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Sicily Book Suggestions

Here are some suggestions for books, biographies, and travel guides should you wish to read up on Sicily, Sicilian history, and the area’s archaeology, before your trip. The books are in no particular recommended order.

UK visitors interested in purchasing these books, may click on the main title. US visitors wishing to buy, please click on ‘USA’

Sicilian Food and Wine

Sicilian food: Recipe’s from Italy’s Abundant Isle (USA) Mary Taylor-Simeti – A well-written book stuffed full of authentic, mouth-watering recipes.

Wines of Sicily (USA) Kate Singleton – A concise guide to the best wines and wineries of Sicily, replete with information about the various regions and the individuals who produce this wonderful wine.

Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons: Travels in Sicily on a Vespa (USA) Matthew Fort – A delightful food-orientated travelogue from an acclaimed UK travel writer.

Spring in Sicily (USA) Manuela Darling-Gansser – A lavish introduction to the amazing fertility of the Sicilian landscape that, in spite of the title, is relevant year-round.

Seasons of Sicily (USA) Natalia Ravida – An authoritative introduction to Sicilian food through all four seasons.

Italy for the Gourmet Traveler (USA) Fred Plotkin – this is a great book for travel planning and learning about Italy’s food, wine, and regions.

The Classical Cookbook (USA) Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger.

Ancient Sicily

History of Sicily: Ancient Sicily to the Arab Conquest (USA) Moses Finley – This book is now sadly out of print, but is still the most brilliantly written, concise and accessible book on Sicily from the arrival of man until the 9th century AD. If you see a copy, snatch it up. The 2nd edition is best, but the 1st is still better than every other book currently in print.

The Archaeology of Ancient Sicily (USA) R Ross Holloway – Awkwardly arranged, but full of fascinating insights and great photographs and drawings. Stops much earlier than Finley’s historical narrative, but covers a lot of the sites and monuments that we will be visiting.

Medieval Sicily

The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (USA) Matthew Donald – A lengthy but clear account of the Norman kingdom of Sicily.

The Sicilian Vespers (USA) Steven Runciman – A brilliant account of the Sicilian uprising against the Angevin kings, and the repercussions that this act had across the Mediterranean.

Modern Sicily

A History of Sicily: Modern Sicily after 1713 (USA) D. Mack Smith – A highly readable trip through a period of history that has not attracted many English language publications.

Princes under the Volcano (USA) Raleigh Travelyan – A fascinating investigation of the lives of a group of English merchants who dominated the artistic and social life of Sicily in the 19th century.

Sicily General

Palaces of Sicily (USA) Angheli Zalapi – A sumptuous look at some of the most spectacular homes in Sicily, many of which are not open to the public.

Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia (USA) John Dickie – The best of many recent books on the Sicilian mafia: its origins and its position in contemporary society.

Sicily Guide books

Blue Guide Sicily Ellen Grady – Edited and revised in 2012 by Michael Metcalfe, the guide on this tour and our Italy specialist, this is the best archaeological and cultural guide to the island currently in print.

Landscapes of Sicily, a Countryside Guide IN (USA) Peter Amann – The best walking guide to the island.

The Rough Guide to Sicily (USA) Jules Brown and Robert Andrews – A great all-round guide to the island, with good restaurant and hotel recommendations and concise descriptions of the most important sites.

Syracuse, City of Legends: A Glory of Sicily (USA) Jeremy Dummett – An extremely accessible introduction to this picturesque and historically fascinating city, which is one of the greatest highlights of our tours. Jeremy has been steeped in the history of this city for many years, and his knowledge shines through on every page.

Sicily Novels

The Leopard (USA) Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – A spectacularly rich description of aristocratic life in Sicily at the time of Garibaldi’s campaign. A classic.

Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories (USA) Giovanni Verga – A shocking and brilliantly written look at the lives, loves, preoccupations and deaths of Sicilian peasants at the end of the 19th century.

The Terracotta Dog (USA) Andrea Camilleri – The first, and arguably the best, Inspector Montalbano mystery.


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