It’s no wonder that Italy has proven to be a popular destination for writers the world over, and an inspiration to millions. Its rich history, its beautiful locales, its reputation for food and wine and romance… really, for a lover of love, Italy has it all.
Readers have never been short of romantic stories set in the country either. If you’re seeking a literary escape this winter, we’ve chosen eight Italy-set romance novels to inspire you.
One Hot Italian Summer
After the death of her best friend and writing partner, Grace Harper is struggling with everything in her life. Her grief is all-consuming, her loneliness smothering, and her next novel, her first as a solo author, unfinished. Her agent has an idea: let Grace stay at her villa in Tuscany for a month, unwind in the sunshine, and recharge her batteries.
It seems like an ideal escape but then Claudio Romano shows up one day with his ten-year old son, Vanni, in tow. Claudio, it turns out, is her agent's ex-husband and this is technically his villa. He's not going anywhere but neither is Grace. So, the three of them are now sharing the house over the summer. Claudio is unlike any man she's ever met but he's 100% off-limits. Perhaps what happens in Tuscany stays in Tuscany?
Our Italian Summer
The three generations of Ferrari women are wildly different from one another yet bound together by their broken hearts. Francesca is a workaholic who struggles to find time with her daughter. Allegra has fallen in with a bad crowd and gotten arrested for drug possession, sending her mother into a tizzy.
Sophia is keen to bring her whole family together and coaxes Francesca and Allegra into an epic summer vacation so that they can trace their Italian roots. They travel from Rome to Assisi to Tuscany and find out so much about their past, present, and maybe even their futures.
Under a Sardinian Sky
Mina, a London-based travel writer, is desperate to uncover the secrets that have plagued her family for generations. One particular case has become a personal obsession. Her aunt Carmela disappeared from her Italian hometown long ago, and now that Mina's mother is battling cancer, it's time to find out the truth for everyone's sake.
In 1952, Carmela Chirigoni, a farmer's daughter and talented seamstress, is engaged to Franco, son of the area's wealthiest family. But she has doubts. Franco is possessive and Captain Joe Kavanagh, an American officer stationed at the local army base, has piqued her interest. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together would destroy their families. Mina needs to know what happened next.
A Lady Never Lies
Alexandra, Lady Morley, an alluring widow with some inconvenient financial troubles, is on holiday in Rome to escape her creditors. A change of scenery and some distance from her problems could be exactly what she needs to figure out a genius plan to reverse her troubles.
She soon finds herself distracted by the arrival of Phineas "Finn" Burke, a brilliant inventor with a shocking past who is working on developing a horseless carriage. He's instantly smitten with Alexandra, but she's an independent woman who wants to run her own life. Is she willing to sacrifice it all to be with a man who adores her?
Dreaming of Rome
Jo is sick of men and all of their romantic troubles. After an especially painful break-up, she decides that she's done with love and will focus her attention on her career instead. On a professional trip to Rome, she meets Corrado, a scientist and her brother-in-law to be.
For him, love is a biological quirk, and nothing more, so why should he believe in all-consuming romances and happy-ever-afters? Jo gets that, although Corrado is so gorgeous and intelligent and sweet that she cannot help but find herself falling for his charms. Rome is a city where magic happens but can two people who have sworn off love come together?
Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello
When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her high-flying city job in London, she feels she's earned the right to take a holiday and escape from her troubles. So, she jumps on a plane to Tuscany and finds herself staying at the Villa Limoncello.
But Italy also holds a lot of memories for her, both good and bad, and it doesn't take long for her past to catch up. Add on top of that some meddling locals, a gorgeous and infuriating chef, and planning the wedding of the century, and Izzy certainly has the distraction she craved. Soon, it could be so much more.
Related: These 13 Vacation Romance Books Are the Perfect Escape
A Place in the Sun
Georgie Archibald is sick of her meddling mother trying to set her up with any vaguely eligible gentleman in a five-mile radius, so she decides to flee the country and take refuge in Italy. She finds her dream destination in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, where she plans to lie low, eat gelato, drink wine, and not think about men.
And then she wakes up in the bed of Gianluca, the most astoundingly gorgeous man she's ever met. He's not here for a fairy-tale romance, but neither is Georgie. She just cannot help but be intrigued by this mysterious man who makes her tick. They could both use a few steamy nights together, no strings attached, but sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.
The Lemon Tree Hotel
In the beautiful village of Vernazza, the Mazzone family have transformed an old convent overlooking the glamorous Italian Riviera into the elegant Lemon Tree Hotel. It's the perfect destination for sun, sea, and escaping the real world. For Chiara, her daughter Elene and her granddaughter Isabella, the hotel is their life and running it is what keeps them going.
One day, two unexpected guests check in. The first, Dante, is a face from Chiara's past, while the other is a mysterious young man who seems to know a lot about the history of the old convent and the people who live there. Both arrivals could reveal so much more about the hotel, its owners, and secrets they're not ready to confront.