Artemisia: A Novel andThe Passion of Artemisia are both historical novels about Artemisia Gentileschi, the most famous female artist of the Italian Renaissance. I liked them both, but the first one is better.


Katz Nancy from NJ (Nancyk18) The Sixteen Pleasures which shocked many since a man wrote this book.


Lori Bell | 3 comments Hi,
I agree with Clodia the Book The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco is outstanding. The Name of the Rose
I'd also recommend (The Bethrothed). The Betrothed. A classic masterpiece of the Italian literature.


Lianne (eclecticreading) | 47 comments Thank you for the recommendations everyone!

Lori, The Betrothed sounds interesting, especially as I haven't read many/any classic Italian literature as of yet (save for Dante)


message 22: by Valerie (last edited Nov 21, 2011 08:34PM) (new)

Valerie | 598 comments Here are some that I have on my list (most of them are HF):

I Remember You by Harriet Evans Home To Italy by Peter Pezzelli The Devil's Queen  A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel Juliet by Anne Fortier The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato The Reincarnationist (Reincarnationist, #1) by M.J. Rose

Hope that helps ;)


Lianne (eclecticreading) | 47 comments Valerie wrote: "Here are some that I have on my list (most of them are HF):

I Remember You by Harriet Evans Home To Italy by Peter Pezzelli [bookcover:The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici|60825..."


Thanks for the recommendations Valerie! There's a few there I haven't looked at so I'll be sure to check them out =D


Valerie | 598 comments Glad to help! :)


Katz Nancy from NJ (Nancyk18) An oldie - The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Wallace


message 26: by João (last edited Nov 22, 2011 07:17AM) (new)

João Pedro | 10 comments "The Name of the Rose" has been mentioned, but all of Umberto Eco's novels have action set in Italy (and other places, but Italy is in all of them), so you can't go wrong there.


Aravind P I recently picked up a book Christ stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi, heard it is a good autobiographical-kinda book. Haven't started it yet.


Elizabeth La Lettrice (ElizabethLaLettrice) | 37 comments Aravind wrote: "I recently picked up a book Christ stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi, heard it is a good autobiographical-kinda book. Haven't started it yet."

It's really good. It might be slow at some points but give it a chance. :) The movie is great too -once you've read- to understand the setting.


Aravind P Elizabeth wrote: "Aravind wrote: "I recently picked up a book Christ stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi, heard it is a good autobiographical-kinda book. Haven't started it yet."

It's really good. It might be slow at ..."


I came across this book after I got to know about the movie. I thought reading the book first would be better than the other way round. :)


Esther (eshchory) Aravind wrote: "I recently picked up a book Christ stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi, heard it is a good autobiographical-kinda book. Haven't started it yet."
I have childhood memories of my mother raving about this book almost constantly - she was obsessed.!
As we have the opposite taste in books I have never tried it.


Darrell Delamaide | 12 comments A wonderful sense of the crumbling aristocracy in Sicily is in the classic The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The book is beautiful and the movie with Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon brings it all to life.


message 33: by Michael (last edited Apr 21, 2014 04:48PM) (new)

Michael Schmicker | 108 comments Lianne wrote: "Hi everyone! *waves* I'm sort of in an Italian kick at the moment (courtesy of my recent trip there and reading Anne Fortier's Juliet) and was wondering if anyone could recommend me ..."

Aloha Lianne:
Thanks for setting off this eruption of great suggestions. I'm coming to the discussion late but I love the books tossed out for consideration. I'm an Italophile, with a botanical artist sister living in Perugia, and just finished a novel set in Naples in 1899. As a writer, I began knowing the distance between me and Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and I doubt if I closed it much, but I'm content to have trod in his footsteps with another tale of bella Italia. There was no time for anything but writing for the last two years, but now I'm finally free to peruse with great trepidation the literature out there that will put me to shame. I've already targeted four from this discussion as must-reads.
Again thanks ("mahalo" as we say here in Hawaii), for starting this discussion!

Mike


message 34: by Emma (last edited Apr 21, 2014 04:57PM) (new)

Emma Iadanza (emmaiadanza) Signora Da Vinci it's my favorite book!!! I mean BEST. BOOK. EVER.
The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice was not as great but still pretty good.
The Birth of Venus was also awesome
The Divine Comedy (of course)
The Decameron - 100 short stories from the time of the Black Plague in Florence


Michael Schmicker | 108 comments Emma wrote: "Signora Da Vinci it's my favorite book!!! I mean BEST. BOOK. EVER.
The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice was not as great but still pretty good.
[book:The Bir..."


Aloha Emma:
I will check out Signora Da Vinci, given your enthusiasm. And Decameron -- a given!
Cheers,
Mike


Emma Iadanza (emmaiadanza) Ha, I'm reading it now. I'm on the 6th story of the 1st day...


Michael Schmicker | 108 comments Elizabeth La Lettrice wrote: "If you want to try some Italian authors, read Carlo Lucarelli and Andrea Camilleri for mysteries, Giacomo Leopardi and [author:Montale, Eugenio|4729019..."

Aloha Elizabeth:
Great suggestions, all! BTW, I also took a quick peek at your "Italian Writers" bookshelf. No Italo Calvino? His collection of short stories "Cosmicomics" is one of my all time favorites.
Cheers,
Mike Schmicker


Donna R (goodreadscomuser_ainsco) | 42 comments Hi Lianne

While on a Anthony Quinn movie bender I tracked down The Shoes of the Fisherman and, The Secret of Santa Vittoria.


Along with Santa Vittoria's secret I enjoyed A Thread of Grace - both set during WWII.

The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris L. WestThe Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert CrichtonA Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell




Michael Schmicker | 108 comments Lori Bell wrote: "Hi,
I agree with Clodia the Book The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco is outstanding. The Name of the Rose
I'd also recommend (The Bethrothed). The Betrothed. A classic m..."


Aloha Lori:
I'd add "The Key to the Name of the Rose" for anybody who loved The Name of the Rose. The Key to The Name of the Rose  Including Translations of All Non-English Passages by Adele J. Haft
Cheers,
Mike


Michael Schmicker | 108 comments Christy B wrote: "Some that I've read:

His Last Duchess
The Blind Contessa's New Machine
The Villa Triste
Season of Storms"


Aloha Christy:
Thanks for the suggestions! BTW, I checked your bookshelves for more possibilities, and noticed you're living in the Lone Star state. I'm a "misplaced New Englander living in this foreign country called Hawaii"...and loving it. When I got here 30 years ago, you couldn't find good books; there was no B&N or Borders; and I don't remember Amazon being ubiquitous. Since then both B&N and Borders have come (and gone! -- including a B&N Cafe just a mile from my home in East Honolulu), but Amazon reliably and expeditiously delivers boxes of books to my office each month. Life is good in paradise.


Margaret Crampton (CramptonMargaret) | 703 comments What about Henry James Portrait of a Lady and EM Forster Room with a view. Both delightful books set in Italy.


message 43: by Eileen (last edited Apr 21, 2014 07:17PM) (new)

Eileen Iciek | 325 comments All of the books mentioned sound wonderful (many of which I have read). But let me add one remarkable book that I truly enjoyed: A Thing Done by Tinney S. Heath A Thing Done by Tinney Sue Heath. Beautifully written and about a 13th century event in the Guelph and Ghibbeline fighting in Florence. A gem of a book! It should really be much more widely read.


message 44: by C.P. (last edited Apr 24, 2014 04:41PM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 598 comments Cecilia Holland's Great Maria is set in southern Italy. I haven't read it, but I like many books by this author.

Anne Perry's The Sheen on the Silk is set in both Constantinople and Italy, post 1204.

Sarah Dunant has already been mentioned. I read The Birth of Venus. I found it problematic to some degree, but it has wonderful descriptions of Florence circa 1495. It also has one of the best opening scenes in fiction.... Well worth reading, whether you like the main character or not.


Martine Bailey (martineanne) | 38 comments I also adored The Name of the Rose and would add The Aspern Papers by Henry James, set in Venice and Lady's Maid by Margaret Forster, about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's maid who gets taken along by the poetess to Italy.
In a similar vein my new novel An Appetite for Violets out in May in the UK and Commonwealth is about a Grand Tour to Italy by a cook who gets embroiled in a mysterious conspiracy.


Brian Stoddart | 7 comments Some great suggestions here. Might I add:

Any of Tim Parks' books, especially A Season With Verona

Michael Dibdin's crime novels featuring Aurelio Zen

Valerio Varesi and Roberto Constantini crime novels, and Conor Fitzgerald in the same field, all good reads


Michael Schmicker | 108 comments Martine wrote: "I also adored The Name of the Rose and would add The Aspern Papers by Henry James, set in Venice and Lady's Maid by Margaret Forster, about Elizabeth Barr..."

Aloha Martine:
I'm also a big fan of Name of the Rose. Your new novel sounds delicious! Let me know when it comes out in the U.S.
Cheers,
Mike


Michael Schmicker | 108 comments C.P. wrote: "Cecilia Holland's Great Maria is set in southern Italy. I haven't read it, but I like many books by this author.

Anne Perry's The Sheen on the Silk is set in both Con..."


Aloha C.P.
Thanks for the heads-up on "Great Maria" and good luck with your own writing!
Cheers,
Mike


C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 598 comments You're welcome, and thanks!


Lisa (lisamarsh) | 1 comments Any book by Adriani Trigiani is excellent and set in Italy.


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