100 books like The Postcard from Italy

By Angela Petch,

Here are 100 books that The Postcard from Italy fans have personally recommended if you like The Postcard from Italy. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Angels & Demons

E. Chris Ambrose Author Of The Mongol's Coffin

From my list on weaving adventure and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an art school drop-out who'd been majoring in sculpture, I'm fascinated by material culture—artifacts created by early peoples that reveal their cultural values. Often, the relics and sites that engage both archaeologists and readers suggest unexpected depths of knowledge that show human ingenuity through the ages. I strive to incorporate the details of an artifact or monument's creation into the clues and descriptions in my work, hopefully illuminating a little-known historical realm, if only by torchlight as the adventure unfolds. The fact that I get to explore so many exotic locations, in research if not in person, is a definite plus!

E. Chris' book list on weaving adventure and history

E. Chris Ambrose Why did E. Chris love this book?

While most people associate Dan Brown with his more famous work, The DaVinci Code, this first novel in his Robert Langdon series really founded the archaeological thriller genre.

I loved how this book transports readers to the milieu so thoroughly that it was a bit of a spoiler when I recognized one key location from my own time in Rome before the secret was revealed—but that's a testament to how well he conveys the scene! Brown invites us behind the scenes of secret societies, sharing insider information to raise the stakes.

I had the great good fortune to take a workshop with Dan just before DaVinci Code came out, and benefit from his enormous skill as a teacher. The man tells a ripping yarn, full of puzzles that blend fact and fancy. 

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Angels & Demons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CERN Institute, Switzerland: a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered with a mysterious symbol seared onto his chest.

The Vatican, Rome: the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Somewhere beneath them, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion.

In a breathtaking race against time, Harvard professor Robert Langdon must decipher a labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols if he is to defeat those responsible - the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years, reborn to continue their deadly vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

Origin, the spellbinding…


Book cover of Early One Morning

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

I lived in Rome for one summer, and am in love with the Eternal City. This book transported me not only to Rome but back to the wartime era, and I was gripped. I loved the poetic descriptions of the city and the surrounding countryside, and the characters were strong and believable. At the core of the novel is an agonising choice a young Jewish mother has to make, and the pain of that moment has stayed with me ever since. This novel is not only a joy to read but taught me more about what Italians went through during the Second World War. 

By Virginia Baily,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Early One Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two women's decision to save a child during WWII will have powerful reverberations over the years.

Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family. Claiming the woman's son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child in her charge.

Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as…


Book cover of The House by the Sea

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

Set in both Devon and Tuscany—this is my perfect book! I loved the historic story of Floriana growing up near the beautiful villa in Tuscany, and it tied in so well with the modern-day story as well. As always Santa’s books are well crafted and a total joy to read, transporting you to the locations with her evocative descriptions. This makes a fabulous holiday read, and I have recommended it to many family and friends.

By Santa Montefiore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House by the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An irresistibly compelling from the internationally bestselling author Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens, and imagine that one day she'll escape her meagre existence and live there. One day, Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside. From that moment on Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up they cross an unseen line, jeopardising the very thing they hold most dear. Decades later…


Book cover of Love and War in the Apennines

Alice Leccese Powers Author Of Italy in Mind: An Anthology

From my list on falling in love in (and with) Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 

Alice's book list on falling in love in (and with) Italy

Alice Leccese Powers Why did Alice love this book?

Eric Newby Is one of my favorite travel writers. He worked his way into situations that were bizarre, funny, and sometimes dangerous. His wife, Wanda, was often at his side, the sardonic counterpoint to his irrepressible optimism. Love and War in the Apennines is a memoir of the beginning of their love story. During World War II Newby, an escaped British prisoner of war, was kept alive in the Italian mountains by a courageous group of partisan peasants that included the heroic Wanda. Despite ever-present danger, Newby fell in love with Italy and also with the Italians who risked their lives to save his.

By Eric Newby,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Love and War in the Apennines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as Newby's 'masterpiece', Love and War in the Apennines is the gripping real-life story of Newby's imprisonment and escape from an Italian prison camp during World War II.

After the Italian Armistice of 1943, Eric Newby escaped from the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year. He evaded the German army by hiding in the caves and forests of Fontanellato, in Italy's Po Valley. Against this picturesque backdrop, he was sheltered for three months by an informal network of Italian peasants, who fed, supported and nursed him, before his eventual recapture.

'Love and War in the…


Book cover of The Day of Battle

Glyn Harper Author Of The Battle for North Africa: El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II

From my list on Great WW2 books published after 2000.

Why am I passionate about this?

Glyn Harper has been researching and writing military history for over forty years. He is the author of numerous best-selling books on military history and is also an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. A former army officer, Glyn is New Zealand’s only Professor of War Studies.

Glyn's book list on Great WW2 books published after 2000

Glyn Harper Why did Glyn love this book?

The Day of Battle was Volume Two of Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy. While all three volumes of this series are well worth reading, Atkinson was at his best in the second volume which deals with the much-neglected campaigns of Sicily and Italy. The doyen of British military history and a veteran of the Italian campaign, the late Sir Michael Howard wrote that The Day of Battle was ‘one of the truly outstanding records of the Second World War’. I think it is too.

By Rick Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Day of Battle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of the Battle, he follows the strengthening American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and then, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north. The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill and their military advisors engaged in heated debate about whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even a good idea. But once underway, the commitment to…


Book cover of The Venice Sketchbook

Lance Hawvermale Author Of The Beekeeper's Bullet

From my list on historical action and some occasional kissing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the son of a pacifist poet and a Marine veteran of Vietnam. Perhaps because of this contradiction, I’ve been unable to find any occupation satisfying outside of writing. I spent my formative years with imaginary friends I met in libraries. My love of faraway places, romance, and war continues to this day. I write stories of strangers meeting under bleak conditions and finding the strength in each other to win the day.

Lance's book list on historical action and some occasional kissing

Lance Hawvermale Why did Lance love this book?

If you like intrigue, then welcome to Venice in 1938. This novel features a likable heroine in search of the solution to a mystery contained in a sketchbook. It’s full of art—both real and metaphorical. Set against the backdrop of impending war, this one is full of courage and heart.

By Rhys Bowen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Venice Sketchbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rhys Bowen crafts a propulsive, unexpected plot with characters who come vibrantly alive on the page." -Mark Sullivan, author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in an enthralling novel of brief encounters and lasting romance by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and Above the Bay of Angels.

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper...Venice. Caroline's quest: to scatter Juliet "Lettie" Browning's ashes in the…


Book cover of The Path to the Spiders' Nests

Dominic Smith Author Of Return to Valetto

From my list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve just spent the last few years writing Return to Valetto, about a nearly abandoned village in Umbria and the last ten people who live there. In 2018, I received an NEA grant to conduct research in Italy and I visited about a dozen abandoned and nearly abandoned towns all across Italy. While I was traveling, I immersed myself in books about Italy—from history and biography to memoir and fiction. The books on my list were stepping stones in my education about all things Italian and I hope you find them as transporting as I did!

Dominic's book list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history

Dominic Smith Why did Dominic love this book?

This was Calvino’s first novel when he was just in his early twenties, and long before he became known for his explorations of fantasy, fable, and magical realism.

He tells the story of a cobbler’s apprentice in a Ligurian town who becomes involved with a band of partisans during WWII. This brotherhood, who take on assumed identities by day and fight for Italy’s freedom up in the mountains by night, provides a story of second family for the protagonist, Pin, as he comes of age during a tumultuous time.

I love how we see the flickerings of who Calvino will become as a writer with this early foray into realism.

By Italo Calvino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Path to the Spiders' Nests as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Italo Calvino was only twenty-three when he first published this bold and imaginative novel. It tells the story of Pin, a cobbler's apprentice in a town on the Ligurian coast during World War II. He lives with his sister, a prostitute, and spends as much time as he can at a seedy bar where he amuses the adult patrons. After a mishap with a Nazi soldier, Pin becomes involved with a band of partisans. Calvino's portrayal of these characters, seen through the eyes of a child, is not only a revealing commentary on the Italian resistance but an insightful coming-of-age…


Book cover of Under the Light of the Italian Moon

L.L. Abbott Author Of Our Forgotten Year

From my list on WWII historical fiction that will touch your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a multi-genre-inspired reader and writer. The story is what motivates my interest and captivates my attention. The connection I have to my love of WWII-inspired Historical Fiction is drawn from the sheer strength and perseverance that millions of people had to pull from in order to survive one of the darkest moments in humanity. As a writer, I wanted to bring stories to life – to entertain and inform.

L.L.'s book list on WWII historical fiction that will touch your heart

L.L. Abbott Why did L.L. love this book?

The bravery and sacrifice of women in the Second World War is repeated in several European countries as families struggle to fight back and survive simultaneously. The novel spans over two decades as the author brings to life a young woman’s fight to survive and protect everything she loves. Although trapped in a turbulent time, the importance that rural Italian midwives during unimaginable circumstances is revealed in a touching and emotional manner. Under the Light of the Italian Moon shines a light on bravery, sacrifice, and humanity.

By Jennifer Anton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Light of the Italian Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

‘An enthralling, richly crafted story of bold women resisting destruction, death and fascism.’

- Robin Pickering-Iazzi, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

A promise keeps them apart until WWII threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso, Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini…


Book cover of Family Lexicon

Tim Parks Author Of An Italian Education: The Further Adventures of an Expatriate in Verona

From my list on understanding the Italian mindset.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tim Parks moved to Italy in 1981 and is still there today. He has written five bestselling books about the country, brought up three splendid Italian children and translated some of the country’s best-loved authors. There cannot be many foreigners more familiar with the country, its literature, its history and its people.

Tim's book list on understanding the Italian mindset

Tim Parks Why did Tim love this book?

Among the greatest family memoirs of all time. Novelist, Natalia Ginzburg (née Levi) grew up in a big family in Turin between the wars. Her Jewish father was a famous and famously irascible scientist, her mother a charmer from the well-to-do bourgeoisie. The last of five, Natalia gives a sparkling picture of the loves, friendships and conflicts between her older brothers and sisters as Fascist Italy drifted toward war. Impossible not to laugh and cry, while at the same time getting a sense of the deeper forces driving Italian life.

By Natalia Ginzburg, Jenny McPhee (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Family Lexicon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction

An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking—when he isn’t provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways…


Book cover of A Bell for Adano

Joseph Guzzo Author Of Mousetrap, Inc.

From my list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first job upon graduating from college was working for an invention-marketing firm. This wasn’t my intention; armed with a degree in journalism, I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the country was enduring a recession, and after six months of unemployment, I was happy to be offered a copywriting position. So often during the two years I spent there, I would think to myself, “This could make such a great novel.” It took me a while—and with more than a few rejections along the way—but inspired by the writers and books I’ve included in my collection, I finally got around to penning my own tale.

Joseph's book list on inspired me to become a writer and my son a reader

Joseph Guzzo Why did Joseph love this book?

I was a senior in high school, and my English teacher gave us customized reading recommendations. He thought I might like this book. He had no idea. Though often a serious work—it’s set in World War II Italythis novel exudes charm like nothing I’d ever read. There are books, TV shows, plays, and movies that you may like or even love, but when they charm you? You never forget them. Also, there’s a minor character in the book who shares my last name. I returned the favor in my novel by giving my protagonist the last name Adano.

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bell for Adano as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic novel and winner of the Pulitzer Prize tells the story of an Italian-American major in World War II who wins the love and admiration of the local townspeople when he searches for a replacement for the 700-year-old town bell that had been melted down for bullets by the fascists. Although stituated during one of the most devastating experiences in human history, John Hersey's story speaks with unflinching patriotism and humanity.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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