The Best Books About Italy to Read Before You Go

Discover books about Italy you must read before traveling. Gain insights, knowledge, and tips for an enriching trip.

Book in the nature

Books About Italy

Choosing the best books about Italy before your trip can enhance your travel experience. Opt for novels like The Talented Mr. Ripley for a suspenseful view of Italian life, or delve into historical perspectives with The Leopard.

These reads offer valuable cultural context and prepare you for the nuanced beauty of Italy, from its ancient ruins to its modern piazzas. 

Reading book in Italy

4 Books to Read Before Going to Italy

Planning a trip to the Italian peninsula? The books to read before going to Italy can be as enriching as the journey itself. From literary classics to travel memoirs, the right reads provide an essential prelude to your adventure, offering historical context, cultural insights, and local tips. 

Get ready to explore Italy, both on the page and on the cobblestone streets. 

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

This pulse-pounding thriller plunges readers into an exhilarating 12-hour race against time in Rome and Vatican City. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a scientist, to unravel a perilous plot hatched by the ancient secret society, the Illuminati. 

The stakes rise as they rush to solve intricate puzzles along the “Path of Illumination,” which guides them through Rome’s iconic landmarks.

The novel masterfully weaves together themes of science, religion, and the age-old conflict between faith and reason. By embedding elements of art, architecture, and symbolism, it offers a riveting narrative that showcases the tension between modernity and tradition. 

While not specifically one of the best books about Italian history, it immerses readers in Rome’s cultural and historical landscape, adding an extra layer of engagement.

Dan Brown’s exhaustive research shines, seamlessly integrating factual elements with the fictional narrative. 

His characters are compelling, their dialogues fuel the story’s pace, and themes like power and secrecy add depth. “Angels & Demons” is a must-read for those who revel in mysteries filled with unexpected twists and expertly crafted suspense.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

This book is more than just a coming-of-age story; it’s an Italian escapade filled with romance, mystery, and self-discovery. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Tuscany, the book introduces us to Lina, a young girl facing the emotional turmoil of her mother’s loss. 

Sent to spend her summer in Italy, she undergoes a transformative journey guided by her mother’s journal, which she discovers hidden away.

The journal serves as a roadmap through Tuscany, helping Lina unearth family secrets, meaningful connections, and a heartwarming love story. As she pieces together her mother’s past and her present, Lina engages in an emotional road trip across the Italian countryside, providing an intricate view of Italy’s beauty and heritage.

The novel eloquently explores universal themes like love, loss, family, and identity. Lina’s experience authentically captures the grieving process and her subsequent voyage of self-discovery. Along the way, she meets Ren, a captivating local who infuses romance and adventure into her life. 

A cast of diverse and layered characters enhances the richness of the story.

Jenna Evans Welch’s prose serves as a passport to Italy. Her vivid descriptions transport readers to cobblestone streets and gelato shops, artfully blending past and present events into an emotional tapestry. Whether in the heart of Tuscany or your living room, “Love & Gelato” envelops you in a world of sensory experiences.

Ideal for fans of romance, adventure, and transformative journeys, “Love & Gelato” stands out as one of the books to read before traveling to Italy. It offers a picturesque tour through Italian landscapes and delves deep into the intricacies of human emotions and relationships.

Italy, More Than Just a Journey: An Italy Pocket Travel Guide

This book is a meticulously crafted travel guide by Franco Marzella, an Italian-American author with deep Sicilian and Roman roots. Aimed at American travelers, this book unlocks the full spectrum of Italy’s cultural and scenic allure. From Sicily’s vibrant streets to Venice’s dreamy canals, Marzella offers diverse itineraries to ensure you capture the essence of each Italian region.

Expert curation elevates this guide, particularly when it comes to regional cuisine. The book lays out gastronomic adventures to relish Italy’s culinary masterpieces, offering more than just everyday tourist experiences. 

It also introduces unique activities designed to immerse readers in local culture and traditions. Interspersed throughout are intriguing regional facts that enrich your understanding of Italy.

More than a mere travel companion, this book is your gateway to an authentic Italian adventure. This guide is one of the best books about Italian travel, thanks to Marzella’s unique perspective stemming from his Italian heritage. Offering both breadth and depth, it goes beyond being a guidebook to become your essential key for an unforgettable Italian experience.

Vino: The Essential Guide to Real Italian Wine

Dive deep into Italy’s vibrant wine culture with this illuminating guide. It transports readers across Italy’s diverse viticultural landscapes, spotlighting hidden gems from lesser-known producers and featuring native grape varieties. 

Through a blend of captivating photography, engrossing anecdotes, and in-depth winemaker profiles, the book reframes your understanding of Italian wines, moving beyond mainstream labels. Whether you’re an aficionado or a novice, “Vino” offers a fresh, expert-backed view of Italy’s expansive wine scene. 

Its enriching content and eye for detail make it one of the best books on Italian wine, providing an unmatched journey into the heart of Italy’s cherished wine traditions.

Reading book in Venezia


In summary, enriching your understanding of Italy before setting foot on its soil can make your travel experience more meaningful and enjoyable. Whether you’re interested in historical novels, gripping thrillers, or insightful travel guides, the books about Italy to read before you go offer something for everyone. 

These curated reads transport you to Italy’s captivating landscapes and delve deep into its culture, history, and local customs. Equip yourself with these essential books to unlock a more authentic, informed, and unforgettable Italian journey. 

Bestseller No. 1
Living in . . . Italy: Ready-to-Read Level 2
Living in . . . Italy: Ready-to-Read Level 2
Perkins, Chloe (Author); English (Publication Language); 32 Pages – 02/02/2016 (Publication Date) – Simon Spotlight (Publisher)
$4.99 Amazon Prime
SaleBestseller No. 2
How To Read The Menu In France, Italy And Spain
How To Read The Menu In France, Italy And Spain
Lester, Herb (Author); English (Publication Language); 72 Pages – 04/08/2015 (Publication Date) – Herb Lester Associates (Publisher)
$10.48 Amazon Prime
Bestseller No. 3
Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy: Secrets To...
Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy: Secrets To…
Cooke, Corinna (Author); English (Publication Language); 265 Pages – 07/16/2018 (Publication Date) – Glam World Publishing LLC (Publisher)
$15.95 Amazon Prime
SaleBestseller No. 4
Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the...
Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the…
McConnon, Aili (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 06/11/2013 (Publication Date) – Crown (Publisher)
$15.97 Amazon Prime
Bestseller No. 5
Buffy & Sissy Go to Italy (The Traveling Kittens)
Buffy & Sissy Go to Italy (The Traveling Kittens)
Chapman, Colleen (Author); English (Publication Language); 36 Pages – 08/12/2020 (Publication Date) – Colleen Chapman (Publisher)
$14.99 Amazon Prime