The best books about Florence 📚

Browse the best books on Florence as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of The Companion Guide to Florence

The Companion Guide to Florence

By Eve Borsook

Why this book?

There are millions of great guidebooks on Florence, but none is more entertaining, informative, and lively than Eve Borsook’s. An American art historian who lived in the city for most of her life, she unravels Florence's history, art, and politics with verve, knowledge, and insight. As one would expect in a guide, she describes systematically the city, a chapter for each neighborhood, each chapter starting with detailed descriptions of its most interesting streets, squares, buildings, and works of art. But what makes this guide invaluable are Borsook’s commentaries that follow her informative descriptions. I suggest you read this book before…
From the list:

The best books to understand the art and culture of Renaissance Florence

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Florentine Magnates: Lineage and Faction in a Medieval Commune

The Florentine Magnates: Lineage and Faction in a Medieval Commune

By Carol Lansing

Why this book?

It’s impossible to understand the turbulence that frequently swept over Florence in those years without some sense of what the magnate class was all about: its pride and its violence, its lawlessness, its emphasis on knighthood, and its private military forces. Lansing shows how the magnate class evolved as a distinctive culture, becoming powerful and disruptive to the city’s peace well beyond even what its considerable economic clout would suggest. She places a lot of emphasis on the role of women among the magnates, even though women could never be full members of the lineage, since they married into other…

From the list:

The best books on medieval Florence

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Florence Gordon

Florence Gordon

By Brian Morton

Why this book?

Seventy-five-year-old Florence is clever, outspoken and belligerent, sharp-witted, and sharp-tongued. Reliving memories of the American Feminist Movement at its height, she’s a great character forced to confront her own aging and the difficult dynamics of her family life. Crackling dialogue makes this book a slick and entertaining read.

From the list:

The best books with brilliant old women as heroines

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of A Room with a View

A Room with a View

By E.M. Forster

Why this book?

Young Englishwoman Lucy Honeychurch visits Italy only to find herself among others of her class, all of whom have brought along their prejudices. When a father and son of a lower social class offer her a room with a better view, Lucy’s chaperone is suspicious of possible lurid expectations attached to the offer. The Edwardian moral code, outrageous to a present-day American, presents obstacles Lucy struggles to overcome so she can comfortably befriend the men. Although Forster’s style sometimes left me confused as to who was speaking during dialogues, and the Grecian myth references aren’t in my lexicon, the story…

From the list:

The best books about leaving home, travel, and self-discovery

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Cosimo De' Medici and the Florentine Renaissance: The Patron's Oeuvre

Cosimo De' Medici and the Florentine Renaissance: The Patron's Oeuvre

By Dale Kent

Why this book?

Most art in the Renaissance was commissioned by specific patrons and this book superbly illustrates the complex interaction among patron, artist, and society by focusing on the greatest patron of art and architecture in fifteenth-century Florence. Cosimo de’ Medici was the most powerful figure in the city’s political and economic life, a fabulously wealthy banker, a devout Christian, but he had also an impeccable nose for great art. With the help of about 200 images, the book examines the religious, personal, and dynastic motivations behind Cosimo’s artistic patronage, both his direct commissions for the Medici palaces, villas, and chapels as…
From the list:

The best books to understand the art and culture of Renaissance Florence

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Death of an Englishman

Death of an Englishman

By Magdalen Nabb

Why this book?

This delightful mystery set in Florence not only intrigues the reader with its clever, twist-filled plot but also with its insights into daily life and culture in Italy. The characters are enjoyable and show many humorous and unique facts of Italian life. Nabb knows her Florence and her Italians, and her ability to describe both make a reader wish to accompany her on her next trip!

From the list:

The best books to read so you can take a trip to enchanting Italy without having to book a flight

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 23 books about Florence

New book lists about Florence

All book lists about Florence

Bookshelves related to Florence

Browse books by…