Escape to Tuscany Today: Four Amazing Novels Set In Tuscany

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Maybe it’s the historical museums and churches in the area, or perhaps it has something to do with the local culture.  There’s just something about the Tuscan scenery that seems to inspire authors, directors, and actors.  Many of the people that search for Tuscany villas for rent were inspired to travel to the region because they saw it in the movies, viewed it on TV, or read about it in a book.  Tuscany has been depicted countless times in film and on television, but Tuscany seems to show up the most in literature.  If you want to get into a Tuscan state of mind before you head to your vacation destination, pick up a few of these reads for your plane ride.

Genre: Romance, mystery, historical fiction

The woman posing in one of Leonardo Di Vinci’s most famous paintings is one of the greatest mysteries in art history, and author Jeanne Kalogridis wanted to show a fictionalized account of the model’s possible history.  In I, Mona Lisa the infamous woman is known by the name of Madonna Lisa, and she’s living in Florence during a time where a fanatical preacher is determined to destroy paintings and books.  After Lisa’s love interest is put into danger, she must use all of her bravery and intellect to untangle the web of love, treachery, secrecy, and danger that has been weaved during a turbulent time in Florence’s history. 

Genre: Memoir, Travel

Under the Tuscan Sun seems to be required reading for anyone who wishes that they could escape to Italy’s most famous region.  Some people think that the author’s Italian experience ended once she finished her best-selling memoir, but Frances Mayes still has a lot of experiences to share.  In this sequel to Under The Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, Mayes catches her fans up on her life since she wrote her critically acclaimed novel.  You’ll read about her experiences living in a 13th century house, her adventures in the mountains of Cortona with local residents, and her appreciation of her simple yet fulfilling life.

Genre:  Non-Fiction, History

On November 4th, 1966 Florence was struck by a powerful rainstorm that managed to drop more than half of the annual rainfall total in 24 hours.  The rain brought up unprecedented amounts of mud, sewage, debris, and oil sludge that that threatened the region’s greatest works of art.  Novelist and writer Robert Clark wanted to tell a story about the brave people (affectionately known as ‘mud angels’) who traveled to the region to clean up the streets and salvage some of the most iconic art in the western world.  This novel won’t just educate you about one of the worst disasters in Florence, it’ll also explore what art means to people and how it could compel thousands of people to put their lives at risk to save it.

Genre: Mystery, thriller, suspense

The acclaimed British writer Mark Mills has weaved a haunting and engrossing tale about the lives of several generations of a family in Tuscany.  It’s 1958 and post-war Italy is still recovering from the destruction that was caused over a decade ago.  The idealistic and young scholar Adam Strickland has come to Tuscany to write a piece on the Docci family and their beautiful villa.  Strickland is surprised by the shocking beauty of the villa’s beautiful grottos and sculptures, but there’s something sinister lurking underneath the striking scenery.  After Strickland arrives he finds himself learning about two intense stories of love and revenge that happened 400 years apart from each other.  And after he starts to connect the dots, he has a terrible foreboding that this villa’s tragic legacy is far from over.

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