The most recommended books about Tuscany

Who picked these books? Meet our 26 experts.

26 authors created a book list connected to Tuscany, and here are their favorite Tuscany books.
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What type of Tuscany book?


Book cover of The Three Graces

Diane Chandler Author Of The Road to Donetsk

From Diane's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Creative writing tutor Open-minded reader Helicopter mum Always looking for the laugh

Diane's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Diane Chandler Why did Diane love this book?

The Three Graces is set in Tuscany, and I could feel the sunshine on my face as I read this sumptuous novel.

Set over just two weeks in May, with the planning of a wedding at its heart, it embraces a huge cast of characters (young and old, rich and poor, kind and mean) and a wide range of issues (including racism, refugees, immigration and generation rent versus baby boomers). All of which are woven skillfully into a delightful story.

The eponymous Three Graces are three elderly ladies who have moved separately to Tuscany to live out their retirement. "Between them, they had 4 breasts, 5 eyes, and 3 hip replacements." Ultimately, this is a tale of friendship. 

By Amanda Craig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Hugely entertaining' Telegraph

'She's such a skilful storyteller who vividly dramatises our lives with wit, wisdom and compassion'

'I revelled in The Three Graces - such an intriguing cast, so convincingly presented, and a narrative that continually surprises'

'A brilliant piece of storytelling... it should be the book everybody's reading this summer'

'Gorgeous and generous... rich with characters and suffused with sunlight'

When Enzo shoots an illegal migrant from his bedroom one night, it triggers a series of events that embroil old and young, rich and poor, native and foreign. His elderly…

Book cover of The Light in the Ruins

Karla M. Jay Author Of When We Were Brave

From my list on WWII with stories we haven’t heard before.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to write stories of historical injustice, so this is mainly the genre I read. In recent years, many new novels merely rehashed the same theme, such as the horror show known as Auschwitz or the other camps. Although those are worthy of the people who died there, I’m always on the hunt for a fresh story that has never been told about those tragic years. 

Karla's book list on WWII with stories we haven’t heard before

Karla M. Jay Why did Karla love this book?

I loved learning about what happened in Italy when the Germans occupied it. In this story, a wealthy Italian family becomes too close to the Germans by inviting them to search the secret ruins behind their villa for antiquities. This relationship has deadly consequences years later as members of the family are killed. The book goes back and forth between 1943 and 1955 until we learn why someone is seeking revenge.  

By Chris Bohjalian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Light in the Ruins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge—set in war-ravaged Tuscany.

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa…

Book cover of Lotharingia: Charlemagne's Heir

Lee Swanson Author Of Her Dangerous Journey Home

From my list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first recollection of a fascination with medieval history occurred while watching Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I soon exhausted our school library’s limited selection of tales of kings and castles. Much later, a history degree and decades spent in Germany and England allowed me to delve deeply into historical research, gaining a specialized knowledge into the areas in which I was most interested. I am particularly fascinated with the lives of women, most of whom medieval chroniclers relegate to a brief mention as wives and mothers. There are clearly stories here yet to be told and I am always excited to learn of new scholarship.

Lee's book list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists

Lee Swanson Why did Lee love this book?

For medieval women, the right to assume title and property upon the death of their fathers or husbands could not be taken for granted. Most succumbed to the pressure to marry and relinquished their right to rule to conniving husbands, trapping themselves in loveless relationships.

A few, such as Matilda of Canossa, refused to be cowed into submission. Lara Byrne’s Lotharingia: Charlemagne’s Heir, is a wonderfully engaging blend of scholarly research and rich storytelling detailing the early life of this courageous woman. The characterizations are beautifully well-developed; I found some to virtually leap off the page and into the reader’s heart.

Like Christina Kohl in my series, Comitissa Matilda is a woman unafraid, whether to pursue forbidden love or to wield a sword in battle.

By Lara Byrne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A unique tale of love and politics, betrayal and survival, male and female power, relics and prophecies, against the Machiavellian backdrop of the Investiture Controversy.

A.D. 1062. The Holy Roman Emperor is dead, and his underage son, snatched from his mother, is a puppet in the hands of regents. The fate of the empire lies in the hands of three women. Surprisingly, the Church takes their side, but Rome’s support has a price. Matilde refuses to be a pawn in the marriage game. Is she the child of Charlemagne’s prophecy? HFC 2021 BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER (WORLD HISTORICAL…

Book cover of Our Italian Summer

Nanette Littlestone Author Of Bella Toscana

From my list on for women on a second chance at love and romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a huge believer of love and romance and happily ever after. I also know that real life and happily ever after aren’t always easy. It took me 45 years to find my Prince Charming (after kissing a lot of frogs). I love reading stories of hope, courage, and promise and strong women who pursue their dreams. They inspire me to keep going and to keep writing. Whether I’m creating women’s fiction, historical novels, fantasy, or romance, my books explore relationships and why people do what they do, and every story focuses on love (what we always strive for) and forgiveness (what we always need). 

Nanette's book list on for women on a second chance at love and romance

Nanette Littlestone Why did Nanette love this book?

The story focuses on three women—Francesca, Allegra, and Sophia, three generations of the Ferrari family. They hope that a trip to Italy, to their roots, will restore their connections. But the ties of family run deep, especially troubled ones. Throughout the story, we see the ugly mistakes and misunderstandings of each of the characters—their dirty underwear on display—and how those mistaken beliefs and patterns have torn the fabric that holds the family together.

The characters are complex, human, flawed, and wonderful. You’ll pray for them, cheer for them, hope for them as they flounder, find their footing, and flounder some more. All in beautiful Italy. The descriptions, the locations, the food—everything is mouthwatering.

I dare you not to fall in love.

By Jennifer Probst,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Italian Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three generations of women in the Ferrari family must heal the broken pieces of their lives on a trip of a lifetime through picturesque Italy from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst
Workaholic, career-obsessed Francesca is fiercely independent and successful in all areas of her life except one: family. She struggles to make time for her relationship with her teenage daughter, Allegra, and the two have become practically strangers to each other. When Allegra hangs out with a new crowd and is arrested for drug possession, Francesca gives in to her mother's wish that they take one epic summer…

Book cover of Guesswork: A Reckoning with Loss

Joan D. Heiman Author Of Life with an Impossible Person: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation

From my list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom handed me one of those little girl diaries with a lock and key when I was in third grade. I wrote my heart into those diaries until I needed more space and shifted to regular-sized notebooks. Writing is my way to know myself and make sense of my life. The journal I kept in the last months of my husband’s life helped me reassemble the trauma-blurred memories of his dying, and then, it supported my emotional rebirth during the year of intense grieving. It is with surprise and delight that I hear from readers who say I articulate their innermost emotions related to love and loss.

Joan's book list on by women grieving the loss of a quirky partner

Joan D. Heiman Why did Joan love this book?

As I entered the strange new territory of grief and a solitary life after 37 years of an unconventional marriage, I found myself looking for solace from authors who could show me the way forward. Martha Cooley’s retreat to a small, medieval Italian village brought the first tentative smiles to my early months of grieving. My husband and I shared a love of Europe and stayed in our own medieval village in Tuscany just a few years before he died. Cooley used her retreat to deal consciously but gently with the many deaths she’d faced over a traumatic ten years, as well as the impending death of her mother. Her reflections related to mortality and carrying on after the loss of loved ones were a comfort as I began to confront the uncomfortable challenge of stepping into a new life without my husband and best friend. 

By Martha Cooley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"[A] splendid and subtle memoir in essays" —The New York Times Book Review

Having lost eight friends in ten years, Cooley retreats to a tiny medieval village in Italy with her husband. There, in a rural paradise where bumblebees nest in the ancient cemetery and stray cats curl up on her bed, she examines a question both easily evaded and unavoidable: mortality. How do we grieve? How do we go on drinking our morning coffee, loving our life partners, stumbling through a world of such confusing, exquisite beauty?

Linking the essays is Cooley’s escalating understanding of another loss on the…

Book cover of Florence and Its Church in the Age of Dante

Tinney Sue Heath Author Of A Thing Done

From my list on medieval Florence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical fiction set in medieval Italy, in that lesser-known territory somewhere between ancient Rome and the Renaissance. I’m fascinated by the period before the Medici, before Michelangelo, sometimes even before Dante. The seeds of the Renaissance are hidden in that turbulent time, and I love to hunt for them. I also like to write about marginalized people—the obscure, unfamous, forgotten folk plucked from the footnotes. I’m happy to introduce some of the excellent history books that help me do that. These five books are specific to Florence, the city of my heart.

Tinney's book list on medieval Florence

Tinney Sue Heath Why did Tinney love this book?

To know medieval Florence, you have to have a sense of the enormous role the Church played in people’s lives. Here, Dameron concentrates on the 50-year period 1265-1321 (Dante’s lifetime), during which Florence went from something of a backwater to one of the wealthiest and most influential cities in all of Europe. Separation of church and state was simply not a thing back then; the concept would have bewildered medieval Florentines. All aspects of the city, from the legal system to charity efforts, were affected by religious institutions. This knowledgeable account will give you a rich, full picture of that aspect of medieval Florentine society.

By George W. Dameron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Florence and Its Church in the Age of Dante as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the early fourteenth century, the city of Florence had emerged as an economic power in Tuscany, surpassing even Siena, which had previously been the banking center of the region. In the space of fifty years, during the lifetime of Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321, Florence had transformed itself from a political and economic backwater-scarcely keeping pace with its Tuscan neighbors-to one of the richest and most influential places on the continent. While many historians have focused on the role of the city's bankers and merchants in achieving these rapid transformations, in Florence and Its Church in the Age of Dante, George…

Book cover of Breathing Room

Maggie Wells Author Of Love Game

From my list on sexy/steamy romance with characters in their prime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading and writing romance about characters who are beyond the first blush of youth is important to me because these characters represent who I am and the people I know. We live in an unapologetically youth-centric culture. When I wrote my first book, I wrote about a 40-year-old heroine, not realizing that in traditional romance publishing, no one over 30, maybe 35, gets to fall in love. Well, I had news for them. I joined forces with some other like-minded readers and writers and we created a group on Facebook called Seasoned Romance, where we say you’re never too old to fall in love.  

Maggie's book list on sexy/steamy romance with characters in their prime

Maggie Wells Why did Maggie love this book?

This is one of my comfort reads. It’s been out a while, so it may be a little dated in terms of technology, but the heat is still there. One of the things I love most about this book is that it blows the perception that we should have everything figured out by the time we reach a certain age or level of success. Isabel thought she had a fool-proof guide to living a successful life free of messes. Well, you know that had to blow up in her face. But I also like Lorenzo Gage’s story as much. As one of the world’s most bankable movie stars, he should be riding high, but he finds himself inexplicably discontented with his career and life choices. This book reminds me it’s okay if I don’t have a handle on every little thing.

By Susan Elizabeth Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Isabel Favor is a life-style coach whose life is falling apart. Her accountant has run off with her money, her reputation is in tatters and her fiance has just dumped her for an older woman. Isabel needs to escape so she heads for Tuscany determined to find a little perspective - breathing room - and start over.

Instead she ends up in a hotel room with Hollywood bad boy, Lorenzo Gage. He makes his living killing people on the screen at least. Ren's reputation is blacker than black. But when you're everyone's favourite villain, it goes with the territory. Isabel's…

Book cover of Hey Alexa: A Contemporary Romance Set During the Pandemic

Matthew O. Duncan Author Of The Warrior's Stone

From my list on old-school sci-fi from 21st century authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up a fan of all things sci-fi, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and so on. But the older I got, the pickier I got, wanting more depth in character, creative stories and fun, but believable action. I read classic sci-fi like iRobot, Starship Troopers, and Enders Game, to name a few. I did find some contemporary authors I liked like Marco Kloos, Detmare Wehr, and Rebecca Branch, but they were needles in a haystack. So, instead of complaining that there were not enough good books out there, I started writing my own. A decade later I have 8 published titles and more on the way.  

Matthew's book list on old-school sci-fi from 21st century authors

Matthew O. Duncan Why did Matthew love this book?

I was once told; the best authors are the ones who read more than they write. To that end I don’t always stick with my favorite genres. This book was recommended to me by a friend as a sci-fi that I typically would not read because it’s also a romance book. Hey Alexa, is slightly in the future, when Amazon develops an evolved version of Alexa that exists in a beautiful female android. I don’t want to give any more away. What makes this book wonderful is the journey the two main characters take in discovering that love is as unique as each individual person and it can be found when we are open to it.  

By Rebecca Branch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He's brilliant, accomplished, and alone. He's been handed a death sentence by his doctor, and his only friend is his clock/radio. Can the Echo Dot with Alexa's voice save him?Travel to New York, London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Berlin, and a villa in Tuscany, as the man who'd given up on life finds a hopeful future and a partner to love.

Book cover of Under the Tuscan Sun

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

I remember seeing this book for the first time on my mother’s bedside table.

As a mother of six children (five boys and a girl—me), I strongly suspect she dreamed of escape from time to time. A mother now myself, I understand feelings of overwhelm.

When I read this book back in the late ‘90s I saw a woman brave enough to step into her dreams and create a beautiful and sensuous life. It was bold, and it allowed me to dream of a bigger life. It made me curious if I could ever do such a thing.

Read the story of how she and her husband transformed an old villa as well as their lives!

By Frances Mayes,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Under the Tuscan Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the New York Times bestseller that inspired the film. The perfect read for anyone seeking an escape to the Italian countryside.

When Frances Mayes - poet, gourmet cook and travel writer - buys an abandoned villa in Tuscany, she has no idea of the scale of the project she is embarking on.

In this enchanting memoir she takes the reader on a journey to restore a crumbling villa and build a new life in the Italian countryside, navigating hilarious cultural misunderstandings, legal frustrations and the challenges of renovating a house that seems determined to remain a ruin.

Filled with…

Book cover of Murder in Tuscany

Rebekah Lyn Author Of Summer Storms

From Rebekah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Lover of history Explorer Deep-thinker Kind-hearted Honest

Rebekah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Rebekah Lyn Why did Rebekah love this book?

I love Italy and a cozy mystery set in Italy sounded like the perfect thing to kick off spring.

I listened to this book on my commute and there were times I was laughing so hard, I’m sure people on the highway thought I was crazy as they passed by. The main character, Dan Armstrong, is a retired policeman with a dream of writing. He thought the chance to attend a writer’s conference in the heart of Tuscany would be a great start to his retirement.

It didn’t take long, though, for Dan to realize the conference wasn’t what he expected and there wasn’t going to be a peaceful retirement. I still smile thinking about some of the twists and turns this story takes.

By T A Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder in Tuscany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brand new cozy crime series set in gorgeous Tuscany...It's murder in paradise!

A remote retreat...

Nestled high in the Tuscan hills lies Villa Volpone, home to renowned crime writer Jonah Moore and his creative writing course. It's also the last place retired DCI Dan Armstrong expected to spend his retirement! Dan's no writer, but maybe this break will help him to think about the next chapter in his own life story?

A gruesome murder...

But only days into the course, Jonah Moore is found stabbed to death with his award-winning silver dagger! And Dan finds himself pulled out of…