Italy
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Rome: A History in Seven Sackings
Rome
A History in Seven Sackings
Hardcover      ISBN: 1501191098

"Kneale's account is a masterpiece of pacing and suspense. Characters from the city's history spring to life in his hands." --The Sunday Times (London)

Novelist and historian Matthew Kneale, a longtime resident of Rome, tells the story of the Eternal City--from the early Roman Republic through the Renaissance and the Reformation to Mussolini and the German occupation in World War Two--through pivotal moments that defined its history.

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 uses seven of these crisis moments to create a powerful and captivating account of Rome's extraordinary history. He paints portraits of the city before each assault, 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. He shows how Rome became the chaotic and wondrous place it is today. Rome: A History in Seven Sackings offers a unique look at a truly remarkable city.
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.
Living in Tuscany
Living in Tuscany
Hardcover      ISBN: 2080105531

Vineyards and rolling hills
From the Maremma coastline to the countryside around Siena, from the vineyards of Chianti to the famous beaches of Viareggio, not forgetting the ancient cities of Florence, Siena, Lucca, Arezzo, Cortona . . . the ever-changing scenery of Tuscany is a source of infinite delight.
Gardens of Tuscany
Famous for its sumptuous villas, Tuscany welcomes the garden lover: the Boboli Gardens in Florence, the gardens in Lucca or Siena--less well-known but just as beautiful--"Living in Tuscany" brings these havens of tranquility to the reader.
Tuscan Interiors
A room with a view over the Piazza del Campo in Siena, medieval terraces in the heart of Florence, grand villas surrounded by vineyards belonging to Tuscany's ancient nobility, the homes of artists and writers. Tuscany opens its doors to reveal its cultural and creative riches.
Artistic heritage
Tuscany is justly proud of its artistic and cultural heritage: fabulous museums in the heart of ancient cities displaying all the glories of Italian decorative art; the workshops of sculptors from all over the world come to work in the small town of Pietrasanta; artisans breathing new vigor into the traditional crafts of the region--Impruneta pottery, silks and perfume from Florence, mosaic art, marbled paper and leatherwork.
Places of special interest
Well-known Florence restaurants or tiny trattorias in isolated hamlets, local markets, the village butcher who is also a poet, wines from Chianti and purest olive oils for the gourmet palate, Tuscany is a synonym for good living. Old family villas turned into hotels, small farms that welcome families exploring off the beaten track: discoveringTuscany's hidden treasures becomes a real delight.
Visitor's Guide
The best addresses, as recommended by the Tuscans themselves, to discover the true Tuscany beyond the tourist trail. From little-known museums to the best vineyards to visit, from where to find the finest handmade gloves to where to eat the best "tagliatelle," the Visitor's Guide tells you all you need to know to make the most of your stay in this enchanting region.
Tuscany . . . The name evokes a unique lifestyle, the legacy of an extraordinary historical and cultural heritage. In Tuscany, daily life is steeped in art: villas and gardens are wonders of balance between man and nature; interiors harbor treasures jealously guarded through the centuries. In this sumptuously illustrated book, we discover villages where time seems to have stopped; the extraordinary interiors and gardens of villas and palaces; and the traditional crafts, cuisine, and wines which make this region so exceptional.

Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History
Rome
A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History
Hardcover      ISBN: 0307268446

From Robert Hughes, one of the greatest art and cultural critics of our time, comes a sprawling, comprehensive, and deeply personal history of Rome--as city, as empire, and, crucially, as an origin of Western art and civilization, two subjects about which Hughes has spent his life writing and thinking.
Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries.
From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world.
From the formation of empire, Hughes moves on to the rise of early Christianity, his own antipathy toward religion providing rich and lively context for the brutality of the early Church, and eventually the Crusades. The brutality had the desired effect--the Church consolidated and outlasted the power of empire, and Rome would be the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the newly united kingdom of Italy in 1870.
As one would expect, Hughes lavishes plenty of critical attention on the Renaissance, providing a full survey of the architecture, painting, and sculpture that blossomed in Rome over the course of the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and shedding new light on old masters in the process. Having established itself as the artistic and spiritual center of the world, Rome in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries saw artists (and, eventually, wealthy tourists) from all over Europe converging on the bustling city, even while it was caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the Italian independence struggle and war against France.
Hughes keeps the momentum going right into the twentieth century, when Rome witnessed the rise and fall of Italian Fascism and Mussolini, and took on yet another identity in the postwar years as the fashionable city of "La Dolce Vita." This is the Rome Hughes himself first encountered, and it's one he contends, perhaps controversially, has been lost in the half century since, as the cult of mass tourism has slowly ruined the dazzling city he loved so much. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, "Rome "is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it.

The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy
The Italian Renaissance
Culture and Society in Italy
Paperback      ISBN: 0691028389

In this newly revised edition of his widely acclaimed work, Peter Burke presents a social and cultural history of the Italian Renaissance. He discusses the social and political institutions that existed in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and he analyzes the ways of thinking and seeing that characterized this period of extraordinary artistic creativity. Developing a distinctive approach, the author is concerned not only with the finished works of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and others, but also with the social background, patterns of recruitment, and means of subsistence of this "cultural elite." He thus makes a major contribution both to our understanding of the Italian Renaissance and to our comprehension of the complex relations between culture and society.

An excellent social history of the lives and culture of the artists and artisans which made it possible for the arts to flourish.

The Thames and Hudson Encyclopedia of the Italian Renaissance
The Thames and Hudson Encyclopedia of the Italian Renaissance
Paperback      ISBN: 0500201919
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.

Early History of Rome: Books I-V of the History of Rome from Its Foundation
Early History of Rome
Books I-V of the History of Rome from Its Foundation
by Livy
Paperback      ISBN: 0140441042
Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World
Sprezzatura
50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World
Paperback      ISBN: 038572019x

A witty, erudite celebration of fifty great Italian cultural achievements that have significantly influenced Western civilization from the authors of What Are the Seven Wonders of the World?

"Sprezzatura," or the art of effortless mastery, was coined in 1528 by Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier. No one has demonstrated effortless mastery throughout history quite like the Italians. From the Roman calendar and the creator of the modern orchestra (Claudio Monteverdi) to the beginnings of ballet and the creator of modern political science (Niccol Machiavelli), Sprezzatura highlights fifty great Italian cultural achievements in a series of fifty information-packed essays in chronological order.

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.