An arttrav reader named James from Pittsboro, North Carolina, USA wrote to me with thanks for the reading lists posted on the old version of arttrav. James brought a few more books to my attention, and i’m posting them here with some other books of a similar vein. Amongst the books he suggested are a few that are journalistic or non-fiction impressions of Italy, and it occured to me that a list of this type of book would be most useful, as there have been some excellent ones published lately.


Thank you James for your contribution! (Hey james, if you want i’d be happy to post your last name and a photo instead of this clip of a guy with a bag on his head to respresent you! just email me.) If you have any new books to add, please post them in the comments section!

James suggests the following:

-Tobias Jones The Dark Heart of Italy

Italy: A Traveler’s Literary Companion

-Hofmann, former New York Times Rome bureau chief, offers an entertaining and shrewd appraisal of an ancient, ever-changing nation: That Fine Italian Hand

-a beautiful contribution in the womens’ lit category: Desiring Italy: Women Writers Celebrate the Passions of a Country and Culture

And I’d like to add to that:

-Say what you want about Beppe Severgnini but this book is hilarious: La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

-Roberto Saviano’s book on the Camorra became an unexpected bestseller in Italy and is an important read: Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System
I also recommend the movie, which appears to be only on blu-ray and not dvd, and hard to find at that: Gomorrah [Blu-ray]

-the books by Linda Falcone are really fun; her first “Italians Dance and i’m a wallflower” seems to be a bit out of print but this newer books is available in the states: Italian, It’s All Greek to Me: Everything You Don’t Know About Italian Language and Culture

-And finally… This book  is a touching firsthand account of the great Florence flood of 1966 published by my friends at Syracuse University. I just gave this book to a colleague in fact.

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