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Italy Gift Books

Recent Books about Italy that I Recommend


Books about Italy make great gifts for anyone who likes Italy or Italian cuisine, is studying Italian language, planning a trip, or just enjoys armchair travel. Here's a selection of my recommendations for gift books with the newest additions at the top of the list. Give them as gifts or buy one for yourself.

For more gift ideas see our Italy Gifts Guide.

Quiet Corners of Rome

Quiet Corners of Rome takes an inside look at sixty places to escape the noise and crowds of Rome including gardens, view spots, courtyards, and cloisters. Written by David Downie with beautiful photos by Alison Harris, this is a fantastic gift book for anyone who enjoys Rome, is planning a trip to Rome, or just enjoys armchair travel.

100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go

Susan Van Allen's book, published by Traveler's Tales, is a great resource for women traveling to Italy. The book starts with an interesting introduction to goddesses and women saints and then tells you where to find them. Following chapters include beaches, spas, gardens, food, entertainment, shopping, and active adventures. Although I have no desire to see all 100, it's a good list with lots of great ideas. For each of the 100 places she gives a recommendation about how to make it a "golden day" with restaurant and sometimes hotel suggestions. Although aimed at women, I think men would enjoy most of these places, too.

Also by Susan Van Allen - Letters from Italy: Confessions, Adventures, and Advice

Italian, It's All Greek to Me

Linda Falcone

Linda Falcone's book is entertaining reading for anyone studying Italian or interested in Italian language and customs. The book has short vignettes about Italain words or phrases. I read this book a year ago but it keep popping into my head as I travel around Italy. It's one of those books that I both really enjoyed and learned a lot from.

The full title is Italian, It's All Greek to Me: Everything You Don't Know About Italian Language and Culture, but in Italy the title is Italians Dance and I'm a Wallflower, Adventures in Italian Expression (see photo). Linda has another equally interesting book of vignettes published by the Florentine Press but not yet available in the US called If They Are Roses, the Italian Way with Words.

Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking

Cucina Povera is a very nice cookbook by Pamela Sheldon Johns, who lives on a certified organic farm in Tuscany where she rents rooms to visitors and runs cooking programs. In addition to recipes based on traditional peasant cuisine of Tuscany, there are great photos and interesting anecdotes. This book is an excellent gift for anyone interested in Italian cooking, traditional cuisines, or Tuscany. Also available on Kindle.

The Venice Experiment, a Year of Trial and Error Living Abroad

The Venice Experiment, a Year of Trial and Error Living Abroad, is a book based on author Barry Frangipane's experiences during thirteen months that he and his wife lived in Venice. Barry takes the reader into the life of everyday Venice with amusing stories of the trials of living in a city built on water. Good for anyone who likes Venice or has ever dreamed of living in Italy.

Food Wine, the Italian Riviera and Genoa

Anyone going to the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre, or Genoa will appreciate this book about the food and wine of Liguria with great recommendations for restaurants, food shops, cafes, and bars. Written by David Downie, the book includes beautiful photos by Alison Harris. David Downie also wrote Food Wine Rome (read review), a great book for anyone heading to Rome.

La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair With Italian

Diane Hales combines a scholarly approach with humor to give the reader an in-depth look at the history of the Italian language and how some Italian words and phrases came about in La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair With Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language. Diane has studied Italian in depth and her book is well-researched and well-written. This is another book of interest to anyone learning Italian.

Italy for the Gourmet Traveler

Italy for the Gourmet Traveler is one of my favorite books about Italy and has been since the first edition came out in 1996. I've used the old book many times to plan travel or read about regional food, wine, and customs. The updated fifth edition was released in May, 2010, and it's still a great book. This is a good book for anyone going to Italy who is interested in food or who wants to experience more than just the tourist attractions.

Cafe Life Venice

In Cafe Live Venice, Joe Wolff takes us to family run cafes, bars, and pastry shops throughout the city. But the book is much more than just cafe recommendations as its steeped with interesting information about the history, neighborhoods, and customs of Venice. The book is beautifully illustrated, too.

Joe Wolff has two previous books - read the reviews for Cafe Life Florence and Cafe Life Rome.

Why Italians Love to Talk About Food

Why Italians Love to Talk About Food is another book about regional food, written by Umberto Eco's Russian translator who has lived in Italy for 20 years. The book takes the reader on a journey through Italy's regions, talking about the region's history and culture and moving on to the food of the region. The book is written in an enjoyable narrative style rather than being a reference book.

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