We are always on the alert for beautiful new book covers and were particularly taken with the hardback of Lucy Diamond's next novel, One Night in Italy, due out in April (kindle edition in June). With swirly pasta shapes, a bottle of vino and a bowl of spaghetti, it certainly looks deliciously tempting, which got us thinking about other books based in Italy. Got five minutes to spare for a quick literary trip? Good. Here are our top ten books that allow you to disappear into the delicious cuisine, culture and sun-baked landscapes of bella, bella Italy. Ciao!
1. One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond – Anna, Catherine and Sophie meet at an Italian evening class. Anna has recently found out her mystery father is Italian. Sophie has had to leave Italy to return home when her father had a heart attack. Catherine's husband has left her for another woman. So she starts over with an Italian evening class and some new friends.
2. The Perfect Lie by Emily Barr – Lucy has been keeping a secret from her boyfriend and friends. When it finally catches up with her, it is time to disappear – to Venice. But, when she arrives, she finds the secret has got there first...
3. Gardens of Delight by Erica James – Both Gardens of Delight and Summer at the Lake are based around Lake Como in Italy. Gardens of Delight is a holiday for gardening enthusiasts in the Lake Como area of Italy. They are there for a peaceful way of life, but with relationships and romance, peace is the last thing they'll get.
4. Evening Class by Maeve Binchy – In typical Maeve Binchy style, a collection of people are brought together as students of an Italian evening class. The teacher, Signora, followed the man she loved to Italy, prepared to live there as his mistress. When he dies, she returns to Ireland.
5. Recipe for Love by Sasha Wagstaff – Cassia, writer for a magazine and planning her wedding, is suddenly granted an interview with the very private chef, Rocco Disanti. She drops everything, including her wedding planning and flies over to Italy to spend time with Rocco...
6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – Not wanting her current life anymore, Elizabeth decides to go on a journey in search of pleasure, devotion and balance. She travels to Rome, India and Bali.
7. Other People's Secrets by Louise Candlish – Ginny and Adam travel to Lake Orta in Italy to recover from a personal tragedy. Then the Sale family arrive at the main villa and their silence is broken...
8. The Perfect Location by Kate Forster – Three glamorous actresses come together on set in the Italian hills. A book full of passions, addictions, lovers and secrets.
9. The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella – Set in Naples during the Second World War, young James is sent to dissuade the Allied soldiers from marrying their beautiful Italian girlfriends.
10. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje – Four people are brought together in an Italian villa during the Second World War. One of whom is an unrecognisably burned Englishman.
How many of these have you read? Have you ever been encouraged to visit a country after reading about it in a novel?