Picture Books Set in Italy

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Picture Books Set in Italy

Literature was one of the ways that I began to learn about other cultures as a child. Learn about Italy and Italian culture with these picture books set in Italy!

Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer

Beloved character Olivia the pig is off to Venice on the family vacation of a lifetime. Her hilarious antics will have readers laughing as she eats all the gelato she can stuff into her mouth, rides a gondola, and tries to stay away from pigeons at the Piazza San Marco. 

There’s a Dolphin in the Grand Canal by John Bemelmans Marciano

Luca is bored to death working in his family’s cafe hour after hour. But he is quickly snapped out of boredom when he sees a dolphin, flitting in and out of the water of the Grand Canal. Luca jumps aboard the animal’s back and goes on an adventure all through the city. 

Tomasso and the Missing Line by Matteo Pericolli

Tomasso loses his line and begins to look everywhere for it. He looks for it in the curve of the cat’s tail, the antenna of a car, and all over the Italian countryside before deciding to ask his Nonna, the woman who seems to know everything. 

Gabriella’s Song by Candace Fleming

All throughout Venice, Gabriella hears music. She hears it in the flapping of the drying laundry, she hears it in the toll of the church bells, and she hears it in the lilting of the lyre. 

Strega Nona by Tomie dePoala

Big Anthony works to show his townspeople what Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot can do. Read along to see what disaster comes from Big Anthony’s attempts in this beautifully illustrated tale from the beloved author Tomie dePoala.

The Clown of God by Tomie dePoala

Giovanni doesn’t have much, but he does have a grand talent to share with the world; juggling. As he gets older, his talent fades, but one Christmas Eve, Giovanni picks up his colored balls to juggle once again. Read along to follow Giovanni’s journey back to stardom. 

Big Anthony by Tomie dePoala

Big Anthony is known for his clumsiness. He’s always losing track of things or day dreaming, causing accidents here and there. Who knows what will happen when he travels to the Tower of Pisa! 

Pizza in Pienza by Susan Fillion

Learn about the history of pizza in Italy in the most genuine way possible; straight from a young girl whose grandmother makes it by hand! This story speaks to such a unique aspect of the country in such an entertaining way. 

Italy ABCs by Sharon Katz Cooper

Learn about Italy and the alphabet all at once in this beautifully illustrated book! This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the different aspects of the country everyone’s talking about!

Venice: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape by Sarah McMenemy 

Explore the city of Venice through paper sculptures of some of the greatest landmarks throughout this Italian hotspot! This book will be so fun for young ones to flip through!

Zoe Sophia’s Scrapbook: An Adventure in Venice by Claudia Mauner

Zoe and her dog Mickey head to Venice for the adventure of a lifetime, taking readers on the journey to learn more about the great Italian city while they’re at it!

Dancing on Grapes by Graziella Pacini Buonanno

Claudia looks forward to her village’s annual grape harvest each year, but especially this year as she’s finally old enough to help crush the grapes! Graziella speaks of her own childhood experiences through this entertaining story for all!

Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Bemelmans Marciano

When Madeline and Miss Clavel take a trip to Rome, Madeline finds herself involved in chasing after a thief, in the midst of all sorts of cats, and as always, on an unexpected adventure!

Italian Composers and Artists

I, Vivaldi by Janice Shefelman

Antonio Vivaldi’s mother wanted him to become a priest, but he was only interested in music. This richly illustrated picture book tells the story of one of the most famous composers of the Baroque period.

Leonardo and the Flying Boy by Laurence Anholt

In this fictional book, we learn about the work of artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci through the perspective of a young boy. I love this series from Anholt because each book is created in the style of the original artist.

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