Italy
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Rome: A History in Seven Sackings
Rome
A History in Seven Sackings
Paperback      ISBN: 150119111x
"This magnificent love letter to Rome" (Stephen Greenblatt) tells the story of the Eternal City through pivotal moments that defined its history--from the early Roman Republic through the Renaissance and the Reformation to the German occupation in World War Two--"an erudite history that reads like a page-turner" (Maria Semple).

Rome, the Eternal City. It is a hugely popular tourist destination with a rich history, famed for such sites as the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, St. Peter's, and the Vatican. In no other city is history as present as it is in Rome. Today visitors can stand on bridges that Julius Caesar and Cicero crossed; walk around temples in the footsteps of emperors; visit churches from the earliest days of Christianity.

This is all the more remarkable considering what the city has endured over the centuries. It has been ravaged by fires, floods, earthquakes, and--most of all--by roving armies. These have invaded repeatedly, from ancient times to as recently as 1943. Many times Romans have shrugged off catastrophe and remade their city anew.

"Matthew Kneale is] one step ahead of most other Roman chroniclers" (The New York Times Book Review). He paints portraits of the city before seven pivotal assaults, describing what it looked like, felt like, smelled like and how Romans, both rich and poor, lived their everyday lives. He shows how the attacks transformed Rome--sometimes for the better. With drama and humor he brings to life the city of Augustus, of Michelangelo and Bernini, of Garibaldi and Mussolini, and of popes both saintly and very worldly. Rome is "exciting...gripping...a slow roller-coaster ride through the fortunes of a place deeply entangled in its past" (The Wall Street Journal).
Love and Death in Renaissance Italy
Love and Death in Renaissance Italy
Hardcover      ISBN: 0226112586

Gratuitous sex. Graphic violence. Lies, revenge, and murder. Before there was digital cable or reality television, there was Renaissance Italy and the courts in which Italian magistrates meted out justice to the vicious and the villainous, the scabrous and the scandalous. Love and Death in Renaissance Italy retells six piquant episodes from the Italian court just after 1550, as the Renaissance gave way to an era of Catholic reformation.

Each of the chapters in this history chronicles a domestic drama around which the lives of ordinary Romans are suddenly and violently altered. You might read the gruesome murder that opens the book--when an Italian noble takes revenge on his wife and her bastard lover as he catches them in delicto flagrante--as straight from the pages of Boccaccio. But this tale, like the other stories Cohen recalls here, is true, and its recounting in this scintillating work is based on assiduous research in court proceedings kept in the state archives in Rome.

Love and Death in Renaissance Italy contains stories of a forbidden love for an orphan nun, of brothers who cruelly exact a will from their dying teenage sister, and of a malicious papal prosecutor who not only rapes a band of sisters, but turns their shambling father into a pimp Cohen retells each cruel episode with a blend of sly wit and warm sympathy and then wraps his tales in ruminations on their lessons, both for the history of their own time and for historians writing today. What results is a book at once poignant and painfully human as well as deliciously entertaining.
Urban Development in Renaissance Italy
Urban Development in Renaissance Italy
Paperback      ISBN: 0470031557

Providing a comprehensive account of one of the most formative historical periods, this book uniquely describes Renaissance architecture as the physical manifestation of economic, social and political change. Shifts in architectural style and design are described in parallel with Italy's economic and demographic growth, external and internal conflict and the evolution of urban and regional government. Urban Development in Renaissance Italy covers the full extent of the Renaissance period, charting the era's medieval roots and its transformation into Mannerist and Baroque tendencies. Encompassing Palermo and Naples, the book fully covers northern, central and southern Italy, surpassing the conventional literature that tends to focus solely on northern Italy.


Transforming medieval towns into city states, Renaissance governments invested heavily in developing the built environment to create a sense of awe and civic pride; while aristocratic dynasties, bankers and merchants commissioned sumptuous properties as a means of expressing their wealth and position in society; and holy orders built imposing churches to extend their influence. Architecture and planning, it is argued by Dr Paul Balchin provided a clear and significant path to political and economic power. It is within this context that the centre of political and economic gravity shifted over time within Italy from the republic of Venice in the 14th century to Medici Florence in the 15th century, and on to Papal Rome in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped
The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior
Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped
Paperback      ISBN: 055338614x

Leonardo da Vinci, Niccol Machiavelli, and Cesare Borgia--three iconic figures whose intersecting lives provide the basis for this astonishing work of narrative history. They could not have been more different, and they would meet only for a short time in 1502, but the events that transpired when they did would significantly alter each man's perceptions--and the course of Western history.

In 1502, Italy was riven by conflict, with the city of Florence as the ultimate prize. Machiavelli, the consummate political manipulator, attempted to placate the savage Borgia by volunteering Leonardo to be Borgia's chief military engineer. That autumn, the three men embarked together on a brief, perilous, and fateful journey through the mountains, remote villages, and hill towns of the Italian Romagna--the details of which were revealed in Machiavelli's frequent dispatches and Leonardo's meticulous notebooks.

Superbly written and thoroughly researched, The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior is a work of narrative genius--whose subject is the nature of genius itself.
Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most: A Cookbook
Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most
A Cookbook
Hardcover      ISBN: 1400040361
Featuring 140 mouthwatering new recipes, a gastronomic journey of the Italian regions that have inspired and informed Lidia Bastianich's legendary cooking.

For the home cook and the armchair traveler alike, Lidia's Italy offers a short introduction to ten regions of Italy--from Piemonte to Puglia--with commentary on nearby cultural treasures by Lidia's daughter Tanya, an art historian.

- In Istria, now part of Croatia, where Lidia grew up, she forages again for wild asparagus, using it in a delicious soup and a frittata; Sauerkraut with Pork and Roast Goose with Mlinzi reflect the region's Middle European influences; and buzara, an old mariner's stew, draws on fish from the nearby sea.

- From Trieste, Lidia gives seafood from the Adriatic, Viennese-style breaded veal cutlets and Beef Goulash, and Sacher Torte and Apple Strudel.

- From Friuli, where cows graze on the rich tableland, comes Montasio cheese to make fricos; the corn fields yield polenta for Velvety Cornmeal-Spinach Soup.

- In Padova and Treviso rice reigns supreme, and Lidia discovers hearty soups and risottos that highlight local flavors.

- In Piemonte, the robust Barolo wine distinguishes a fork-tender stufato of beef; local white truffles with scrambled eggs is "heaven on a plate"; and a bagna cauda serves as a dip for local vegetables, including prized cardoons.

- In Maremma, where hunting and foraging are a way of life, earthy foods are mainstays, such as slow-cooked rabbit sauce for pasta or gnocchi and boar tenderloin with prune-apple Sauce, with Galloping Figs for dessert.

- In Rome Lidia revels in the fresh artichokes and fennel she finds in the Campo dei Fiori and brings back nine different ways of preparing them.

- In Naples she gathers unusual seafood recipes and a special way of making limoncello-soaked cakes.

- From Sicily's Palermo she brings back panelle, the delicious fried chickpea snack; a caponata of stewed summer vegetables; and the elegant Cannoli Napoleon.

- In Puglia, at Italy's heel, where durum wheat grows at its best, she makes some of the region's glorious pasta dishes and re-creates a splendid focaccia from Altamura.

There's something for everyone in this rich and satisfying book that will open up new horizons even to the most seasoned lover of Italy.
Cardinal's Hat: Money, Ambition, And Everyday Life in the Court of a Borgia Prince
Cardinal's Hat
Money, Ambition, And Everyday Life in the Court of a Borgia Prince
Paperback      ISBN: 1585678031

Working with Ippolito's letters and ledgers, recently uncovered in an archive in Modena, Italy, Mary Hollingsworth has pieced together a fascinating and undeniably titillating tale of this Renaissance cardinal and his road to power and wealth in sixteenth century Europe. The ledgers document every aspect of Ippolito's comings and goings, and he comes to life out of the minutiae, as do the lives of his staff.

Italian Hours
Italian Hours
Paperback      ISBN: 0140435077
"The charm of certain vacant grassy spaces, in Italy, overfrowned by masses of brickwork that are honeycombed by the suns of centuries, is something that I hereby renounce once for all the attempt to express; but you may be sure that whenever I mention such a spot enchantment lurks in it." --Henry James

In these essays on travels in Italy written from 1872 to 1909, Henry James explores art and religion, political shifts and cultural revolutions, and the nature of travel itself. James's enthusiastic appreciation of the unparalleled aesthetic allure of Venice, the vitality of Rome, and the noisy, sensuous appeal of Naples is everywhere marked by pervasive regret for the disappearance of the past and by ambivalence concerning the transformation of nineteenth-century Europe. John Auchard's lively introduction and extensive notes illuminate the surprising differences between the historical, political, and artistic Italy of James's travels and the metaphoric Italy that became the setting of some of his best-known works of fiction. This edition includes an appendix of James's book reviews on Italian travel-writing.

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.
Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love And Death In Renaissance Italy
Lucrezia Borgia
Life, Love And Death In Renaissance Italy
Hardcover      ISBN: 0670033537

The very name Lucrezia Borgia conjures up everything that was sinister and corrupt about the Renaissance?incest, political assassination, papal sexual abuse, poisonous intrigue, unscrupulous power grabs. Yet as bestselling biographer Sarah Bradford reveals in this breathtaking new portrait, the truth is far more fascinating than the myth. Neither a vicious monster nor a seductive pawn, Lucrezia Borgia was a shrewd, determined woman who used her beauty and intelligence to secure a key role in the political struggles of her day.

Born the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Cardinal Borgia and his scheming mistress, Vannozza Cattanei, Lucrezia was twelve when her father became Pope Alexander VI and thirteen when she was forced into her first marriage. She would marry twice more, gaining increasing power with each match, until she came into her own as duchess of the city-state of Ferrara. Bradford argues that in her maturity Lucrezia was an enlightened ruler, kind and decisive in time of war, generous to the poets and artists of her court, passionate in love, and utterly indifferent to sexual morality.

Drawing from a trove of contemporary documents and fascinating firsthand accounts, Bradford brings to life the art, the pageantry, and the dangerous politics of the Renaissance world Lucrezia Borgia helped to create. Bradford is an expert on the Borgia family and in Lucrezia she has found a subject ideally suited to her gift for narrative and psychological insight. Sex, gossip, murder, astonishing beauty, and ambition? this is the Renaissance at its most irresistible.

Venice: Lion City : The Religion of Empire
Venice
Lion City : The Religion of Empire
Hardcover      ISBN: 0684871904

Garry Wills's "Venice: Lion City" is a tour de force -- a rich, colorful, and provocative history of the world's most fascinating city in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when it was at the peak of its glory. This was not the city of decadence, carnival, and nostalgia familiar to us from later centuries. It was a ruthless imperial city, with a shrewd commercial base, like ancient Athens, which it resembles in its combination of art and sea empire. The structure of Venetian society was based on its distinctive practice of religion: Venice elected its priests, defied the authority of papal Rome, and organized its liturgy around a lay leader (the doge).

"Venice: Lion City" presents a new way of relating the history of the city through its art and, in turn, illuminates the art through the city's history. In their culture, their governing structures, and their social life, the Venetians themselves speak to us with extraordinary immediacy, whether at work, warfare, prayer, or acting out their victories, celebrations, and petitions in the colorful festivals that punctuated the year.

"Venice: Lion City" is illustrated with more than 130 works of art, 30 in full color. Garry Wills gives us a unique view of Venice's rulers, merchants, clerics, and laborers, its Jews, and its women as they created a city that is the greatest art museum in the world, a city that continues to lure an endless stream of visitors.

Like Simon Schama's "The Embarrassment of Riches," on the Dutch culture in the Golden Age, "Venice: Lion City" will take its place as a classic work of history and criticism.

City of Falling Angels
City of Falling Angels
Paperback      ISBN: 1594200610

Traces the aftermath of the 1996 Venice opera house fire, an event that devastated Venetian society and was investigated by the author, who through interviews with local figures learned about the region's rich cultural history.