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get under the skin of italy with these italian novels


A guidebook may provide you with the information about the best food spots in the area you are staying in or the best times for visiting the most popular tourist hotspots, but to really get a feel for Italy and get under the skin of Italy, bring along an Italian novel. 
An Italian novel can provide you with a chance to explore a part of Italy rarely seen by tourists, and when staying at our luxury villas in Italy why not bring along a book by an Italian author that can give you a little more insight into the place you are staying that is not available in a guide book? 
Take a look below at some of the best novels to take with you that will help you get to know the country a little better:
Alessandro Manzoni – The Betrothed (Milan)
Manzoni’s classic novel is often hailed as the ‘first Italian novel’ and several of the quotations and characters have become part of the Italian vocabulary, such as the character ‘Perpetua’ used as a slang word for ‘busybody’. The novel follows the fate of a peasant couple Renzo and Lucia, who flee their hometown from a local tyrant. The heart of the novel is a love story – so much that Pope Francis recommended it to engaged couples to read. But it also tells the story of a 17th century Milan and wider story of Italy. Touching upon Spanish rule, famine, plague and the Thirty Years’ War, all through the eyes of ordinary people. The Betrothed is studied at schools in Italy, and provides a wonderful insight into the history of many of the ordinary locals you will come across during your stay. 
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – The Leopard (Sicily)
Tomasi has documented the decline of Sicily’s aristocracy in his acclaimed novel, which is set in the Risorgimento period leading up to the unification of Italy. Being the last in a long line of Sicilian princes himself, Tomasi has a personal insight to his story, which is largely based on his great-grandfather. The novel follows Prince Fabrizio and his family as the struggle with the oncoming changes. The ‘leopard’ from the title refers to the big cat, which was a symbol on the families’ coat of arms, and as leopards are now extinct in Europe, a symbol for the dying aristocracy. When staying at our Sicily villas, this novel will surely help you paint a picture of what the beautiful island used to be like. 
Elena Ferrante – My Brilliant Friend (Naples)
Ferrante has become a popular Italian writer, whose descriptive novels have inspired people to seek out the working-class neighbourhoods depicted in her fiction, as much as they want to see the stunning architecture and tourist hotspots. Focusing on Naples and the surrounding area, her Neapolitan Novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend, are about two young women from Naples, whose friendship sets them on a path in a changing Italy. In the city of Naples, you can visit many of the locations depicted in the novels, and the surrounding region has also worked its way into the stories too. 
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