Reading for the Road: Books About Tuscany

At The Slow Road we answer to many names (wanderers, bon vivants, students of life) but first and foremost, we’re a group of dedicated travellers.

That’s why we love compiling reading lists that include those books—from novels to memoirs, and everything in between—that have really opened up our favourite regions.

In this post, we’ll round up a few of our favourite books about Tuscany, where Shelley, Stendhal and Twain all travelled to behold the astonishing light and breathtaking views and learn the secrets of a life well-lived.

Must-Read Books About Tuscany

Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life

By Frances Mayes

Twenty years later, the writer of Under the Tuscan Sun is still besotted by Italy: her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food—all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.

Learn more on Amazon >> 

A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany

By Beth Elon

A Tuscany resident for 30 years, Elon presents 100 recipes from a hand-picked selection of favourite restaurants in this charming cookbook and travel guide. With 10 itineraries highlighting largely undiscovered regions of Tuscany, restaurants, trattorie, shops, wineries, olive oil producers, markets and food festivals.

Learn more on Amazon >>

Not in a Tuscan Villa 

By John and Nancy Petralla 

What happens if you decide to make a dream come true? Newly retired and looking for more than a vacation, John and Nancy Petralia intrepidly pack a few suitcases and head to the “perfect” Italian city. Part memoir, part commentary, quirky and sincere, Not in a Tuscan Villa is about having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and do something challenging in later life.

Learn more on Amazon >>

A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure

By Marlena de Blasi 

They had met and married on perilously short acquaintance, she an American chef and food writer, he a Venetian banker. Now they were taking another audacious leap, unstitching their ties with exquisite Venice to live in a roughly renovated stable in Tuscany. A Thousand Days in Tuscany is set in one of the most beautiful places on earth–and tucked into its fragrant corners are luscious recipes (including one for the only true bruschetta) directly from the author’s private collection.

Learn more on Amazon >>

A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover’s Dream

By Ferenc Máté

In the hill town of Montalcino, two adventurers begin a new life together and discover the rare combination of joy and success ad they plant fifteen acres of vines, build a winery, excavate an Etruscan village, and battle volcanic fermenting vats, while learning from famous vintner neighbour Angelo Gaja the secrets of growing the best grapes and making superb, award-winning wine.

Learn more on Amazon >>

The Agony and the Ecstasy

By Irving Stone

Creator of the David, painter of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, architect of the dome of St. Peter’s, Michelangelo lives once more in the tempestuous, powerful pages of Irving Stone’s towering triumph. In this classic, #1 New York Times bestselling biographical novel of Michelangelo, both the artist and the man are brought to vivid, captivating life.

Learn more on Amazon >> 

War in Val D’Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

By Iris Origo

A classic of World War II, here in its first American edition. War in Val d’Orcia is Iris Origo’s elegantly simple chronicle of daily life at La Foce, a manor in a Tuscan no-man’s land bracketed by foreign invasion and civil war.

Learn more on Amazon >>

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