Best Italian Books to Read to Improve your Italian

Reading Italian books is one of the best ways you can improve your Italian! Whether you’re just getting started or an experienced Italian reader, it’s perfect for building up your vocabulary and expressions. If you’re struggling or reading slowly, look for dual-language books with Italian on one side and English translation on the other. Otherwise, here’s our list of the best Italian books to read!

Furthermore if you read lots, or simply want to read lots easily, getting a Kindle subscription could revolutionise your learning! And if you want to bring your books with you wherever you go, getting a Kindle is perfect (or this is a more general, cheaper option).

Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno – Italo Calvino

Calvino’s first novel, ‘The path to the spider’s nest’ is a wonderful book to kick off your Italian reading. It tells the story of Pin, an orphan living in Liguria during World War 2. Above all, it is written in clear, easy to understand Italian.

L’amica geniale – Elena Ferrante

Written by one of Italy’s most beloved writers, ‘My brilliant friend’ tells a beautiful story of two friends growing up. It is heartwarming, sad and captivating throughout and one you don’t want to miss! Most importantly, this book is one of 4 ‘Neapolitan novels’ so there’s more when you’ve finished this. 

Se questo è un uomo – Primo Levi

Primo Levi wrote this book based on the many horrors he experienced in World War 2.  He was at the Auschwitz concentration camp until it was liberated in 1945, and wrote the book so future generations would reflect on it and its history. The title, ‘If this is a man’, asks at what point you lose your humanity, during all the inhumanity of WW2.  

Volevo i pantaloni – Lara Cardella

Cardella wrote ‘Good girls don’t wear trousers’ when she was only 19, and it has been popular all over the world. It describes the level of gender conformity and its restrictions as she was growing up in Sicily. There is a sequel to this book if one isn’t enough, so get reading! 

Cuore – Edmondo D’Amicis 

Set in the 1880s as a child’s diary, ‘Heart’ contains lots of important Italian themes. These often come in the form of stories, having some important moral at the end, such as being kind and helping others. The diary form makes it very easy to read, so it’s perfect for learning Italian. 

Did you enjoy our list of the best Italian books to read? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below! And once you’ve enjoyed reading these, why not schedule a Lex and share your favorites with your partner.

After that check out our Book Search and see what your fellow learners are reading and share your own recommendations!

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