Suggested Reading List
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.
Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life
Author: Frances Mayes
Description: Twenty years after "Under the Tuscan Sun," Mayes is still besotted by Italy -- her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food -- all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.
Fodor's Florence's 25 Best
Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map and essential information on the city's highlights, including sightseeing, restaurants and shopping.
Insight Guide Tuscany
Author: Insight Guides
Description: An illustrated guide in the popular series, noteworthy for its maps and illuminating essays on history, art, food and culture.
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.
La Bella Lingua
Author: Dianne Hales
Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.
Seven Seasons in Siena
Author: Robert Rodi
Description: Rodi chronicles with self-deprecating hilarity his increasingly desperate and finally successful efforts over seven years to belong in Siena.
Siena: City of Secrets
Author: Jane Tylus
Description: Combining literary flair with impressive scholarship, Tylus transforms the aloof, frozen-in-time city of Siena into a living organism by exploring its history and culture, forgotten innovations and artistic and architectural accomplishments.
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 Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy
Author: Hugh Johnson (Foreword), Nicholas Belfrage
Description: This astute guide to wine-making regions and villages in Tuscany includes a history of Tuscan grapes and culture, excellent color maps and profiles of select vintners and wines.
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 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 Renaissance, A Short History
Author: Paul Johnson
Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.
The Stones of Florence
Author: Mary McCarthy
Description: The classic history of the art, architecture and culture of Florence. Novelist McCarthy takes us on a quick and vivid tour of the history of the Medicis and the city of Florence, focusing on Renaissance art.
Author: Touring Club Italiano
Description: This regional map is even better, now printed on water- and tear-proof paper. 1:200,000.