Italy is a popular tourist destination that’s been inspiring people for centuries. It has been featured in many films and television shows and used as a setting for many best-selling novels. In this post, we’ll cover some of our favourite books set in Italy that thrillers and mystery lovers will enjoy.
Italy’s history, culture, food and stunning landscapes create an alluring backdrop for many books. From romantic tales, war-inspired intrigues and historical fiction to the dark underworld of murder and the Mafia, there is no shortage of literary fiction and non-fiction set in Italy.
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Books set in Italy
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite thriller and mystery books. It’s important to note that some authors have published several books set in Italy. Instead of listing them all, we’ve selected the ones we enjoyed most.
Angels and Demons
Robert Langdon, world-renowned iconology professor, is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol branded on a murdered physicist’s chest. It’s an ancient symbol of the secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati, bent on destroying the Catholic Church.
With the help of the dead physicist’s daughter, a mysterious Italian scientist Vittoria, Langdon must go to the Vatican City to prevent an unstoppable time bomb from going as the conclave to elect a new pope has just begun. Their frantic hunt through ancient crypts, catacombs and deserted cathedrals follows a 400-year old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome.
Angels and Demons is a page-turning thriller by Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Code.
The House by The Sea by Louise Douglas
When her former mother-in-law, Anna DeLuca, dies, Edie and her ex-husband Joe inherit an abandoned villa in Sicily. Edie, who blames Anna for a tragedy that destroyed their lives over a decade ago, isn’t thrilled to reunite with her ex and sees the move as Anna’s meddling attempt to bring them together.
Edie and Joe are eager to settle matters with the house and return to their lives. As Anna’s secrets start to unravel, it becomes clear that someone else also wants them gone. The experience forces them to face the past and who they used to be before they can move on.
The House by The Sea by Louise Douglas is a tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and mysteries that hide in every family history, set in a dreamy setting on the island of Sicily.
The Dark Angel
When a former colleague, an Italian archaeologist Angelo Morelli, contacts Dr. Ruth Galloway asking her for help, she jumps at the opportunity to travel to the sleepy medieval town in Italy. Ruth, a forensic archaeologist, is looking forward to helping him identify the old bones and decided to make this a working holiday. She brings along her daughter Kate, unaware of dangers lurking around them.
As Ruth and the crew work on the dig, everything becomes chaotic, and pretty soon, there is a murder. Old secrets don’t always stay buried, no matter how hard some try to keep them that way. Even in picturesque little Italian towns with long histories and murky pasts.
Dark Angel is the 10th installment in the Ruth Galloway novels and offers an escape to the Italian countryside.
During the annual acqua alta, an event during which the tides from the Adriatic ocean flow into Venice, flooding the city and causing hazardous conditions, an American archeologist, Brett, is viciously attacked in her apartment. The assailants warned her against meeting with the director of one of Venice’s famous art museums.
Local detective Commissario Guido Brunetti learns of his friend’s attack and is eventually assigned to investigate. When the dead body of the museum director is found days later, Brunetti realizes the two cases are connected. Now he must call in all the favours at various government agencies to figure out what’s going on and why.
Acqua Alta is Donna Leon’s fifth Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery, set in beautiful Venice.
Ashes to Ashes, Diamonds to Dust
Carla Romano comes to Venice to scatter her best friend’s ashes in the Grand Canal as she wished. The place has a special significance for both women. Things quickly spiral out of control, and Carla soon finds a slew of bad guys on her trail. To complicate things further, Carla finds herself in the centre of a search for missing diamonds.
She meets the challenges thrown at her with a sense of humour as she tries to determine if she can trust anyone to complete her mission. With bad guys and various colourful characters around her, Carla must figure out the truth with the clock ticking.
Ashes to Ashes, Diamonds to Dust by Pamela Allegretto is a fun and fast-paced mystery and a romp through the streets of Venice.
A Quiet Death in Italy
Daniel Leicester is a British PI who moves to Italy with his daughter after the death of his wife. He lives with his wife’s family and works with his father-in-law, a former chief of police, and brother-in-law at the family-owned Faidate Investigations agency.
When the body of radical political activist, Paulo Solitudine, is found in Bologna’s underground canal system, many locals suspect he was killed by police. When Leicester gets a call from the dead man’s lover, he finds himself following a murky trail of radicalism, betrayal and corruption that started in the 1970s and continues in the heart of the present-day political establishment.
A Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin will transport you to Bologna, the less travelled ancient and mysterious Italian city.
Murder in Chianti
A former NYPD homicide detective, Nico Doyle, moves to his late wife’s hometown of Gravigna in the region of Chianti. As he mourns for his wife and tries to find peace, he finds solace in her family and cooking at the family-owned restaurant. One morning, after hearing a gunshot, he comes across a dead body near his house in the woods.
Although he wants nothing to do with the murder, Nico gets pulled into the investigation by the lead investigator, Salvatore Perillo. The murdered man had ties to the village and the past. His death brings out old rumours and long her secrets. Nico must dig up all the secrets of all that knew the victim, including his in-laws.
Murder in Chianti by Camilla Trinchieri will make you long for Italian food and the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Final words on books set in Italy
We hope you enjoyed our selection of books set in Italy – mystery and thriller edition. As we find more great reads in this genre, we’ll add them to our list. Keep checking back to see what other books we’ve added to this list.
What are some of your favourites not listed here? Let us know.