Get psyched before your holiday with a great book.
“Italy and the spring and the first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” – Bertrand Russell. If philosophy defines like this the influence of Italy on the human mind, then we can imagine to what extent the famous Italian written word can inspire and motivate us to feel it on its renaissance streets.
So, whether you are planning your first time in Italy or dreaming of your next trip back, get psyched before your holiday with a great book. We tell you our five favorite texts about Italy to get you in the right mood!
The rule of shadows – Giulio Leoni
Florence, 1482. A printing house was set on fire, and both the printer and the engraver were killed. They were preparing to print “The rule of shadows”, a book describing the ritual for the resurrection of the deads that Cosimo de’ Medici had received from Leon Batista Alberti. Lorenzo the Magnificent, Cosimo’s grandson, believes that this is precisely the reason why Simonetta Vespucci, who had died six years before, was spotted at the crime scene. Was the most beautiful woman in the world able to come back from the kingdom of shadows? The solution to the mystery is hiding in Rome, where Alberti spent his last years of life.
That is why Lorenzo the Magnificent, the ruler of Florence, sends his friend Pico della Mirandola to Rome, where the young man starts investigating, only relying on his enormous thirst for knowledge and curiosity of his twenties. Trying to track down the mysterious beauty, Pico reveals that a secret plan is buried under the city walls and the ancient Roman ruins. Surprisingly, the woman who was supposedly returned from the afterlife is not alone, leading to the so-called people of shadows.
Labyrinth at the end of the world – Marcello Simoni
Naples, 1229. A bloody trail behind a mysterious knight with a fiery spear will force the envoy of the Pope, the merciless inquisitor Conrad von Marburg, to launch an investigation against the Luciferian sect dedicated to the ancient cult of the celestial bodies. At the same time, a magister medicinae banished from Paris, Suger of Pete-Pont becomes the first among those who, running away from the frightening knight, falls right into the hands of Conrad von Marburg. From here, the notorious inquisitor tightens the net around all those who are linked to the mysterious zodiacal gown.
Where there is mystery, there is also Ignazio from Toledo, an irresistible and delightful dealer of relics.
However, the Spanish trader will be accused of being the leader of the Luciferians. In order to prove his innocence, Ignazio will travel as far as Palermo, to the Court of Wonder of the Emperor Friedrick II. There, some miracles are waiting for him, but these are not the ones he hoped for.
The mysterious flame of Queen Loana – Umberto Eco
A man’s pursuit of the lost time leads us through the universal idea of the existence of another metaphysical reality.
The main character of the novel, the sixty-year-old Gianbattista Bodoni, nicknamed Yambo, wakes up with amnesia after a stroke. He still remembers perfectly the Pythagorean theorem, cites, famous works, he is aware that birds fly and have feathers, and understands what is a right hand, but he does not remember his family and his past.
Also Paola, after unsuccessfully trying to regain her own memory, goes to her grandfather’s estate in Solara, where she spent her childhood and early youth, hoping that the objects and the environment associated with that specific time of life would have woken her up from the oblivion.
A great intertwined plot and a totally unexpected ending are spiced up by the illustrations that Eco had personally collected – among which are the covers of children’s books, board covers, film posters, newspaper headlines, magazines and comics – illustrating in a scenic way the turbulent times of Mussolini’s rule in Italy.
The smell in the wine – Romualdo Miralles
The smell in the wine brings us to a dream world where he, through the strength of his emotions, relives a beautiful love story that finally broke his heart. In the pages of the book, despite the moments of hopelessness, oblivion and desired non-existence, a noble heart is pounding full of the purest feelings, reminding us that today, in a time of glorification of formal status symbols, these are easily and too often given up. If you read this novel and manage to revive some of those feelings, it means that it was worth. Perhaps, in Italy, you can find your own smell in the wine.
The master of shadows – Donato Carrisi
There is a place where the world of light meets the world of darkness. Here, anything goes over: in the land of shadows, where everything is unstable, confused and uncertain, Marcus is a guard who stands up to defend the border.
It’s been five centuries since Pope Leo X issued a mysterious epistle, according to which the Eternal City must never, ever stay in the dark, but an unprecedented storm overwhelms Rome. In the chaos and panic that followed, one shadow, the darkest of all, silently takes over the city, bringing death… and traces. Traces that only Marcus, the last confessor, can understand. However, he lost his most valuable tool: his memory. This gives the killer a huge advantage. Only Sandra Vega can help Marcus. She is the only one to know his secret and, having already gone too far, she finds herself tangled in the investigation. However, the shadow is getting closer, and the darkness is the limit beyond which only the nonsense of nothingness remains.