Suggested Reading List
A Farewell to Arms
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Description: Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during World War I, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver.
Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
Author: Ross King
Description: The story of the design and construction of the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a tale rife with politics, cut-throat competition and mighty inspiration.
D.H. Lawrence and Italy
Author: D.H. Lawrence
Description: This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places, his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia.
In the Company of the Courtesan
Author: Sarah Dunant
Description: Dunant paints a vivid, earthy portrait of Renaissance Venice in this absorbing novel of intrigue, ambition and love -- cleverly narrated by the wily dwarf Bucino Teodoldo, loyal companion of the courtesan.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Author: Beppe Severgnini
Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
On the Making of Gardens
Author: George Sitwell
Description: A handsome edition of Sitwell's 1909 meditation on the Renaissance gardens of Tuscany, Rome and the Lake District. It's not a handbook but rather an inspiring analysis of the transformation -- and magic -- of gardens.
Palladio's Venice, Architecture And Society In A Renaissance Republic
Author: Cooper, Tracy E.
Description: The ecclesiastical works of Palladio, born in Padua but most known for his work in Venice, are explored here in this oversize book featuring photographs, illustrations, and background information on Palladio's lesser-known works as well as his work on churches such as the San Giorgio Maggiore.
Palladio, The Complete Buildings
Author: Paolo Marton
Description: An excellent reprint of the 1989 classic, for fans of the Venice-based architect Palladio and his Roman and Greek influenced designs. Light on text, and heavy on dozens of excellent exterior and interior photographs of the master's villas and buildings.
Ruling Peacefully, Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga and Patrician Reform in Sixteenth-Century Italy
Author: Paul Murphy
Description: An in-depth study of Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, a Renaissance nobleman and influential reformer who helped ease tensions and assuage relations with Protestants during the Catholic Church's uneasy transition period in the 16th century.
The Art of the Renaissance
Author: Peter Murray
Description: A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.
The Deadly Sisterhood, A Story of Women, Power, and Intrigue in the Italian Renaissance
Author: Leonie Frieda
Description: A biography of eight intelligent, influential women from the well-known houses of Italy--among them Medici, Este, and Aragona---and their immense influence on the politics of the day in the Renaissance era. From the Author of Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France.
The Food of Italy
Author: Waverly Root
Description: Evocative of Italy and its diverse cuisine, this classic book, organized geographically, offers a cook's tour of the country. It's a well-informed and wonderful culinary guide.
The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall
Author: Christopher Hibbert
Description: A well-written, entertaining history of the Medicis in Renaissance Florence. Great to read before going to Florence, where the influence of the Medicis and the artists they supported is still very much in evidence.
The Perfect House, A Journey with Renaissance Master Andrew Palladio
Author: Witold Rybczynski
Description: A professor of urban studies and popular author, Rybczynski is an enlightening guide to Palladio and his influence in Italy and abroad.
The Raphael Affair
Author: Iain Pears
Description: In the first of the popular Jonathan Argyll art mysteries, Argyll sneaks into a small church near Campo dei Fiori identify an undiscovered Raphael -- unfortunately for him, the painting has disappeared.
The World of Venice
Author: Jan Morris
Description: Morris displays her talent for research, telling anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited portrait of a beloved city, its history and inhabitants. If you are going to read one book on Venice, we recommend this favorite.
Venice Destination Map
Author: National Geographic Maps
Description: A waterproof city map of Venice at a scale of 1:6,500, featuring 3-D reliefs of top attractions.