Reading Trinacria

This is an evolving cornucopia of randomly discovered writings from native Sicilians, Italians and foreigners who have dedicated works to this multifaceted place. This inventory is based on a long rambling obsession with all things Sicilian studied over what feels like a lifetime of living and exploring Sicily.

Every once in a while I will be adding to this series of book reviews, essays and interviews with the aim of compiling an in-depth reading list for anyone who wants to learn more about Sicily. Or whoever is looking for an excellent read with a Sicilian theme.

I only add what I think is well written and entertaining. If something you know is missing, it is either wasn’t very good, or I still haven’t read it yet.

This list doesn’t included guidebooks as I feel they really aren’t something you’d read to get a real sense of the island, they are more practical guides to help you physically navigate the place.

These feature books have been inspired by Sicily and will take you on a journey through Sicilian culture while comfortably sitting on your favourite reading chair.

If you know of something new with a Sicilian theme or have written a book about Sicily please drop me an email:
This page is in constant evolution so please be sure to check back every once in a while.

Reading Trinacria is divided into the following genres in no particular order with links to in-depth reviews and information, which will be gradually added to!


History and cultural guides

Andrew and Suzanne Edwards. Sicily: A literary guide.
Jeremy Dummett. Syracuse: City of Legends and Palermo City of Kings: the heart of Sicily.
John Julius Norwich. The Normans in Sicily.
Finley M I and Denis Mack Smith. A short history of Sicily.
Giuseppe Quatriglio. A thousand years in Sicily and Sicily.
Sandra Benjamin. Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History.
Calogero Messina. Sicilians Wanted the inquisition.
David Abulafia.The Great Sea.
Norman Lewis. In Sicily.
Joseph Farrell. Sicily a cultural history.
Nancy Goldstone.Joanna: queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily.
Rick Atkinson. The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944.
Raleigh Trevelyan: Princes Under the Volcano.

Travel and memoir

Travel/ Memoir/ Biography

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

Theresa Maggio: Mattanza: Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily and The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily.

Brian Johnston. A summer in Sicily.

David Gilmore: The last leopard: A life of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
Mary Taylor Simeti. On Persephone’s Island: A Sicilian Journal.
Daphne Phelps. A House in Sicily.
Shamus Sillar: Sicily, it’s not quite Tuscany.

Joseph Cione Sicily on My Mind: Echoes of Fascism and World War II .
Allan Langdale: Palermo: travels in the city of happiness.
Matthew Fort: Sweet honey, bitter lemons and Summer in the Islands.
Caroline Seller Manzo: Casa Nostra: A home in Sicily.
Marlena di Blasi: That summer in Sicily: A love story.
Francine Prose: Sicilian Odyssey.
Francesca Magnosa: My Sicily .
Francesco Scanelli. Sicilian Shadows.
Ben Morreale Sicily. A hallowed land.

English Novels and Novellas

Novels and novellas in English

Anthony Di Renzo. Trinacria: A Tale of Bourbon Sicily.
Venero Armanno. The Volcano, Firehead and Black mountain.
Angelo F. Coniglio. The Lady of the Wheel.
Tariq Ali. A Sultan in Palermo.
Ann Ward Radcliffe: A Sicilian Romance.
Edward Montague: The Demon of Sicily.
Cecelia Holland: Great Maria.
Barry Unsworth: The Ruby in Her Navel.
Lily Prior. La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture.
Domenico Eannello: Sicily: where love is
Daniel Keyon: The savage heart of Palermo

Historical travelogue

Historical travelogues

Lawrence Durrell: Sicilian Carousel.
Julia Kavanach: A summer and winter in the two sicilies.
Walter Copland Perry: Sicily in Fable, History, art and Song.
D.H Lawrence: Sea and Sardinia.
Guy de Maupassant: Sicily.
Henry Festing Jones: Diversions in Sicily.
Edmondo De Amicis: Memories of a trip to Sicily


Anthologies and journals

Chiara Mazzucchelli. The Heart and the Island: A critical study of Sicilian American Literature

Venera Fazio and Delia De Santis. Sweet Lemons: Writings With a Sicilian Accent.
Gaetano Cippola. Arbasicula: Journal of Sicilian Folklore and literature.
Riccardo Francaviglia. Myths in Sicily.

Sicilian Authors

Sicilian authors

Roberto Alajmo: Palermo e’ una cipolla.
Simonetta Agnello Hornby: La Mennulara.
Leonardo Sciascia: The Moro Affair, Sicilian Uncles, The dark wine sea.
Matteo Collura: Sicilia sconosciuta, In Sicilia and L’isola senza ponte: uomini e storie di Sicilia.

Andrea Camilleiri: Death in Sicily.
Mario Giordano: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The Leopard, I racconti and La serena.
Vitaliano Brancati. Don Giovanni in Sicilia, Il bell’Antonio and Paolo il caldo .
Federico De Roberto: I Viceré .
Salvatore Quasimodo: Poetry.
Giovanni Verga. Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories.
Luigi Pirandello: short stories and plays.
Elio Vittorini: Conversazione in Sicilia .
Giuseppe Bonaviri: Dolcissimo.
Giuseppina Torregrossa: Il conto delle minne.
Danilo Dolci. Sicilian Lives.

On the theme of Mafia

Norman Lewis. The honored society.
John Dickie. Mafia brotherhoods and Mafia Republic.
Peter Rob: Midnight in Sicily
Mario Puzo. The Sicilian .
Claire Sterling. Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia .
Giovanni Falcone (interview with Marcello Padovani): Cose di cosa nostra.
Carl Russo. The Sicilian Mafia: a true crime travel guide.

Food and drink

Food and Wine

Robert Camuto: Palmento: Sicilian Wine Odyssey.
Mary Taylor Simeti. Pomp and Sustenance: 25 Centuries of Sicilian Food and Sicilian food: Recipes from Italy’s abundant isle.
Rachel Roddy. Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome.
Melissa Muller. Sicily the Cookbook: Recipes Rooted in Traditions.
Alessandra Dammone. Sweet Sicily. Storie di pupi, amori e canditi. Sugar and spice, and all things nice.



Jann Huizenga. Sicilians in Baroque towns and Sicily in colour.
Angheli Zalapi, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi and Melo Minnella. Palaces of Sicily.