Posted by: kimberlysullivan | March 15, 2013

Authors on Italy

Roman ForumAny of you who are familiar with my site know what an Italophile I am.

That hardly makes me original. I’m simply following the lead of a long line of authors, poets, painters and composers singing Italy’s praises. If you find yourself in Rome, be sure to take a look at my earlier post on the Cemetery of Artists and Poets to see the final resting place of many of them who called Rome home.

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite quotes about Italy:

The name of Italy has magic in its very syllables.

Mary Shelley

Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liquers in one go.

Truman Capote

Portofino, Italy“Italy, my Italy! Queen Mary’s saying serves for me– (When fortune’s malice Lost her Calais)– Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, “Italy.””

Robert Browning

Remember that it’s only by going off the track that you get to know the country … And don’t, let me beg you, go with that awful tourist idea that Italy’s only a museum of antiquities and art. Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvelous than the land.

E.M. Forster

“They travelled for thirteen hours down-hill, whilst the streams broadened and the mountains shrank, and the vegetation changed, and the people ceased being ugly and drinking beer, and began instead to drink wine and be beautiful.”

E.M. Forster

Tiber River, Rome“Italy, all the same, had spoiled a great many people; he was even fatuous enough to believe at times that he himself might have been a better man if he had spent less of his life there.

Henry James

She had always been fond of history, and here [in Rome] was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine.

Henry James

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”

Giuseppe Verdi (from Attila)

And you, readers? Any favorite author quotes about Italy? I’d love to hear them.


  1. I don’t have any quotes but I love the second one by E.M. Forster. Henry James writing about Italy is mesmerising.

    • Yes, I love E.M. Forster on Italy,too. ‘A Room with a View’ is the better book, but ‘Where Angels Fear to Tread’ is filled with gems about Italy. Always love Henry James, but mentions of Italy in his novels and short stories is – as you point out – mesmerising.

  2. Grazie, cara! Come sempre sei insostituibile!

  3. Figurati, Celeste. Dopo anni vivendo nel ‘nostro’ paese, mi sento quasi italiana. Adoro le perspettive d’Italia nella letteratura anglosassone…

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