The following reference sources, mainly dictionaries and encyclopedias, are highlighted here and can be found on level 3 in the PQ call number area. Often such books are a good way to get started; in helping you decide what you're interested in; in checking facts and looking up and translating words; in suggesting paper topics; in providing appropriate vocabulary (keywords) that can be used for later exploration, and often whose entries conclude with a bibliography that can lead you to related resources.
Below this entry are book suggestions for
Italian History & Culture
Electronic Italian Dictionaries
The following book recommendations are found in the Ref DG section (Italian history):
The following are dictionaries, in most cases multivolume sets, scholarly works in themselves, that provide all possible meanings and spellings of an Italian word; grammatical examples and quoted examples, including when the word was first used.