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Ultimate Italy : 5 Must-reads

Viva Italia! Philip Blackwell of Ultimate Library and Karma Group’s Literary Luminary, invites us to explore Italy through the eyes of these amazing writers.  From summer romances to Tuscany villas and the history of citrus, we’re celebrating all things Italian! 


1. The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee

The story of citrus runs through the history of Italy like a golden thread, and by combining travel writing with history, recipes, horticulture and art, Helena Attlee takes the reader on a unique and rich journey through Italy’s cultural, moral, culinary and political past. A wonderful book that will teach you about a country so bursting with culture you’ll be dazzled.

The Land Where Lemons Grow


2. Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King

Even in an age of soaring skyscrapers and cavernous sports stadiums, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence still retains a rare power to astonish tourists and Italians alike. Yet the elegance of the building belies the tremendous labour, technical ingenuity and bitter personal strife involved in its creation.

Brunelleschi’s Dome


3. The Last Supper by Rachel Cusk

When Rachel Cusk decides to travel to Italy for a summer with her husband and two young children, she has no idea of the trials and wonders that lie in store. Their journey leads them to both the expected and the surprising, all seen through Cusk’s sharp and humane perspective.

The Last Supper


4. The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

Behind a villa in the heart of Tuscany lies a Renaissance garden of enchanting beauty. Arriving in 1958, the young scholar, Adam, finds the Docci family, their house and the unique garden as seductive as each other. But post-War Italy is still a strange, even dangerous place, and the Doccis have some dark skeletons hidden away which Adam finds himself compelled to investigate.

The Savage Garden


5. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

My Brilliant Friend

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