Category: Books and Literary Travel

This category focuses on books about Italy, including novels, Italy memoirs, and guidebooks.

The Atlas of Ancient Rome: Your New Favorite Coffee Table Book

Atlas of Ancient Rome

The Atlas of Ancient Rome, a gorgeous, new two-volume set edited by Andrea Carandini, promises to be an “authoritative archeological survey of Rome from prehistory to the early medieval period.” The slip-cased set is available now.

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The Monumental Trees of Italy

  Have you seen this book? Many years ago, I found this book while browsing the clearance stacks at a used bookstore in Washington, DC. Published in 1990, Gli Alberi Monumentali d’Italia is a beautiful coffee table book full of color photos of legendary trees from Italy’s islands and central/southern regions. Roman pines, Holm oaks, …

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Smoking in Italy

A lot of Italians still smoke. This is hardly a newsflash for many. I have always known that Italians are more relaxed (than Americans, for example) about smoking. But it is still a surprise coming from a culture where smoking is stigmatized to where it is not necessarily expected but accepted across many generations. Italy imposed …

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The Roman Spring of Tennessee Williams

In the late winter/early spring of 1948, American playwright Tennessee Williams arrived in Rome in need of a change of scenery. Williams, of course, is known for his writing set in the American South, including “A Streetcar Named Desire” (written in 1947) and “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” (1955), both of which earned him Pulitzer …

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‘An Irreverent Curiosity’ – An Interview with David Farley

If you know me, you’ll know that I am nuts about religious relics. And if you know David Farley’s book “An Irreverent Curiosity,” you’ll know immediately why that first line is a wee bit funny. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Farley in Manhattan to discuss his book, which has the tag …

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The Real Pinocchio

Last November, the New York Review of Books released Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio under its NYRB Classics imprint. The tale, as reviewed by Tim Parks in the latest issue, is much darker than the Disneyfied version. After the jump is Parks’ full review. As always, I urge you to subscribe to NYRB; they …

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Two Of Summer’s Most Intriguing Reads Are Set in Italy

I am supremely excited about two new nonfiction books this summer: The Monster of Florence and Rome 1960. Both describe tumultuous times in central Italy, the first being a period of time in Florence when an unknown predator or predators who “stalked lovers’ lanes in the countryside,” and the second describes the 1960 Olympic Games …

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‘Angels and Demons’ Tourism

The book – and now movie – Angels and Demons isn’t too kind to the Catholic Church, with murders taking place at some of Rome’s famous and not-yet-famous churches and squares, including Piazza del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria. But, city officials don’t think that will deter tourists from wanting to take an Angels-and-Demons-based …

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Italian Villas and Their Gardens

Just in time for late spring and summer romps around Italy comes the reissue of Edith Wharton’s 1904 landscaping classic Italian Villas and Their Gardens. According to curators with the New York Society Library’s Green Art collection, “Wharton visited some fifty villas around Rome, Florence, Siena, Genoa, in Lombardy, and the Veneto. Many were closed to …

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