Southern Italian Book Series: Sicily

In Etna's Shadow by Karen Landes

For the second installment of our Southern Italy Books Series we’re off to Sicily – that island off the toe of the Italian boot that has been captivating travelers since ancient times. Our list of books about or set in Sicily are seeped in the mystery, vibrancy and spice that make the Sicilian culture so very distinctive.

If you’re looking for a good book about Sicily, this list has a great variety of books to choose from. There are sweet travel memoirs, thrillers, Italian classics and plenty of tempting cookbooks. For mystery fans, many of the works by Sicilian author Andrea Camilleri in his popular Inspector Montalbano series have been translated to English. We hope these books inspire you to discover Sicily on your next trip to southern Italy!

Travel Writing about Sicily

That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story by Marlena de Blasi

Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons: Travels in Sicily on a Vespa  by Matthew Fort

In Sicily by Norman Lewis

The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily by Theresa Maggio

A House in Sicily by Daphne Phelps

Casa Nostra: A Home in Sicily by Caroline Seller Manzo

Sicily, It’s Not Quite Tuscany by Shamus Sillar

On Persephone’s Island: A Sicilian Journal by Mary Taylor Simeti


Fiction Set in Sicily

The Inspector Montalbano Mystery Series by Andrea Camilleri

Sicilian Dreams by J.P. Kennedy

The Savage Heart of Palermo by Daniel Kenyon

The Leopard: A Novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Silent Duchess by Dacia Maraini

Only Sale Remains by Meryl McQueen

The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia

To Each His Own by Leonardo Sciascia


Non-Fiction and Cookbooks About Sicily

The Day of the Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson

Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History by Sandra Benjamin

Spring in Sicily: Food from an Ancient Island by Manuela Darling-Gansser  and Simon Griffiths

Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries by Victoria Granof

Seeking Sicily: A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean by John Keahey

In Etna’s Shadow: Culinary Adventures from Eastern Sicily by Karen Landes

Coming Home to Sicily: Seasonal Harvests and Cooking from Case Vecchie by Fabrizia Lanza

Gardens of Sicily by Clare Littlewood and photos by Mario Ciampi

Walking in Sicily: Short and Long Distance Walks (Cicerone Guides) by Gillian Price

Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra by Peter Robb


What is your favorite book about Sicily? Have you read these or other books set in Sicily? I’d love to hear your suggestions and comments!

If you missed the first part of our Southern Italian Book Series, here is our list of Books Set in Campania. Stay tuned for upcoming installments with books set in Calabria, Puglia and Basilicata!


Are you planning a trip to Sicily? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip.

4 Responses
  1. Nancy

    Great list!
    My grandparents were born in Sicily and we are planning to visit next year along with southern Italy. I’m even working on dual-citizenship.

    I enjoyed “That Summer in Sicily” by Marlena de Blasi. It gave me a nice introduction to life in Sicily for peasants like my nonni must have been. (Marlena Blasi also wrote “A Thousand Nights in Venice” which I enjoyed. About an American woman who marries a man from Venice. — Imagine that!)

  2. I loved That Summer in Sicily. So rich and beautiful in the descriptions. I know so little about Sicily, this list is going to inspire me to get down there!

  3. We so enjoyed reading Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons by Matthew Fort, it gives such a good insight. Apart from the Camilleri novels (of course!) we took The Villa by Rosanna Ley and especially enjoyed A Ruby in her Navel by Barry Unsworth. Curious to see what Under the Volcano will be like, out soon. Great post, thank you for sharing!

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