Here are some suggestions for books, biographies, and travel guides should you wish to read up on the history, archaeology, cuisine and culture of Italy, especially regarding the Amalfi coast and Bay of Naples before your trip.
UK visitors interested in purchasing these books, may click on the main title. US visitors wishing to buy, please click on ‘USA’
Ancient History and Archaeology
History of Rome (USA) Marcel Le Glay, Jean-Louis Voisin, Yann Le Bohec, David Cherry, Donald G. Kyle (4th edition) It’s difficult to write a single authoritative book covering such a long period, but the authors have done a great job with this good introduction to the historical forces that shaped the ancient history and archaeology of this region.
Principles of Roman Architecture (USA) Mark Wilson Jones – is an accessible and up-to-date introduction to the subject.
The Romans on the Bay of Naples: An Archaeological Guide (USA) Lawrence Keppie – is a reliable guide to the Roman archaeological remains, both large and small of the area we will be sailing through.
Pompeii (USA) Mary Beard’s recent book on draws on all the available evidence to tell a highly enjoyable and iconoclastic history of this famous city.
Modern History and Culture
History of Italy (USA) Claudia Baldoli – is an innovative and readable approach to the culture and history of Italy from the Middle Ages to the present day.
A Traveller’s History of Italy (USA) is a fast-paced ride through the history of Italy from prehistoric times to now. A great book for someone wanting to gain a basic grasp of Italian history through the ages.
Neapolitan food (USA) Arturo Iengo’s sumptuous descriptions will whet your appetite for the culinary delights we have in store for you. Great recipes, superbly illustrated.
Italian Volcanoes (USA) is a good introduction to this geological phenomenon that will help make sense of the enormous brooding mass of Vesuvius that dominates the horizon for so much of our journey.
The Blue Guide to Southern Italy is the best culture-orientated guidebook to this region, and the sections on the Amalfi Coast and Bay of Naples, although short, are packed with interesting information.
The Rough Guide to Naples and the Amalfi Coast (USA) is a good, dependable guide to the region.
Frommer’s Amalfi Coast with Naples, Capri and Pompeii (USA) is a great up-to-date guide to most of the region we will be covering.
My Amalfi Coast (USA) Amanda Tabberer – is a sumptuously illustrated memoir of life on the Amalfi Coast.
Pompeii (USA) Robert Harris – is a rightly acknowledged classic among historical novels.
South Wind (USA) Norman Douglas – Published in 1917 Douglas delivers a hedonistic journey through the lives of Capri’s inhabitants. A classic of gentle satire.
The Volcano Lover: A Romance (USA) Susan Sontag – Based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton and his celebrated wife Emma; an unconventional, quirky and wide-ranging historical romance.