From romances on the island of Capri to a coming of age book set around the palazzos of Venice and villas of Rome, Philip Blackwell and the team at Ultimate Library share their recommendations of novels set in Italy!
1. Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson
Venice, 1943: Under the Nazi occupation, life is increasingly perilous for Italian Jews. Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive – to leave her beloved parents and hide in the countryside, posing as the bride of a man she has only just met. Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to return home to run his family’s farm. The only way to keep Nina safe – and protect secrets of his own – is to convince prying eyes that their sudden marriage is a love match.
2. The Vietri Project by Nicola Derbertis-Theye
Working at a bookstore in Berkeley in the years after college, Gabriele becomes intrigued by the orders of signor Vietri, a customer from Rome whose numerous purchases grow increasingly mystical and esoteric. Restless and uncertain of her future, Gabriele quits her job and, landing in Rome, decides to look up Vietri. Unable to locate him, she begins a quest to unearth the well-concealed facts of his life.
3. The Favour by Laura Vaughan
When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy. In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them.
4. Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa.
5. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
The dying wish of 16-year-old Lina’s mother was for her daughter to live in Tuscany and get to know her father, whom Lina has never met. Why did her mother wait so long to tell her about him? Shortly after she arrives at Howard’s home, Lina meets Sonya, who gives Lina a diary that belonged to Lina’s mother. While Lina is living her life and exploring Tuscany with her handsome neighbour, Ren, she follows in the footsteps of her mother and gets to know her as never before. She also finds out the truth about her father. Mostly she finds out about herself.