Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

Main Page This family-friendly site celebrates Italian culture for the enjoyment of children and adults. Site-Overview



Books and Literature, Books Set in Italy, and more


Children's Non-Fiction






My Two New Italophile Sites

Italophile Book Reviews offers personal views on many books that might interest lovers of Italy.  Authors and Publishers:  I review books set in Italy, or about Italy and Italian culture, or about hyphenated Italian culture.  My site is family-friendly. Indie (Self) published books, and small publishing houses are welcome.  Contact:   info @

Italophile Books is an linked shop that has only products Italophiles are sure to love.  Shop with no distractions!  You can click through to the full site at any time, keeping your shopping cart.  Checkout is through's usual secure system.



Italian classics on-line to read or download this link is to all the books they have in Italian

And also from the Biblioteca dei Classici Italiani

Internet Book Store Italia's top 100 Bestselling Books in Italy List


Click here or on the image above to go to my page about Boccaccio and his famous 'Decameron'.



Click here or on the image above to go to my page about Machiavelli and his work as a political scientist and historian.  



If philosophy is more your style, try my page about Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and  his Meditations.



Click here or on the image above to go to my page about Petrarch and his sonnets to Laura.  



E. M. Forster's novella 'A Room With a View' was the basis for a wonderful film, an Italophile favorite, of the same name.  Click on the image from the film above, or here, to read the novella on-line on my site, or to download a free e-book version, and to see lots of wonderful rooms with views!



The perfect companions of a book... Click on the image above to visit the Internet Bookstore Italia's top 20 list of books sold in Italy each week.  You can then click on a book to read more about it, in Italian.



Click here or on the book image above to read about the top writers in Italy today.



Dante Alighieri with his Divine Comedy.  



Dante from the Nicolino Edition 1564



Click here, or on the image of Mercedes Chiti above, to read some of her award-winning modern Italian poetry, with English translations.



Short Stories - Dual Language Collections





For fans of Indie E-books


Enter keywords in the Smashwords search bar, followed by a comma (for example:  mystery, ancient rome, fiction,) to locate the books that interest you.  The books are available in various e-book formats for immediate download.  And there are over 30,000 free e-books!




Italian Literature


Books In or About Italy

Top Italian Writers Today

Dante and his Divine Comedy


Audio Books in Italian

Genres and Italy

Short Stories - Dual Language Books


Italian Literature

A well-bred Italian woman explained to me once that Italians were horrified when Encyclopedia Britannica came out with their first version in Italian.  There were no entries for many of the classic Italian writers such as Sciascia, Foscolo, or Svevo! 

Actually, I'd never heard of them before that moment, but I did not want to upset the woman any further, so I nodded in silent agreement that the English were arrogant and stupid about great literature. 

The Britannica quickly corrected their mistake, and I quickly read up on Italian literature.  

If you want to read up on Italian literature, click here or on the librarian with the book cart, to the right, to access the Voice of the Shuttle site that can link you to classics in Italian or their English translations.  

Or try Project Gutenberg to read Italian classics on-line in Italian, or download them as simple text files.

And the Biblioteca dei classici italiani has online Italian texts of the greatest in Italian literature. 

I provide some direct links to Italian classics in English at Amazon at the bottom of this page. You can also search here for Italian literature at  Just enter 'Books' in the 'Search' field, and the name of the author or title in the 'Keywords' field.  Then click on the 'Go' button to see the list.

Amazon Logo


Libraries in Italy

I enjoy reading, especially histories and mysteries, but books are expensive in Italy!  When I asked Italian friends where I could find the nearest lending library, they first asked what I was talking about, and then laughed at my ignorance of the Italian character.  

They explained that a library like that would be out of books in a week!  "An Italian would never return the book he borrowed," they said with great pride.  

So I left it at that, and joined the British Council's Library in Florence and read to my heart's content.  At last look, however, it seems it's closed down.  A great pity for Italians and English-speakers alike!  


Books In or About Italy

If you enjoy mysteries set in Italy, click on the detective, to the right, to visit my Mysteries Set in Italy page.  

If you enjoy mysteries set in Ancient Rome, I've collected together a page featuring some of the popular series and their authors.  Click here or on the green book, to the right, to visit my Mysteries in Ancient Rome page. 

Historical novels set in Italy include Roman Warfare, the Renaissance, World War II, and novels featuring famous works of Italian art.  Check out my Historical Novels set in Italy page for a few you might like.

I've a page with some selections of children's books for various ages, two CDs to introduce them to opera, and Italian Paper Dolls.

Click here for my page on Thrillers Set in Italy.  This page has features espionage and suspense books set partly or mainly in Italy.

Italophiles generally love all books set in Italy.  A perennial favorite is E. M. Forster's A Room With A View.  It was adapted into an award-winning film that won over fans who had never read the novella.  If you'd like to read the novella, on-line, or on your computer in the form of an electronic book (e-book), click here to go to my Room With A View page. 

For those wanting more romance and less literature, I've put together a page of popular romances set in Italy, both historical and contemporary.  Lots of good bargains on this page due to the large number of romances printed and sold, especially if you buy used copies (as low as one cent!).

For those who prefer non-fiction books about Italy, I've a page featuring some non-fiction books in four categories:  personal experiences, history of Italy, cookbooks, and calendars.


Top Italian Writers Today

Don't believe that all of Italy's great writers lived in the past!  Italy still produces intriguing and wonderful writers.  You can peruse the Italian bestseller list on the Internet Bookstore Italia site, if you'd like to get an idea of who's who. 

And I've put together a page of some of the writers who've been on the bestseller lists constantly for the past few years with various books.  Click here to visit my Top Italian Writers Today page.


Dante and his Divine Comedy

Third in the hearts of Italians is the poet Dante, after God and Mother, but actually, not necessarily in that order.  

An Italian once asked me if I'd studied Dante and his Divine Comedy at University. 

I answered, yes.  

Then he asked if I thought I understood the Commedia

I answered his question by first explaining that I had sat through a lecture by a professor who explained that he had a masters degree in ancient literature and religions when he went to Italy as part of his PhD project, then learned the Italian language fluently, and then studied the original text of the Commedia for seven years.  

He said even he could not say in all honesty that he understood the Commedia.  So there was no way he could teach us anything in the hour and an half allotted him.  He did nothing but repeat this for the hour and an half, each time with more emphasis. 

Then I told the Italian that, no, I did not understand the Commedia

It seems that was the right answer, because he then asked me out on a date.  

He told me later that he asked all foreign women that question because he refused to date anyone who did not understand that it was impossible to understand Dante or the Commedia.  

Strange guy; we only went out once.

But if you want to not understand Dante and his Divine Comedy, and enjoy reading his beautiful Italian, and relish his descriptions of sinners wallowing in Hell...visit my Dante page which has the Longfellow English translation side-by-side the original Italian.  Give the page a moment to load; it has a lot of text, but it's worth it. 

I've included some scary illustrations by the artist Gustave Dore, and there are also quick links to the various sections, next to brief descriptions of what the section contains.

If you would like a summary of the work, and an attempt at an explanation (useless of course because, remember, you will never understand it!), visit the Novel Guide Summary.  There's lots of information at the site, including a biography of Dante (use the menu items in the site's left column).

For some wonderful color images of paintings in an early edition of the Divine Comedy, the Bodleian Library at Oxford has them on-line:  Inferno, Pergatorio, Paradiso.  And there is this online exhibit of Renaissance editions.



For those of you interested in poetry, I have a growing list of site pages for you, and a few links.


Audio Books in Italian

The market for audio books (audio-libri, talking-books) in Italy is not developed to the stage it is in English-speaking countries.  

At present, audio books are available for the sight-impaired, and there are a few suppliers to the general market offering a few titles.  

The titles on offer are generally for books out of copyright protection, meaning classics.  They are usually offered for download as MP3 files, and sometimes available on CD-ROM and shipped worldwide, for a hefty price.

Here are the suppliers I've found to-date:

  • Recitar Leggendo - Claudio Carini offers an assortment of Italian literature's best and brightest, from Ariosto to Verga, with Boccaccio, Calvino and Dante in between.


Genres and Italy

I have pages dedicated to various genre of books set in or having to do with Italy, so why not pick your favorite and browse a bit:


Mysteries set in Ancient Rome

Historical Novels


Children's Books and CDs

Romance Novels

Non-Fiction (Memoirs, Cooking, History, Calendars)

Bestselling Italian Writers

Short Stories by Italians in Dual-Language Editions

Free Italy-Related E-Books