Where are you hiding, Umberto Eco?

Much as I’m currently enjoying my foray into Nordic Noir, I’m starting to think ahead and plan my reading for the next few months. I’ll be heading off to a family wedding in Italy in June which is exciting, and I’m intending to have consumed a good stack of novels set in Italy before I go. I love hanging out in a place through reading before I set off in real life, as the feel for a place you get through the experiences of a character is so much more evocative than the impressions any guide book can give.

As I’ve challenged myself not to buy any new books this year, I suspected that I’d struggle to dig out enough books set in Italy from my collection, but as I’ve always got the library to fall back on, it shouldn’t be impossible. However, when I started scanning my shelves, I found quite a haul. Of this little hoard, I’ll definitely read both of the Ferrantes, and at least one Calvino. I’ll also prioritise Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma as it is set at Lake Como, where the wedding will take place. I’ve read so many good things about The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa that I’d also like to read that if I get the chance.

I’m also tempted to revisit Forster’s A Room with A View and both the Umberto Eco novels as I thoroughly enjoyed all of them when I first read them years ago. For some reason I couldn’t find The Name of The Rose for ages. Even though I was pretty certain it had a white spine, it seemed to have vanished. Eventually I found it hidden behind a framed photograph, nestled between Tom Wolfe and Thackeray. I wonder what they talk about when the household is asleep!


While I’ve already got a nice bundle to be getting on with, I’d love some recommendations of fabulous Italian ‘must reads’ that you’ve loved, or that have moved you, so that when I head off to the library,  I’ll have the perfect book list to prepare me for my Italian extravaganza!