Travelling is really expensive, so at the moment the only realistic way for me to learn about other cultures and the world at large is through novels and other forms of media. That’s why I like this feature so much: I get to put books and stories into clear categories that build up the way I – and we – see our planet.
On that note, today I want to talk about books I’ve read that are set in Italy!
The Mozart Question – Michael Morpurgo This is a gorgeous short story about a mysterious violinist. It’s set in the streets of Venice and, despite its brevity, paints a magical picture of the setting. I loved this story.
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare This is kind of a cheat because Shakespeare almost certainly knew very little about the place he was writing about, and the story – being a play – doesn’t do much for us in the way of setting. That said, I left it in my list partly because it’s beautiful and I love it, and partly because of the lasting effect it’s had on Verona. Just look at all the letters that get left at ‘Juliet’s House’!
A Room With A View – EM Forster I’ve already written a post talking about the gorgeous locations featured in this lovely romance novel. The book highlights the more tourist-y side of Florence, which I think is a really interesting – and probably important! – angle.
Scorpia – Anthony Horowitz The fifth in Horowitz’s young adult ‘Alex Rider’ series, the plot follows teen-aged spy on a school trip in Venice. Here we get an insight into (fictional) criminal organisations and a few more tourist-friendly sites. It’s a fun book, but not necessarily a go-to for Italian culture.
The Thief Lord – Cornelia Funke I love this book! A magic-realism-filled children’s novel about two boys who run away to Venice. They make friends with street children and learn about a whole different side of the city.
Trafficked: The Terrifying True Story of a British Girl Forced into the Sex Trade – Sophie Hayes On a more sombre note, this is the autobiography of a British girl who was tricked into moving to Italy with a man she thought loved her, only to find herself forced into prostitution. This is an insight into the dark side that every country has, and while tragic I don’t think it’s something we can ignore.
That’s all for books I’ve read about Italy! Have you read any of these, and are there any you can recommend?
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!