From the bestselling author whose memoirs Under the Sun and Bella Tuscany have captured the voluptuousness of Italian life comes a lavishly illustrated ode to the joys of Tuscany's people, food, landscapes, and art. In Tuscany celebrates the abundant pleasures of life in Italy as it is lived at home, at festivals, feasts, restaurants and markets, in the kitchen and on the piazza, in the vineyards, fields, and olive groves. Combining all-new essays by Frances Mayes and a chapter by her husband, poet Edward Mayes, with more than 200 full-color photos by photographer Bob Krist, each of this book's five sections highlights a signature aspect of Tuscan life:La Piazza--the locus of Italian village life. With photgraphs of the shop signs, the outdoor markets, medieval streets, people, their pets and their cars, and snippets of conversations overheard, Mayes reveals the life of the Piazza in her town of Cortona as well as out-of-the-way places such as Volterra, Asciano, Monte San Savino, and Castelmuzio. La Festa--the celebration. Essays and photos of feasts and celebrations, such as the Christmas dinner for twenty-seven at a neighbor's house and a donkey race around the church at Montepulciano Stazione, illustrate how the Tuscans celebrate the seasons--their open ways of friendship, their connection to nature, and most of all, their sense of abundance. Il Campo--the field. Here Edward Mayes evokes the deep sense of the shift of seasons as he picks olives before he and Frances head off to the olive oil mill and enjoy the first bruscette with new oil. La Cucina--the kitchen. An intimate view of the all-important role of the kitchen in Tuscan culture, including photographs of her own kitchen and gardens, menus from great local cooks, the elements of the Tuscan table, dishes with cultural and culinary notes on each, and, of course, delectable recipes. La Bellezza--the beauty. From the quality of the light falling on sublime landscapes in different seasons and Tuscan faces in moments of laughter to a silhouette of cypress trees in the early evening and a wild bird perched on a neigbor's head, In Tuscany features views of beauty that reveal the singular splendor of one of the world's best-loved and most artistic regions.
A magisterial work of gripping history, City of Fortune tells the story of the Venetian ascent from lagoon dwellers to the greatest power in the Mediterranean - an epic five hundred year voyage that encompassed crusade and trade, plague, sea battles and colonial adventure. In Venice, the path to empire unfolded in a series of extraordinary contests - the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, the fight to the finish with Genoa and a desperate defence against the Turks. Under the lion banner of St Mark, she created an empire of ports and naval bases which funnelled the goods of the world through its wharfs. In the process the city became the richest place on earth - a brilliant mosaic fashioned from what it bought, traded, borrowed and stole. Based on first hand accounts of trade and warfare, seafaring and piracy and the places where Venetians sailed and died, City of Fortune is narrative history at its finest. Beginning on Ascension Day in the year 1000 and ending with an explosion off the coast of Greece - and the calamitous news that the Portuguese had pioneered a sea route to India - it will fascinate anyone who loves Venice and the Mediterranean world.
With its genius for art and culture, there is no country in the world as wonderfully civilized (and civilizing) as Italy. But seething below this surface is a long and shadowy history of corruption, cruelty, and the generally bizarre. For centuries it has been overrun by waves of invaders, all contributing their own questionable bits of culture, and all wantonly adding to the confusion. So, how is a poor visitor supposed to make sense of this anarchic place? Co-creator of the cult favorite Paris Out of Hand, Barbara Hodgson has neatly brushed away the chaos and assembled an eclectic treasury of forgotten and overlooked oddities: long-lost popes, bloodthirsty mercenaries, tempestuous artists, and inexplicable follies. Italy Out of Hand is not a traditional guidebook, with hotel addresses and hours of operation. Rather, it is an idiosyncratic tour of a country that is too overwhelming and extravagant for most of us to comprehend without a little guidance. Illustrated with an equally eclectic selection of photographs, portraits, and art, Italy Out of Hand is the perfect companion for those who like their truths to be stranger than fiction.
Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de' Medici was arguably the first person of color to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de' Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro's noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance.Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence's oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was--and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli's Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic. For the first time, the true story is told in The Black Prince of Florence. Catherine Fletcher tells the riveting tale of Alessandro's unexpected rise and spectacular fall, unraveling centuries-old mysteries, exposing forgeries, and bringing to life the epic personalities of the Medicis, Borgias, and others as they waged sordid campaigns to rise to the top. Drawing on new research and first-hand sources, this biography of a most intriguing Renaissance figure combines archival scholarship with discussions of race and class that are still relevant today.
"This book will be of the greatest service . . . a scholarly and convenient presentation of a vast array of facts." -Times Literary Supplement
In this well-written and well-researched social history, F. R. Cowell succeeds in making Life in Ancient Rome alive and dynamic. The combination of acute historical detail and supplementary illustrations makes this book perfectly suited for the student preparing to explore classics, as well as the tourist preparing to explore twentieth-century Rome. Lucid and engaging, Life in Ancient Rome is for anyone seeking familiarity with the greatness that was Rome.
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.
Maggio delivers a magnificent journey inside the world of a Sicilian fishing community and its thousand-year-old rituals. Part memoir, part natural history, Mattanza is a riveting narrative of one woman's journey into another world. 30 photos.