I was recently on Michelle Johnston's podcast A Writer in Italy, and we discussed the books set in Italy that I've read that have influenced me and my writing the most. These books have no doubt inspired me while I've been writing my own novel, A Recipe from Rome, which will be released this summer.
In no particular order, here are my all-time favorite books set in Italy. Have you read any of these?
Un Amico Italiano by Luca Spaghetti - This memoir compares life in Italy with life in America from the perspective of Italian Luca Spaghetti, the guy Elizabeth Gilbert met and writes about in her best-selling memoir Eat Pray Love!
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - Is there anyone out there who hasn't read this? Gilbert's powerful memoir tells her story of visiting Italy, India, and Indonesia after her marriage falls apart. The book and the movie are both incredible!
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle - This novel was just optioned for film! It follows a woman's journey to Positano right after her mother dies, and while she's there, something strange happens: she meets her mother from thirty years ago.
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch - The first of three novels in a series, this book will transport you to Florence, the Renaissance capital of the world. You can also catch a film adaptation on Netflix, but it's quite different from the book.
From Scratch by Tembi Locke - Another Netflix special inspired by a book, this memoir will make you think, it will make you cry, it will make you inspired, and about a thousand more feelings. What happens when two people from different cultures-- and countries-- fall in love against all odds?
That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Cooper - This was a fun novel I happened upon one day. It's a perfect escapist read that follows a woman on a solo trip to Italy where she encounters a rock star.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - What can I say about this series other than, well, it's brilliant? This four-book masterpiece-- yep, that's what I'm gonna call it-- takes the reader into the grittiest parts of Naples as it follows two lifelong frenemies over the course of decades. You can also watch the series on HBO Max.
Laura Botten is releasing her debut novel A Recipe from Rome in the summer of 2023. Sign up for her monthly newsletter for book updates, book reviews, recipes, and fun Italy content. As a thank you, she'll send "A Taste of Italy" straight to your inbox instantly!