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Reading Italy

Where I’ll end up going in January on my annual trip is not even on my original list of places that now I have written off due to security concern. Turkey was the first one written off the list, followed by Egypt and Jordan. Italy is an unexpected destination. To read up on it I’ll devote the entire fall poring on the history and literature of Italy.

The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance (Peter Murray, 1969). Heavily illustrated, this classic presents the architectural life of Italy from the 13th through the 16th century.

A Concise History of Italy (Christopher Duggan, 1994). Duggan’s history starts with the fall of Rome but zooms in on the political difficulties of unified Italy over the last two centuries.

A History of Venice (John Julius Norwich, 1977). English Lord Norwich’s engaging account spans more than a century, from Venice’s fifth-century origins to the arrival of Napoleon.

The House of Medici (Christopher Hibbert, 1974). Florence’s first family of the Renaissance included power-hungry bankers, merchants, popes, art patrons–and two queens of France.

A Small Place in Italy (Eric Newby, 1994). A young American couple tries to renovate a Tuscan farmhouse in the late 1960s.

The Stones of Florence (Mary McCarthy, 1956). McCarthy applies wit and keen observation to produce a quirky, impressionistic investigation of Florence and its history.


3 Responses

  1. Besides recent favorite Elena Ferrante, my all-time favorite Italian author is Alberto Moravia. Two short excellent novels of his are ‘Boredom’ and ‘Contempt’, but he wrote a lot of great stuff including lengthy novels.

  2. Congratulations for not including the overrated Elena Ferrante

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