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The City of Falling Angels
John Berendt
1594200580
September 27, 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
Past Midnight: John Berendt on the Mysteries of Venice

Just as John Berendt's first book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, was settling into its remarkable four-year run on The New York Times bestseller list, he discovered a new city whose local mysteries and traditions were more than a match for Savannah, whose hothouse eccentricities he had celebrated in the first book. The new city was Venice, and he spent much of the last decade wandering through its canals and palazzos, seeking to understand a place that any native will tell you is easy to visit but hard to know. For travelers to Venice, whether by armchair or vaporetto, he has selected his 10 (actually 11) Books to Read on Venice. And he took the time to answer a few of our questions about his charming new book, The City of Falling Angels:...



In Tuscany
Frances Mayes
0767905350
Dec 2000
Hardcover
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Book Review
Frances Mayes continues her love letter to Italy in this sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. The restoration of her home, Bramasole, is complete, but Tuscany keeps unfolding. While the earlier books chronicled her and her husband's first years in Italy, this one is less full of stories than meditations on the elements of Tuscan pleasures, accompanied by photographs that give color to the place Mayes has described so lovingly and well.

"What makes the people so friendly, no, not just friendly, so genuinely kind and generous?" Mayes asks an Italian friend, then turns her intense attention to answer the question herself. Her answers range from baci (kisses), an intimate expression that "keeps alive the joy we all are born with," to la piazza, the navel of Italy's intense sense of community, to a deep love...



In the Company of the Courtesan
Sarah Dunant
1400063817
February 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Renaissance Italy enchants in Dunant's delicious second historical (after The Birth of Venus), as a wily dwarf Bucino Teodoldo recounts fantastic escapades with his mistress, celebrated courtesan Fiammetta Bianchini. Escaping the 1527 sacking of Rome with just the clothes on their backs (and a few swallowed jewels in their bellies), Fiammetta and Bucino seek refuge in Venice. Starved, stinking, her beauty destroyed, Fiammetta despairs—but through cunning, will, Bucino's indefatigable loyalty and the magic of a mysterious blind healer called La Draga, she eventually recovers. Aided by a former adversary, who now needs her as much as she needs him, Fiammetta finds a wealthy patron to establish her in her familiar glory. Through Bucino's sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued narration, Dunant crafts a...


Traveller's History of Italy
Valerio Lintner
1566565219
September 2003
Paperback
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Midwest Book Review
The history of Italy is central to the European experience. Through the supremacy of Rome, Italy enjoyed its greatest influence, as Roman power stretched from the Atlantic to the Borders of Mesopotamia, and from the Scottish Lowlands to the Sahara Desert. Italy remains a land of fascinating history and immense diversity of people and culture. The country's northern regions are thoroughly European, while its southern extremities are almost North African in character and climate. A Traveller's History Of Italy moves from Italy's pre-historic and Etruscan civilizations, through the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, the creation of modern Italy, fascism and World War II, and the role of Italy in today's Europe, including the political crises of the early 1990s. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable...


The Early History of Rome

0140448098
June 2002
Paperback
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Book Description
With stylistic brilliance and historical imagination, the first five books of Livy's monumental history of Rome record events from the foundation of Rome through the history of the seven kings, the establishment of the Republic and its internal struggles, up to Rome's recovery after the fierce Gallic invasion of the fourth century bc. Livy vividly depicts the great characters, legends, and tales, including the story of Romulus and Remus. Reprinting Robert Ogilvie's lucid 1971 introduction, this highly regarded edition now boasts a new preface, examining the text in light of recent Livy scholarship, informative maps, bibliography, and an index.

Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt with an introduction by Robert Ogilvie.

Language Notes
Text: English...


Brunelleschi's Dome : How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
Ross King
0142000159
November 1, 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
Filippo Brunelleschi's design for the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence remains one of the most towering achievements of Renaissance architecture. Completed in 1436, the dome remains a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Its span of more than 140 feet exceeds St Paul's in London and St Peter's in Rome, and even outdoes the Capitol in Washington, D.C., making it the largest dome ever constructed using bricks and mortar. The story of its creation and its brilliant but "hot-tempered" creator is told in Ross King's delightful Brunelleschi's Dome.

Both dome and architect offer King plenty of rich material. The story of the dome goes back to 1296, when work began on the cathedral, but it was only in 1420, when Brunelleschi won a competition over his bitter rival Lorenzo Ghiberti to design the...



The Italians
Luigi Barzini
0684825007
July 1996
Paperback
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Review
The New YorkerSearching into every corner of Italian life and scrutinizing every cliché concerning it, from the charm of the people (an illusion, he maintains) to the consolations of la dolce vita (another one), Mr. Barzini has written an invaluable and astringent guidebook to his country.

Review
The New Yorker Searching into every corner of Italian life and scrutinizing every cliché concerning it, from the charm of the people (an illusion, he maintains) to the consolations of la dolce vita (another one), Mr. Barzini has written an invaluable and astringent guidebook to his country.

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History
Elsa Morante
1586420046
February 2000
Paperback
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From Library Journal
Written in 1974 but first published in the United States in 1977, this was Morante's first novel in 18 years. As the cryptic title indicates, the theme of this novel, said LJ's reviewer, is how "history obscures individual lives." Though the book portrays the brutal existence of one Italian family after World War II, LJ's reviewer added that "there is so much to praise in this long, wonderfully rich novel, including the effortless translation, that its flawsDoccasional clumsiness of narration, repetitionDare minor indeed" (LJ 4/15/77). The edition contains a new foreword by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison. Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description
History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding...


Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation (Enterprise)
Stanley Bing
0393060268
March 15, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Fortune columnist Bing (Sun-Tzu Was a Sissy) condenses the 1,200-year history of Rome into a slim, wildly entertaining satire for businessmen, particularly those who happen to be fans of HBO's Rome. Irreverent without ever slipping into Dave Barry–style logical anarchy, the volume renders epic history in corporate-speak, providing enough substance and insight along the way to keep readers' attention. As Bing notes, much of Roman history consists of "wars, wars and more wars," and he skips over big chunks of it. "I give up," he shrugs, focusing instead on the decisions and personalities of the colorful leaders, from Romulus to Caligula. Most interesting are the author's discourses on why Rome's "corporate strategy" worked so well for so long ("corporations willing to kill people do better...


Italy out of Hand: A Capricious Tour
Barbara Hodgson
0811831469
March 2005
Hardcover
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Book Description
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...


The Travels of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
0451529510
Oct 2004
Paperback
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Library Journal
A timeless addition to any travel collection. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description
His pilgrimage through the East began in 1271 when, still a teenager, he found himself traversing the most exotic lands-from the dazzling Mongol empire to Tibet and Burma. This fascinating chronicle still serves as the most vivid depiction of the mysterious East in the Middle Ages.

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Survival In Auschwitz
Primo Levi
0684826801
September 1, 1995
Paperback
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Book Review
Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi's deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Levi, then a 25-year-old chemist, spent 10 months in the camp. Even Levi's most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. Would you not do the same? If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him something to eat...


April Blood
Lauro Martines
019517609X
Jan 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
One April Sunday in 1478, assassins-with the support of a member of the Pazzi, one of Florence's leading families-killed a member of the ruling family of Florence, Giuliano de Medici, and wounded his brother, Lorenzo. In the hands of Martines, a professor emeritus of European history at UCLA, the rebellion and Lorenzo's ensuing crackdown becomes a prism through which to view Renaissance Florence. He details the many people involved, from bankers to the king of Naples and even Pope Sixtus. Long seen as a "Renaissance man," Lorenzo was a poet and a patron of the arts. But Martines turns the story on its head. He sees the plot as a reaction to the corruption in Medici rule and the crackdown-which included hangings and prohibitions against marrying female members of the Pazzi family-as overly harsh: "[I]t required...


Romeo and Juliet (SparkNotes No Fear Shakespeare)
SparkNotes Editors
1586638459
April 2003
Paperback
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Puccini : His Life and Works (Master Musicians Series)
Julian Budden
0198164688


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From Library Journal
The literature on Puccini continues to grow with these two books. Italian-born Budden (The Operas of Verdi) here synthesizes Puccini's musical endeavors with his life. Using a straightforward, chronological approach, giving exact dates when possible, he treats each opera in a separate chapter, devoting much space to character and plot and citing contemporary reviews and subsequent reception. He also mentions Puccini's other instrumental and vocal compositions. Informed lay readers will gain insight while theoreticians will appreciate Budden's deeper musical analysis. His elegant turns of phrase ("rhythmic scaffolding") and obvious expertise combine in an exceptional whole, though a few Britishisms may confuse American readers. A list of works, useful biographical information on personalities mentioned...


Mussolini's Italy: Life under the Dictatorship, 1915-1945
R. J. B. Bosworth
1594200785
February 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. With this insightful, comprehensive study, Bosworth secures his place as one of the two leading historians in the English-speaking world (the other being Paul Ginsborg) of 20th-century Italy. Bosworth begins with an admission that he has embarked on an "impossible project": "to unveil the lives of Italians" from all walks of life "under a generation of dictatorship." Impossible, indeed, but what a grand attempt at a synthesis of social and political history he produces. While Mussolini and the party officials are at the center of the story, Bosworth dips into the Fascist police files to see what ordinary Italians were up to during the dictatorship, in order to portray a "fascism of the everyday." A good-natured drunken night on the town, ending with the singing of antifascist songs in the...


Sprezzatura
Peter D'Epiro
038572019X
Oct 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
"Everyone knows the difficulty of things that are exquisite and well done," the Renaissance philosopher Baldassare Castiglione once remarked. "So to have facility in such things gives rise to the greatest wonder." Italians call that artful facility sprezzatura, a term, Peter d'Epiro and Mary Desmond Pinkowish maintain, that well describes the nation's genius.

They have reason to celebrate: Italy, after all, has exerted an influence in world affairs and culture all out of proportion to its size and population, and has done so for hundreds of years. Among the authors' subjects are the navigators Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and Giovanni Verrazano, whose transoceanic voyages changed the course of world history; Andrea Palladio, the architect whose theories have guided designers and builders to the...



Between Salt Water and Holy Water: A History of Southern Italy
Tommaso Astarita
0393058646
July 2005
Hardcover
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From Booklist
The history of Italy tends to focus on events from Rome northward, too often giving short shift to the peculiarly named "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies." Astarita does a masterful job of correcting this error and bringing to life for English speakers the people and events of these lands so central to the entire Mediterranean basin. European by geography, the region had close ties to Africa from the time of Carthage onward. Post-Roman Empire southern Italy fell under the sway of the Normans in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and Astarita recounts the era of kings Roger I and II, who dealt with the diverse powers of the papacy and sizable Muslim populations in their realm. Astarita is at his best discussing South Italy and Sicily's social history, the roles of religion and superstition as animating forces in the populace's...


The Birth of Venus
Sarah Dunant (Author)
1400060737
February 17, 2004
Hardcover
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Book Review
Sarah Dunant's gorgeous and mesmerizing novel, Birth of Venus, draws readers into a turbulent 15th-century Florence, a time when the lavish city, steeped in years of Medici family luxury, is suddenly besieged by plague, threat of invasion, and the righteous wrath of a fundamentalist monk. Dunant masterfully blends fact and fiction, seamlessly interweaving Florentine history with the coming-of-age story of a spirited 14-year-old girl. As Florence struggles in Savonarola's grip, a serial killer stalks the streets, the French invaders creep closer, and young Alessandra Cecchi must surrender her "childish" dreams and navigate her way into womanhood. Readers are quickly seduced by the simplicity of her unconventional passions that are more artistic than domestic:

Dancing is one of the many things I should be good at that I...



Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home In Italy
Frances Mayes
0767900383
September 1997
Paperback
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Book Review
In this memoir of her buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in Tuscany, Frances Mayes reveals the sensual pleasure she found living in rural Italy, and the generous spirit she brought with her. She revels in the sunlight and the color, the long view of her valley, the warm homey architecture, the languor of the slow paced days, the vigor of working her garden, and the intimacy of her dealings with the locals. Cooking, gardening, tiling and painting are never chores, but skills to be learned, arts to be practiced, and above all to be enjoyed. At the same time Mayes brings a literary and intellectual mind to bear on the experience, adding depth to this account of her enticing rural idyll. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
...


The Borgia Bride : A Novel
Jeanne Kalogridis
0312341385
May 1, 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Against the backdrop of 15th-century Italian internecine feuds, debauchery and Vatican corruption, Kalogridis's latest historical novel (after The Burning Times) chronicles with compelling sweep the story of the ravishing and iron-willed Sancha de Aragon, princess of Naples. Illegitimate daughter to the coldhearted duke of Calabria (briefly king of Naples), she is used to establish ties to the feared and influential House of Borgia when her father betroths her to the younger scion, Jofre. Much to the dismay of her beloved younger brother Alfonso, Sancha is sent from Naples to rule with Prince Jofre in remote Squillace. War with the French will later briefly return her to Naples, but rumors of her beauty reach her lecherous father-in-law, Pope Alexander VI, who recalls her and Jofre to opulent Rome. There, she...


The Dark Heart of Italy
Tobias Jones
0865477000
June 2004
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
With his first book, Jones must now be admitted to the company of writers such as Alexander Stille and Tim Parks who seem to understand Italy and the Italians better than the natives do themselves. Jones excels at writing about the passions aroused on the soccer field and the dirty machinations in the club offices in an entertaining chapter entitled "Penalties and Impunity." He realizes, though, that soccer is just a manifestation of a deeper, lurking cancer: Italy's dismal mediacracy. It all began in the wake of "Tangentopoli," the massive corruption scandal in the early 1990s that brought down a regime that included the eternally powerful Christian Democrats and their partners in a Faustian pact, the Socialists. Into this political vacuum stepped the irrepressible owner of the country's most successful soccer...


The Stones of Florence
Mary McCarthy
0156027631
Nov 2002
Paperback
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Book Review
It becomes evident from the first page of The Stones of Florence that Mary McCarthy loves her subject. Yet hers is the steady love of a long acquaintance, an affection that has deepened from mere infatuation to a steady, clear-eyed regard. In this witty tribute to Florence, Mary McCarthy explores the city's past and present, in the process offering up a tour that covers everything from a description of oil painting to the remarkable history behind Florence's many towers. The Stones of Florence is ideal for reading on the plane ride to Italy, but it's also perfect for armchair travelers, art lovers, and students of the Renaissance.

Book Description
This is a unique tribute to Florence, combining history, artistic description, and social observation. A memorable...


The Cheese and the Worms : The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller
Carlo Ginzburg, et al
0801843871
March 1, 1992
Paperback
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Review
"A wonderful book... Ginzburg is a historian with an insatiable curiosity, who pursues even the faintest of clues with all the zest of a born detective until every fragment of evidence can be fitted into place. The work of reconstruction is brilliant, the writing superbly readable, and by the end of the book the reader who has followed Dr. Ginzburg in his wanderings through the labyrinthine mind of the miller of the Friuli will take leave of this strange and quirky old man with genuine regret." -- J. H. Elliott, New York Review of Books

Language Notes
Text: English, Italian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy
Frances Mayes
076790284X
April 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
Work's still not completely finished on Bramasole, the Tuscan house that California-based poet and bestselling author Frances Mayes bought a decade ago and has been fixing up every summer since. Nevertheless, in Bella Tuscany, she goes out--in search of Italy and Italian life. The sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun is awash with sensual discovery, from Sicilian markets with "rainbows of shining fish on ice" to the aqueous dream of Venice "shimmering in the diluted sunlight." Wherever she is, Mayes celebrates everyday rituals, such as picking wild asparagus, "dark spears poking out of the dirt ... stalks as thin as yarn" and driving through country rains, as "the green landscape smears across the windshield" for buffalo mozzarella and demijohns of sfuso--bulk wine kept fresh with a slick of olive oil on top. Mayes also ventures...


Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
Ross King
0142003697
November 2003
Paperback
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Book Review
Almost 500 years after Michelangelo Buonarroti frescoed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the site still attracts throngs of visitors and is considered one of the artistic masterpieces of the world. Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling unveils the story behind the art's making, a story rife with all the drama of a modern-day soap opera.

The temperament of the day was dictated by the politics of the papal court, a corrupt and powerful office steeped in controversy; Pope Julius II even had a nickname, "Il Papa Terrible," to prove it. Along with his violent outbursts and warmongering, Pope Julius II took upon himself to restore the Sistine Chapel and pretty much intimidated Michelangelo into painting the ceiling even though the artist considered himself primarily a sculptor and was particularly unfamiliar with...



The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
Jacob Burckhardt
0375759263
Apr 2002
Paperback
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Review
“The greatest single book on the history of Italy between 1350 and 1550.”—Hajo Holborn

Review
?The greatest single book on the history of Italy between 1350 and 1550.??Hajo Holborn

See all Editorial Reviews

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