At its height Renaissance Florence was a centre of enormous wealth, power and influence. A republican city-state funded by trade and banking, its often bloody political scene was dominated by rich mercantile families, the most famous of which were the Medici. This enthralling book charts the family's huge influence on the political, economic and cultural history of Florence. Beginning in the early 1430s with the rise of the dynasty under the near-legendary Cosimo de Medici, it moves through their golden era as patrons of some of the most remarkable artists and architects of the Renaissance, to the era of the Medici Popes and Grand Dukes, Florence's slide into decay and bankruptcy, and the end, in 1737, of the Medici line.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany (The Most Beautiful Villages)
By: James Bentley
A celebration of one of the most rich and varied landscapes in Europe, here are thirty-six villages and towns from all over Tuscany chosen both for their intrinsic beauty and for the part they have played in Tuscan history.Stand at the edge of a Tuscan hill village and gaze across one of the most extraordinarily rich and varied landscapes in Europe. There are vineyards producing the finest wine, and miles of wild mountain scenery; almost any view will take in other villages, clustering around the upper reaches of some hill, or the russet roofs of a fortified town deep in a valley.Here are thirty-six villages and towns from all over Tuscany, chosen both for their intrinsic beauty and for the part they have played in Tuscan history and culture. The book opens with those communities clustered around the great towns of Lucca and Florence. As we move south through the Chianti region to the valley of the Orcia, we discover the unique characteristics of each area. Here is the small town of Pienza, once called the “pearl of the Renaissance” for its unique concentration of palaces and churches. Here too is San Gimignano, where the medieval towers loom over the town’s squares and streets. 288 color illustrations
Streetwise Florence Map - Laminated City Center Street Map of Florence, Italy (Michelin Streetwise Maps)
REVISED NOV 2017Streetwise Florence Map is a laminated city center map of Florence, Italy. The accordion-fold pocket size travel map includes train tracks & stations.Coverage includes:Main Florence, Italy Map 1:10,000Florence Area Map 1:150,000Central Florence Map 1:5,700Dimensions: 4" x 8.5" folded, 8.5" x 27" unfoldedFlorence is a city that should be discovered on foot. In order to cut down on the city center congestion, major sites are closed to car traffic (Santa Maria Novella and Duomo). Many of the major exhibits are in the outlying areas like Bagno a Ripoli, Fiescole, Figline and Scandicci. This has allowed visitors to discover less explored areas. Be sure to enjoy the Renaissance era through the beauty of the cathedrals, churches, museums, paintings, sculptures and frescoes of Florence. Not to be missed during your visit: Piazza del Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, Museo del Bargello, Chiesa di San Loreno and the Medici tombs, Galleria Palantina in the Palazzo Pitti, Museo di San Marco, and Frescoes by Ghirlandaio in Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella. STREETWISE® Florence Italy Map, complete with street, site and hotel index, enables you to explore each hidden corner of this city and to discover its historic importance and artistic richness on your own. The Regional map of Florence will guide you on your discovery to the hillside towns surrounding Florence, giving you greater freedom to discover the glory of Tuscany, Italy. The pocket size map of Florence is laminated for durability and accordion folding for effortless use. For more travel detail and to help make the most of your trip to Florence search for the Michelin Green Guide Tuscany or Green Guide to Italy. For a selection of the best hotels and restaurants in Florence, check out the MICHELIN Guide Main Cities of Europe. For driving outside the city center, pick up the Michelin Central Italy Map No. 563.
Blue Guide Italy Food Companion (2nd edition): Phrasebook and Miscellany (2nd Edition) (Blue Guides)
By: Ellen Grady
New and expanded edition of this popular pocket glossary of Italian food and drink. Designed for both handy on-site use and pleasurable at-home browsing, this is an essential companion for all lovers of Italian food. Would you eat a spongata or choose puffo-flavoured gelato? This guide will help you with those tricky decisions. 30 B&W; illustrations and maps
The City of Florence: Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings
By: R.W.B. Lewis
A New York Times Notable BookIn this deeply personal and learned labor of love, R.W.B. Lewis provides a new look at the glories of Florence, the smallish Tuscan city which has been a prime source for modern Western culture and which has also been his second home for fifty years. With a scholar's eye and a lover's passion, he invites us to share his vision of a city and the way of life it has engendered and inspired.
La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
By: Beppe Severgnini
Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America! on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors—la bella figura—and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: The highway: in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation—Stop! An Italian red light doesn’t warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection. The airport: where Italians prove that one of their virtues (an appreciation for beauty) is really a vice. Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model? That’s the price of gazing upon perfection.The small town: which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living: “a congenial barber . . . a well-stocked newsstand . . . professionally made coffee and a proper pizza; bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone.”The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen. As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that “has too much style to be hell” but is “too disorderly to be heaven.” Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From saintliness to sexuality. This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy—as Beppe says—“can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes.”
Siena, City of the Virgin: Illustrated (Sacred Art in Tradition)
By: Titus Burckhardt
This beautifully illustrated book examines the history, culture, and spirituality of the Italian city of Siena, the City of the Virgin. Home of St. Catherine and St. Bernardino, Siena was equally renowned for its architectural beauty and its religious devotion. Through the use of color photographs, maps, and reproductions of original manuscripts, Burckhardt invites the reader to walk the streets of a city whose history mirrors the development of Christianity in Europe.
Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
By: Ross King
On August 19, 1418, a competition concerning Florence's magnificent new cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore--already under construction for more than a century--was announced: "Whoever desires to make any model or design for the vaulting of the main Dome....shall do so before the end of the month of September." The proposed dome was regarded far and wide as all but impossible to build: not only would it be enormous, but its original and sacrosanct design shunned the flying buttresses that supported cathedrals all over Europe. The dome would literally need to be erected over thin air.Of the many plans submitted, one stood out--a daring and unorthodox solution to vaulting what is still the largest dome (143 feet in diameter) in the world. It was offered not by a master mason or carpenter, but by a goldsmith and clockmaker named Filippo Brunelleschi, then forty-one, who would dedicate the next twenty-eight years to solving the puzzles of the dome's construction. In the process, he did nothing less than reinvent the field of architecture.Brunelleschi's Dome is the story of how a Renaissance genius bent men, materials, and the very forces of nature to build an architectural wonder we continue to marvel at today. Denounced at first as a madman, Brunelleschi was celebrated at the end as a genius. He engineered the perfect placement of brick and stone, built ingenious hoists and cranes (among some of the most renowned machines of the Renaissance) to carry an estimated 70 million pounds hundreds of feet into the air, and designed the workers' platforms and routines so carefully that only one man died during the decades of construction--all the while defying those who said the dome would surely collapse and his own personal obstacles that at times threatened to overwhelm him. This drama was played out amid plagues, wars, political feuds, and the intellectual ferments of Renaissance Florence-- events Ross King weaves into the story to great effect, from Brunelleschi's bitter, ongoing rivalry with the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti to the near catpure of Florence by the Duke of Milan. King also offers a wealth of fascinating detail that opens windows onto fifteenth-century life: the celebrated traditions of the brickmaker's art, the daily routine of the artisans laboring hundreds of feet above the ground as the dome grew ever higher, the problems of transportation, the power of the guilds.Even today, in an age of soaring skyscrapers, the cathedral dome of Santa Maria del Fiore retains a rare power to astonish. Ross King brings its creation to life in a fifteenth-century chronicle with twenty-first-century resonance.
Washington Post bestsellerLos Angeles Times bestsellerA vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent How did a nation that spawned the Renaissance also produce the Mafia? And why does Italian have twelve words for coat hanger but none for hangover? John Hooper’s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Fifteen years as a foreign correspondent based in Rome have sharpened Hooper’s observations, and he looks at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, shedding new light on everything from the Italians’ bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Hooper persuasively demonstrates the impact of geography, history, and tradition on many aspects of Italian life, including football and Freemasonry, sex, food, and opera. Brimming with the kind of fascinating—and often hilarious—insights unavailable in guidebooks, The Italians will surprise even the most die-hard Italophile.From the Hardcover edition.
D. H. Lawrence and Italy: Sketches from Etruscan Places, Sea and Sardinia, Twilight in Italy (Penguin Classics)
By: D. H. Lawrence
In these impressions of the Italian countryside, Lawrence transforms ordinary incidents into passages of intense beauty. Twilight in Italy is a vibrant account of Lawrence's stay among the people of Lake Garda, whose decaying lemon gardens bear witness to the twilight of a way of life centuries old. In 'Sea and Sardinia', Lawrence brings to life the vigorous spontaneity of a society as yet untouched by the deadening effect of industrialization. And 'Etruscan Places' is a beautiful and delicate work of literary art, the record of 'a dying man drinking from the founts of a civilization dedicated to life.'For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A TIMELESS CLASSIC FROM THE AUTHOR OF UNDER MAGNOLIA Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opnes the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.
Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places
By: John Keahey
In Hidden Tuscany, acclaimed author John Keahey takes the reader into a part of Tuscany beyond the usual tourist destinations of Chianti, Florence, and Siena. The often overlooked western portion of Tuscany is rich with history, cuisine, and scenery begging to be explored, and Keahey encourages travelers to abandon itineraries and let the grooves in the road and the curves of the coast guide your journey instead.Follow Keahey as he turns off the autostrada and takes roads barely two lanes wide to discover fishing villages along the Tuscan sea. Then move inland into rolling foothills adorned with cherry orchards, ancient olive groves, and sweeping vineyards that produce wines that challenge Chianti's best. Here it is still possible to follow the paths of Romans, Crusaders, and pilgrims from throughout the western world who were eager to reach Rome.Hidden Tuscany provides intriguing images of places such as Livorno, a port city with canals; Pietrasanta, Tuscany's Citta d'Arte; and Capraia, an island formed by volcanoes. Keahey engages with the inhabitants of these enchanting landscapes, whether sculptors who toil in marble studios or residents whose own memories and traditions illuminate major moments in world history.From coastal towns to vineyards farther inland to the Tuscan archipelago, Keahey reminds us that each village, city, and island has its own unique story to tell. For armchair travelers and vacation seekers alike, Hidden Tuscany brings a new side of this classic Italian region to life, and the result is mesmerizing.
Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions Of A Chianti Tour Guide
By: Dario Castagno, Robert Rodi
Over the past several years, "the American in Tuscany" has become a literary subgenre. Launched by the phenomenal success of Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, bookstores now burgeon with nimble, witty accounts of this clash in cultures-Americans trying to do American things in Italy and bumping against a brick wall of tradition.Before this subgenre exhausts itself, it's only fair that we hear the other side of the story-that of a native Tuscan and of dozens of Americans who have stormed through his life and homeland, determined to find in it whatever they are looking for, whether quaintness or wisdom, submission or direction.There is no one better to provide this view than Dario Castagno. A Tuscan guide whose client base is predominantly American, Dario has spent more than a decade taking individuals and small groups on customized tours through the Chianti region of Tuscany. Reared in Britain through early childhood, he speaks English fluently and is therefore capable of fully engaging his American clients and getting to know them. Too Much Tuscan Sun is Dario's account of some of his more remarkable customers, from the obsessive and the oblivious to the downright lunatic.It is also a primer on Tuscany--its charms and its culture. Structured around a typical Tuscan year, Dario takes us through the sights, smells, and sounds of Chianti during each of the twelve months, including the festivities and pageantry that accord with the season, most notable the Palio-the bareback horse race that consumes the social energies of the people of Siena for all of July and August.Dario also intersperses an account of his own life and times-that of a transplanted British "little lord" who learns to love the wilds of Chianti; of his discovery and adoption of abandoned peasant farmhouses; of his apprenticeship in the wine industry; and of his arduous transformation from bohemian layabout to thriving Tuscan guide.But the bulk of the book is devoted, with humor and affection, to the Americans he has met-the vain, the silly, the ignorant, the ambitious, the horny, the condescending, the charming, and the outright pathological. Some of them have made his life hell and live in his nightmares; others became lifelong friends.
Tuscany in Mind: From Byron and the Brownings to Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, Robert Lowell, and Penelope Fitzgerald--Two Centuries of Great Writers Seduced by Tuscany
By: Brand: Vintage
In her fourth literary travel companion, Alice Leccese Powers explores one of the most seductive regions of the world through more than two centuries of fiction, poetry, essays, letters, and memoirs by English-speaking visitors to northern Italy.The poet Shelley called Tuscany “a paradise of exiles”; it has long been a magnet for literary travelers and expatriates. Here are writers who have made their home in Tuscan villas, castles, and farmhouses, from the Shelleys, Byron, and the Brownings to Frances Mayes. Here too are Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Henry James, and E. M. Forster on the glories of Florence, Pisa’s leaning tower, and the enchanting Tuscan countryside, alongside the tart wit of Mark Twain, Mary McCarthy, and Erica Jong. From James Boswell’s record of his romantic dalliances to Laura Fraser’s memoir An Italian Affair to Sarah Dunant’s novel The Birth of Venus, Tuscany in Mind assembles a glittering mosaic portrait of an unforgettable place.Kinta Beevor • James Boswell • Elizabeth Barrett Browning • Robert Browning • Lord Byron • Bruce Chatwin • Ann Cornelisen • Charles Dickens • Sarah Dunant • Lawrence Ferlinghetti • Penelope Fitzgerald • E. M. Forster • Laura Fraser • Paul Gervais • Barbara Grizzuti Harrison • Robert Hellenga • William Dean Howells • Henry James • Erica Jong • D. H. Lawrence • David Leavitt and Mark Mitchell • Robert Lowell • Frances Mayes • Mary McCarthy • H. V. Morton • Eric Newby • Iris Origo • John Ormond • Elizabeth Romer • John Ruskin • Mary Shelley • Percy Bysshe Shelley • Kate Simon • Tobias Smollett • Matthew Spender • Stephen Spender • Mark Twain • Edith Wharton
Italy: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Lawrence Venuti
Italy’s rising literary stars join some of its best-known writers including Nobel-laureate Luigi Pirandello, Natalia Ginzburg, Alberto Moravia, and Antonio Tabucchi to take the reader on a panoramic tour of both city and countryside, across the social spectrum, surveying the country’s rich cultural history. Explore Italy’s popular tourist destinations and out-of-the-way spots under the fresh and even startling light cast by these twenty-three diverse and exciting stories, most of which are available here in English for the first time. For those who wish to reach beyond the stereotypes and get an insider’s view to discover an Italy that’s off the beaten path, as well as new insights along familiar, well-traveled roads, these stories arranged geographically for the traveler, armchair or otherwise are an excellent place to start. Contributors include Barbara Alberti, Corrado Alvaro, Romano Bilenchi, Massimo Bontempelli, Dino Buzzati, Andrea Camilleri, Natalia Ginzburg, Claudio Magris, Marilia Mazzeo, Luigi Malerba, Dacia Maraini, Maria Messina, Alberto Moravia, Aldo Palazzeschi, Goffredo Parise, Luigi Pirandello, Domenico Rea, Mario Rigoni Stern, Lalla Romano, Alberto Savinio, Tiziano Scarpa, Antonio Tabucchi, and Federigo Tozzi.