The list author says: "While living in Italy for four years, we made a real effort to "Figure Italy Out", and in so doing, made our way through a LOT of books (we even wrote a few too!). This list offers some of our favorite books, the ones that we continue to grab off the shelf to reference again and again. These books allowed us better understand our favorite sites and gave us a foundation for building a new way to think about them. In our opinion, although a few selections might be a little dry for some tastes (most selections are non-fiction, academically-oriented and lack a discussion of modern-day Italy), the books on this list serve as a foundation to grasp the major themes in Italian history/politics, art/architecture, and food/wine. Overall, we focus on books that provide a thematic framework, thereby enabling us to better appreciate how things fit into the bigger picture. Enjoy! David www.approachguides.com"