Before jetting off on your next European vacation delve into Essteele's essential summer reading guide. Designed to suit a variety of literary tastes including history, memoirs, and fictional tales, this must-read list will have you hankering for an Italian sojourn sooner rather than later.
Italy For The Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin
Written by one of the leading authorities on Italian cuisine, this comprehensive reference book provides invaluable information for the discerning traveller looking to uncover local bakeries, olive oil distilleries, cheeses, markets, restaurants, vineyards and little-known secrets of Italy's culinary scene. The book is divided into regions and readers will benefit from Plotkin's research when attempting to decipher local restaurant menus.
Italian Neighbours by Tim Parks
According to The New Yorker, British author Tim Parks is 'one of the few foreigners who come close to capturing the variegated reality of Italy'. An authentic account of the author's life and his relocation from England to Verona, Parks' chronicles his foray into Italian life as he settles down to raise a family in Verona. Lighthearted and wry, his meditation on daily life in Italy is illuminating and much recommended before heading off on the next Italian adventure.
The Sack of Rome by Alexander Stille
Silvio Berlusconi, whether his fellow countrymen like it or not, is synonymous with Italy. This expository biography is a comprehensive and fascinating account of Berlusconi's rise to politics. The Sack of Rome is a withering exploration of the actions of the man who, more than any, has shaped the Italy of today: “Berlusconi believes that
the world revolves him - the ultimate narcissistic fantasy - but he has bent reality to fit his fantasy, so that much of life in Italy does indeed revolve around him.“
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
E.M. Forster's classic 1908 novel follows the the story of young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch who is holidaying in Florence with her chaperone when she meets dashing Mr Emerson. A tale of romantic enlightenment and transformation, readers also glimpse through Lucy's eyes, an exotic and romantic, 19th-century Florence. Much more than a love story, A Room with a View is also a biting social comedy and a brilliant examination of the contrast in values, social class, and cultural perspectives.