Reading List of Italy Non-Fiction Books – 2024 Update

Are you eager to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Italy? Look no further than these 20 best non-fiction books on Italy. From captivating memoirs to insightful travelogues, these books offer a deep dive into the complexities of Italian life, art, and society. Whether you’re planning a trip to Italy or simply want to expand your knowledge, these books are sure to satisfy your curiosity and wanderlust.

20 Best Books About Italy Non-Fiction

The Italians

by John Hooper

The Italians by John Hooper is a captivating non-fiction book about Italy, offering a fascinating insight into the complex and diverse culture of the country. Hooper delves into the history, politics, and social dynamics of Italy, exploring the unique characteristics that define the Italian people. From the influence of ancient civilizations to the modern challenges facing the nation, this book on Italy non-fiction provides a comprehensive and engaging exploration of all things Italian. With vivid storytelling and in-depth research, Hooper brings to life the beauty and contradictions of Italy, making it a must-read for anyone interested in understanding this enigmatic and enchanting country.

The Pursuit of Italy

by David Gilmour

The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour is a captivating book on Italy non-fiction that delves into the rich history, culture, and politics of the Italian peninsula. Gilmour’s insightful exploration takes readers on a journey through the various regions of Italy, uncovering the complexities and contradictions that have shaped the country’s identity. From the legacy of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, and from the unification of Italy to the present day, this book about Italy non-fiction offers a comprehensive and engaging account of the nation’s evolution. Gilmour’s vivid storytelling and deep understanding of Italy’s past and present make this Italy non-fiction book a must-read for anyone fascinated by the intricacies of Italian history and society.

Midnight in Sicily

by Peter Robb

Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb is a captivating non-fiction book that delves into the complex and mysterious world of Sicily. Robb takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through the island’s history, culture, and the influence of the Mafia. Through vivid descriptions and engaging storytelling, he unravels the enigmatic beauty and darkness that characterizes Sicily, offering a deep insight into the island’s unique identity. From the bustling markets to the serene countryside, Robb paints a vivid portrait of Sicily, making it a must-read for anyone fascinated by Italian culture and history. This book on Italy non-fiction is a compelling blend of travelogue, history, and investigative journalism that will leave readers spellbound by the allure of Sicily.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

by Ross King

Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King is a remarkable book on Italy non-fiction that delves into the fascinating story of how Filippo Brunelleschi designed and constructed the iconic dome of the Florence Cathedral. King skillfully weaves together history, art, and engineering to bring to life the challenges and triumphs of this monumental architectural feat. Readers will be captivated by the detailed accounts of the political and artistic rivalries of 15th-century Florence, as well as the technical innovations that Brunelleschi employed to create the largest masonry dome in the world. This book about Italy non-fiction is a compelling narrative that offers a glimpse into the genius and determination of one of Italy’s most celebrated architects. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, history buff, or simply curious about the wonders of the world, Brunelleschi’s Dome is a must-read Italy non-fiction book that will inspire and enlighten.

The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance

by Paul Strathern

The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance by Paul Strathern is a captivating non-fiction book about Italy that delves into the fascinating history of the influential Medici family. Strathern takes readers on a journey through the Italian Renaissance, exploring the Medici’s rise to power, their shrewd financial dealings, and their enduring impact on art, politics, and culture. With vivid storytelling and meticulous research, the author brings to life the dynamic and often scandalous world of Renaissance Italy, painting a vivid portrait of the Medici’s relentless pursuit of power and wealth. This book on Italy non-fiction offers a compelling glimpse into one of the most influential families in Italian history, making it a must-read for anyone interested in the captivating saga of power, money, and ambition in the Italian Renaissance.

The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall

by Christopher Hibbert

The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert is a captivating book on Italy non-fiction that delves into the fascinating history of one of the most influential and powerful families in Renaissance Italy. This gripping account takes readers on a journey through the rise of the Medici family from their humble beginnings as wool merchants to their eventual dominance as bankers, patrons of the arts, and political leaders in Florence. Hibbert skillfully explores the family’s intricate relationships, political maneuverings, and enduring legacy, providing a rich and engrossing narrative of Italy non-fiction. From their support of artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci to their dramatic downfall, this book offers a compelling insight into the Medici’s profound impact on Italian history and culture.

The Borgias: The Hidden History

by G.J. Meyer

The Borgias: The Hidden History by G.J. Meyer is a captivating book about Italy non-fiction that delves into the notorious Borgia family. Meyer unravels the complex history of this infamous dynasty, known for their political power, corruption, and scandalous behavior during the Italian Renaissance. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, the author brings to light the lesser-known aspects of the Borgias, shedding new light on their rise to prominence and the machinations that secured their place in history. This Italy non-fiction book paints a vivid picture of the political and social landscape of Renaissance Italy, while exploring the family’s enduring legacy. Meyer’s thorough examination of the Borgias’ influence and impact makes this book a must-read for history enthusiasts and anyone fascinated by the intrigue of Renaissance Italy.

The Pope’s Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice della Rovere

by Caroline P. Murphy

The Pope’s Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice della Rovere by Caroline P. Murphy is a captivating book about Italy non-fiction that delves into the remarkable life of Felice della Rovere, the illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II. Murphy skillfully weaves together historical facts and engaging storytelling to paint a vivid portrait of Felice’s life in Renaissance Italy. From her early years as the pope’s daughter to her marriage to a powerful nobleman, Felice’s life is a fascinating tale of ambition, power, and intrigue. Murphy’s meticulous research and evocative prose bring to life the opulent courts of Italy and the complex political machinations of the time. The Pope’s Daughter is a compelling Italy non-fiction book that offers a compelling glimpse into the tumultuous world of Renaissance Italy and the extraordinary life of one of its most enigmatic figures.

The City of Falling Angels

by John Berendt

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt is a captivating book about Italy non-fiction that delves into the intrigue and scandal of Venice. Berendt brings to life the city’s vibrant characters and their tangled relationships, against the backdrop of the mysterious fire that destroyed the historic Fenice opera house. The book is a rich tapestry of history, art, and politics, as Berendt unravels the web of secrets and corruption within the city’s elite society. Through vivid storytelling and meticulous research, the author paints a mesmerizing portrait of Venice, capturing its beauty and darkness in equal measure. A spellbinding Italy non-fiction book, The City of Falling Angels is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the enigmatic allure of Venice.

The Dark Heart of Italy

by Tobias Jones

The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones is a captivating book on Italy non-fiction that delves deep into the country’s complex history, politics, and culture. Jones takes readers on a compelling journey through Italy’s dark underbelly, exploring the mafia, corruption, and the influence of Catholicism. Through his sharp observations and vivid storytelling, Jones paints a vivid portrait of a nation grappling with its past and present. This book about Italy non-fiction is a thought-provoking exploration of the country’s contradictions and complexities, offering a nuanced perspective on Italian society. Whether you’re a history buff, a travel enthusiast, or simply curious about Italy, this Italy non-fiction book is sure to captivate and enlighten you.

A Room with a View

by E.M. Forster

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster is a captivating novel set in the early 20th century. The story follows the journey of a young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, as she travels to Italy with her chaperone. During her time in Florence and the Italian countryside, Lucy experiences a transformation in her outlook on life and love. The novel beautifully portrays the clash between the strict societal expectations of the Edwardian era and the awakening of personal desires.

A Room with a View is a book about Italy non-fiction that delves into the rich culture, stunning landscapes, and the impact of the country on the characters’ lives. E.M. Forster’s exquisite prose and insightful exploration of human emotions make this novel a timeless classic that continues to captivate readers with its exploration of love, freedom, and self-discovery.

The Monster of Florence

by Douglas Preston

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston is a gripping true crime book about Italy non-fiction that delves into the chilling story of a serial killer who terrorized the Italian countryside for over two decades. Combining investigative journalism with personal experience, Preston uncovers the dark and twisted events surrounding the unsolved murders, as well as the cultural and historical context of the region. The author’s vivid descriptions and meticulous research bring the reader into the heart of the investigation, creating a sense of urgency and suspense throughout the narrative. With its blend of true crime, Italy non-fiction book, and psychological thriller elements, The Monster of Florence is a compelling and immersive read that will leave readers enthralled by its haunting tale.

Invisible Cities

by Italo Calvino

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is a mesmerizing book about Italy non-fiction that blurs the lines between travel writing and fiction. The book takes the form of a conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, as Polo describes the cities he has visited on his travels. Each city is a unique and imaginative creation, representing different aspects of human experience and emotion. Through Calvino’s lyrical prose, readers are transported to these enchanting cities, each with its own distinct atmosphere and symbolism. This book about Italy non-fiction invites readers to contemplate the nature of cities, memories, and the human experience. It is a literary masterpiece that will captivate anyone with a love for travel, imagination, and the beauty of language.

The Leopard

by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is a timeless classic that captures the essence of Italy’s aristocratic society during the Risorgimento period. This captivating non-fiction book on Italy follows the story of Prince Fabrizio Corbera, a nobleman who must navigate the changing political landscape and preserve his family’s status. Lampedusa’s rich prose and vivid descriptions transport readers to the sun-soaked landscapes of Sicily, immersing them in a world of grand balls, political intrigue, and social upheaval. The novel offers a poignant reflection on the inevitability of change and the struggle to hold onto tradition in the face of modernization. With its compelling portrayal of Italian history and culture, this book about Italy non-fiction is a must-read for anyone seeking to delve into the complexities of the Italian aristocracy and the country’s tumultuous past.

Venice: Pure City

by Peter Ackroyd

Venice: Pure City by Peter Ackroyd is a captivating book about Italy non-fiction that delves into the rich history and unique charm of the city of Venice. Ackroyd masterfully weaves together tales of the city’s legendary figures, intricate architecture, and captivating art to paint a vivid portrait of this enchanting place. From the labyrinthine alleys to the shimmering canals, the book immerses readers in the essence of Venice, exploring its cultural significance and enduring allure. Ackroyd’s evocative prose and meticulous research make this Italy non-fiction book a must-read for anyone seeking to unravel the mysteries of this timeless city. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply a lover of travel literature, Venice: Pure City offers a mesmerizing journey through one of the most alluring destinations in the world.

The Divine Comedy

by Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is a classic book about Italy non-fiction that takes readers on a journey through the three realms of the afterlife: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Dante, the protagonist, is guided by the Roman poet Virgil and later by his beloved Beatrice as he travels through Hell, climbs the mountain of Purgatory, and ascends to the celestial spheres of Heaven.

This Italy non-fiction book is a profound exploration of medieval theology, philosophy, and politics, as well as a timeless allegory of the human soul’s journey towards God. With its vivid descriptions, intricate symbolism, and enduring themes of redemption and salvation, The Divine Comedy continues to captivate readers and inspire countless adaptations in literature, art, and music.

Four Seasons in Rome

by Anthony Doerr

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr is a captivating book about Italy non-fiction that takes readers on a vivid journey through the enchanting city of Rome. Doerr beautifully captures the essence of the city as he recounts his year-long experience living in Rome with his family. Through his lyrical prose, he paints a mesmerizing portrait of the city’s bustling streets, ancient ruins, and vibrant culture. As he navigates the challenges of parenthood and the overwhelming beauty of Rome, Doerr’s reflections offer a poignant and intimate look at the wonders of Italy non-fiction. This book on Italy non-fiction is a delightful blend of travelogue, memoir, and literary exploration that will transport readers to the heart of Rome and leave them yearning for more.

Italian Ways

by Tim Parks

Italian Ways by Tim Parks is a captivating non-fiction book about Italy that delves into the country’s unique and often puzzling train culture. Through his engaging storytelling and insightful observations, Parks takes readers on a journey through the Italian railway system, exploring the quirks, challenges, and idiosyncrasies that make it so distinct. From the chaotic ticketing system to the cultural significance of train travel in Italy, Parks offers a fascinating glimpse into the heart and soul of this book on Italy non-fiction. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or simply curious about Italian culture, this book provides an illuminating and entertaining exploration of the Italy non-fiction book that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the country and its people.

The Monster of Florence

by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

The Monster of Florence, written by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, is a gripping non-fiction book about Italy. It delves into the true story of a series of gruesome murders that terrorized the picturesque countryside of Florence. The authors, an American journalist and an Italian crime reporter, join forces to uncover the chilling details of the case, which includes a mysterious serial killer and a web of conspiracy and corruption within the Italian justice system. Their investigation takes readers on a thrilling journey through the beautiful yet sinister landscapes of Tuscany, as they peel back the layers of a terrifying mystery that has haunted the region for decades. With its blend of true crime, suspense, and Italy non-fiction, The Monster of Florence is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the dark side of this enchanting country.

The Italians: A Full-Length Portrait Featuring Their Manners and Morals

by Luigi Barzini

The Italians: A Full-Length Portrait Featuring Their Manners and Morals by Luigi Barzini is a captivating book on Italy non-fiction that offers an insightful exploration of Italian culture, society, and history. Barzini provides a compelling account of the Italian way of life, delving into the nuances of Italian manners and morals with a keen eye for detail. Through vivid storytelling and astute observations, the author offers a comprehensive book about Italy non-fiction that sheds light on the complexities of Italian society, from its rich traditions to its modern-day challenges. With wit and wisdom, Barzini paints a vivid picture of Italy, making this Italy non-fiction book a must-read for anyone eager to deepen their understanding of this captivating and enigmatic country.

Conclusion

Italy is a country rich in history, culture, and art, and these 20 best books about Italy Non-Fiction offer a deep dive into its diverse and fascinating aspects. From memoirs and travelogues to historical accounts and culinary explorations, these books provide a comprehensive understanding of Italy’s allure. Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, or simply a lover of all things Italian, these books are sure to transport you to the heart of this beautiful country.

Which Italy Non-Fiction book is best?

The best book on Italy Non-Fiction can vary with personal preference, but three widely recommended titles are:

  1. The Italians by John Hooper,
  2. The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour,
  3. Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb.

Each offers valuable insights and could be a great starting point.

What are the best books to learn about Italy Non-Fiction?

What are the best books on Italy Non-Fiction?

The best books on Italy Non-Fiction include:

Each offers unique insights into the subject. While these books on the topic of Italy Non-Fiction are highly regarded, it’s important to note that any list of ‘best’ books is subjective and reflects a range of opinions.

What are the best Italy Non-Fiction books of all time?

Choosing the best Italy Non-Fiction books of all time can vary depending on who you ask, but seven titles that are often celebrated include