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The Italian Story

The Italian Story

by Geoffrey Trease

3,000 years of Italy. 

Over one and a half million people visit Italy every year from Great Britain alone, many to see the countless treasures of her past. But only a few have had the time or chance to study this past in detail, and the majority must often have felt the need for a simple overall guide to Italian history — whether in their reading, in their appreciation of art and music, or in their enjoyment of an Italian holiday. 

Treating of the whole gamut of Italian experience from Etruscan and Roman times to the present day, Mr Trease writes with enthusiasm and a fine eye for compression. The ancient world; the Dark Ages; the Renaissance; French, Spanish and Austrian domination; Risorgimento; the rise and fall of Mussolini — The Italian Story is an absorbing ‘serial’ covering 3000 years, in which Mr Trease has used his skill as a novelist to give full value to colourful characters and dramatic incidents, without losing sight of social and economic factors or the main political outlines. 

The result is a book sound enough for the student and compulsively readable for the layman. 


I was kindly given a copy of the book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

When I started to read the book, I realised that this book was going to be more entertaining than I thought. Sure, there were a few instances where it’s age showed, some words that I wouldn’t use now but overall, the author’s work still stands well even after so many years. I am only giving it three stars because it could do with some updating, the occasional not-quite politically correct terms and sometimes, the language was a bit dry. Otherwise, a lovely book to read on a sunny day!

I have always been fascinated with Italy in general, mostly because of my love of Italian food to be honest. Somehow, I just never delved deeper than that of the unfortunate era of Mussolini, my bad, truly. I was so glad that I read the book because I now have a bit more information of this country that I have wished to travel to just for its food. Now, on top of that, there’s this history and culture that I got to know. It could certainly do with some updating but in general, I really loved reading it.

The author managed to capture my interest fairly quickly and was steady throughout. I would totally recommend it to someone who’s interested in Italian history!

It might be a tad obvious by now that currently I am obsessed with all things Italian. I am going to use that obsession towards good things. Mostly learning Italian and reading about Italy and its culture. Let’s see how that works out.


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