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5 Popular Works of Literature Set in Italy

As a global center of culture and the arts, it is no surprise that many works of literature have been set in Italy. Since we’ve previously talked about Roman landmarks captured on film, it’s now time to look at Italy as featured in famous works of literature.

  1. Rome from Angels and DemonsPiazza Navona, Rome
    Dan Brown’s popular mystery-thriller, Angels and Demons, is extensively set in the eternal city of Rome. And there’s no reason that it wouldn’t be set there. As one of the oldest cities in the world, Rome’s iconic structures have stood for more than two thousand years.Despite being constantly inhabited, most of the ruins from Ancient Rome have stayed in pristine condition. On top of that, the city is home to around 900 churches, making it an ideal place for a pilgrimage.The most famous of these churches are the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica di San Clemente, and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. This last church is adjacent to the Piazza Navona, where a tense and pivotal moment occurs in Dan Brown’s hit novel.
  2. The Sicilian Countryside from The Godfather
    Little Village Savoca, SicilyThough it’s more known as a cornerstone of American filmmaking in the 1970s, “The Godfather” was originally a novel written by Mario Puzo. In the story, protagonist Michael Corleone is forced to hide in Sicily after an act of vengeance against his father’s assassins.As depicted in the novel and in the film adaptation, Sicily is filled with rich vistas of the Mediterranean countryside. But another thing that Sicily is also famous for is its ancient ruins.The best place to visit would be the city Agrigento, from where you can experience the countryside, the Mediterranean Sea, and old Greco-Roman ruins at the Valley of Temples. Within the city are also amazing sights such as the Porta di Ponte, the Church of Santa Maria dei Greci, and the Piazza Stazione.
  3. Florence from A Room with a View
    Piazza Signoria on Wikipedia

    Piazza Signoria on Wikipedia

    Florence was the setting for parts of E.M. Forster’s 1908 novel, “A Room with a View.” Here, the main characters spend the first half of the book touring around Florence, with the Basilica of Santa Croce being featured in an early scene.

    The city is also known as one of the birthplaces of the Italian Renaissance. Hence, some of the most famous statues and works of art from that era that come to mind can be found here. They are housed in the Uffizi Gallery, adjacent to the Piazza della Signora.

    Other tourist attractions include the Piazza del Duomo, Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Ponte Vecchio, and many others.

  4. Venice from The Merchant of Venice
    Grand Canal Venice
    Of course, we can’t have a list like this without featuring the setting for one of the Bard’s most famous plays. A known Italophile, William Shakespeare would set a good amount of his plays in Italy.One of his most memorable works, The Merchant of Venice also portrayed the City as one of the first melting pots of the world. This is due to its diverse population, unique geography, and status as a trading center. And as a city of small islands, Venice is most famous for its canals. These waterways, the greatest of which is the Grand Canal, act as a distinctive means of transportation for citizens and tourists alike.Other tourist spots are the Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s Basilica, and the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which houses some of the most famous works of art in Italy.
  5. Verona from Romeo and Juliet

    Juliet's House in Verona

    Juliet’s House in Verona from Wikipedia


    We can’t end this list by including only one of Shakespeare’s famous works. Hence, fair Verona deserves a mention; it is here that one of the most iconic love stories in all of literature, Romeo and Juliet, is set.

    This has made the city a key tourist attraction. Here, people who look for the place where the star-crossed lovers met are pointed to the nearby Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet’s house. It is actually a small medieval palazzo with a balcony overlooking a courtyard.

    Meanwhile, the nearby Piazza dei Signori is surrounded by palaces, such as the Palazzo della Ragione. Some of the other popular tourist attractions in the city are near the central Piazza delle Erbe.

Many places in Italy have inspired countless works of literary art. If you’re interested in visiting them or discovering more on your own, call us now!

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By Priscila Siano (264 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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