Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reading List for Your Visit to Italy

On my trip to California last week many people asked me about books to read to find out more about Italy and it's cultural backgrounds. Here are four books to start you off that can all be found at your local Borders or Barnes and Noble.

The Dark Heart of Italy
by Tobias Jones

I'm about half way through this book right now and I think it really explains a lot about how Italian culture got to it's current state of affairs.

Midnight in Sicily
by Peter Robb

This is about Sicily and the Mafia 20 years ago. Somewhat scary but fortunately a LOT has changed since it was written. 

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
by Ross King

Before you go to Rome and the Vatican, read this book. It will make your visit to the Sistine Chapel much more interesting.

The Lost Painting
by Jonathan Harr

About Caravaggio, The Lost Painting is very interesting if you want to find out more about the Italian art world of the 1500's.

Now there are MANY other books about Italy that you can go and read but this would be a nice start. I know that the first two books are VERY controversial in Italy so take them both with a grain of salt.


DPLassen said...

I can certainly vouch for the first three ... I'll have to look for the fourth. For something controversial and current, I'd add "The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi" by Alexander Stille. Also highly recommended are three books by Tim Parks: "Italian Neighbors," "An Italian Education," and "A Season with Verona." The first two are about a Brit's experiences with everyday life in Northern Italy. In the third, he follows a Serie A team home and road for a season.

George said...

If dplassen says it's worth reeading, do so! He has never steered me wrong yet!