Pinterest Hidden Image

Ciao! Discover the best books set in Florence, Italy here. The list includes old classics and new favorites for both young adults and adults, all of which pay homage to the city’s history and culture. You’ll instantly transport your mind to the hub of the Renaissance, so let’s get literary!

STACK OF BOOKS IN FRONT OF THE UFFIZI GALLERY IN FLORENCE ITALY.

Quick List of the Best Books Set in Florence, Italy

BEST FLORENCE BOOKS

Check out more of the best books set in Italy and my travel guide to Florence for book lovers.

Non-Fiction Books Set in Florence: Top-Rated Memoirs

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

The emotional memoir From Scratch is about a Black American actress who meets an Italian chef while studying abroad in Florence. After he dies at a young age (not a spoiler), she returns to Italy to mend strained relationships with his disapproving family.

It’s one of the most beautifully written, memorable, and unputdownable memoirs I’ve read. You’re bound to shed tears as you walk through this unique family’s grief journey alongside them in Italy.

Because food is such a big part of the couple’s story, it also really transports you to Florence and other parts of Italy. Lastly, the Netflix adaptation is also fantastic!


Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

  • #1 New York Times bestseller

The self-discovery memoir Under the Tuscan Sun is one of the most popular contemporary books set in Florence. It’s about a travel writer who moves to the lands surrounding Florence to restore an abandoned villa.

In the process, she takes chances and explores the tastes and culture of the Florentine region, which forever changes her.

It’s popular for a reason, as it takes you on the most heartwarming Italian adventure. The movie adaptation is a must, especially before traveling to the area.

Fiction Books Set in Florence: Romance, Mystery, and Historical Fiction

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The Birth of Venus follows a young woman in Renaissance Florence who defies societal norms to pursue her passion for art. Amid political turmoil and personal strife, she navigates everything from love and betrayal to self-discovery. The novel explores themes of art, gender, and the conflict between tradition and change.

It’s a powerful and dramatic historical fiction read that’s completely filled with Florence references.


The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Written in the early 14th century, The Divine Comedy takes readers on a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, guided by the poet Virgil and Dante’s beloved Beatrice. This epic poem explores themes of redemption, divine justice, and the human desire for enlightenment.

Alighieri was a native of Florence, so its politics, culture, and history significantly influenced the poem.

It’s probably the most famous of all these titles, but it can be challenging to read due to its old Italian language and poetic structure. That being said, modern translations and annotations can make it easy to read and well worth it, given its historical and cultural significance.

It pairs well with Inferno by Dan Brown.


Inferno by Dan Brown

  • #1 worldwide bestseller

Inferno begins when Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in a Florence hospital. He cannot recall the events of the past day, let alone the origin of the mysterious object hidden in his belongings.

He and his doctor are forced to quickly flee after narrowly escaping a female assassin. Then, they embark on a fast-paced journey through Florence. They must unravel a series of codes left by a scientist obsessed with the end of the world and one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno

This popular book satisfyingly combines suspense with classical Italian culture, and the movie is just as good. It’s an especially great watch if you want to see the most popular sights of Florence. It pairs well with The Divine Comedy.


The Light in the Piazza by Elizabeth Spencer

The Light in the Piazza follows an American tourist and her daughter as they travel through Italy. The daughter falls in love with a charming Italian, but her secret hardship complicates their romance.

It explores themes of love, vulnerability, and the tension between protection and independence.

This popular story was adapted into film as well as a successful Broadway musical that won six Tony Awards.


Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

  • New York Times bestseller

Love and Gelato follows a teenage girl on a summer adventure to Florence. Pursuing her mother’s dying wish, she tries to find her father, and upon discovering her mother’s journal, she learns a life-changing secret.

It’s filled with romance, mystery, and a cute Italian suitor. This young adult novel is also a charming read for adults. However, the Netflix adaptation did not do this fun book justice, so read it and skip watching it!


The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

  • New York Times bestseller
  • Women’s Prize for Fiction Finalist
  • Reese’s Book Club pick

The Marriage Portrait follows Lucrezia de’ Medici, a young Renaissance noblewoman as she grapples with the expectations of a politically driven marriage, torn between desire and duty. It explores themes of identity, power, and resilience against the backdrop of historical Florence.

O’Farrell is an exceptionally gifted writer, so this book is not to be missed for fans of literary fiction, women’s stories, and/or Reese’s Book Club.


Romola by George Eliot

Romola is set in Renaissance Florence, and it follows the life of the intelligent and idealistic Romola, who faces personal and political challenges in a society dominated by men. The novel explores themes of love, betrayal, morality, and the pursuit of knowledge.

It’s a long book that offers a challenge for readers, but it’s worth trying for fans of Middlemarch and other classic historical fiction. Readers should also take note of the significance that George Eliot is actually the pen name of a female writer.


A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

A Room with a View is a classic romance novel on the Rory Gilmore book list and The Office’s Finer Things Club book list.

A naive young woman travels to Florence and, after exploring its culture and fainting in the arms of a young man there, returns to England. There, she must decide between a life of convention and a life of passion.

It’s one of those books that anyone interested in Florence needs to read. It makes a statement about the time period in which it’s set, and it’s also an easy and short classic book to read.

If you prefer a more modern re-telling, though, check out Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan.


Frequently Asked Questions

What novel takes place in Florence?

One novel that takes place in Florence is A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. The story follows a young Englishwoman’s journey of self-discovery while visiting Florence, exploring themes of love, class, and societal expectations.

Is Romeo and Juliet in Florence?

No. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is set in Verona, Italy.

Where in Florence does Still Life by Sarah Winman take place?

Still Life takes place in Florence, Italy, with significant portions of the story set in the Tuscan countryside. It explores the lives of characters deeply connected to the area.

Where does the book One Italian Summer take place?

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle takes place on the Positano Coast of Italy.

Conclusion

The best books set in Florence, Italy, pay homage to its culture and history. Additionally, many of these books show the tension between desire and art and tradition and duty.

TOP 3 PICKS

Save This Post Form

Save This Post!

Email yourself a link to this post so you can come back to it later.

By saving, you agree to receive email updates. Unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Comment or Question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *