Every time I plan a trip for someone to Italy I always include a recommended reading list with the itinerary. I call this a literary meet and greet. Pre-departure information shouldn’t be limited to operational activities only. It’s important to plan for accommodations and transportation, what type of clothes to bring and how to exchange your money but it’s also important to have an understanding of the history, geography and culture of the people you will encounter on your trip. A little pre-trip knowledge goes a long way in helping to understand on-the-spot-descriptions and sort through all the tourist babble and sensory overload that you’re bound to encounter. What you read will personalize your experience making it uniquely your own.
The 12 books that every would be traveler to Italy should read is also a retrospective list as well. Meaning that when you return from Italy the pages and pictures in these books will bring back memories of your trip with “aha” moments, a defining moment where you say to yourself that person, place or thing I saw really did change my life.
Here is the suggested list. It is in no particular order other than by topic and by no means inclusive as there are many books on the purposes and pleasures of traveling in Italy. These books are a good place to start. Divertiti!
To understand the culture of Italy
To understand how Italians think and live
To learn about the art, architecture and history of Italy
To learn about food ,wine and gastrohistory
To learn to speak Italian