Suggested Reading List
Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History
Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)
Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.
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.
Eyewitness: Ancient Rome
Author: Simon James, Nick Nichols (Photographer)
Description: A visually rich survey of ancient Rome, this book in the excellent Eyewitness series explores daily life and history in the city and the outlying empire.
Author: Borch Maps
Description: A convenient laminated map of Italy at a scale of 1:800,000 with excellent topographic detail, an index and large maps of Sicily and Sardinia.
Italy in Mind
Author: Alice Powers
Description: A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.
Italy, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Lawrence Venuti (Editor)
Description: Not just a literary companion, this anthology is also a who's who of contemporary Italian writers who capture the spirit, history and allure of the country.
Kids Italian Picture Dictionary
Author: Inc. Berlitz International
Description: 1,000 words central to a child's everyday life -- animals, flowers, people, colors, numbers and activities -- teach even the youngest readers Italian. Each word is illustrated and accompanied by a phonetic transcription and phrase.
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.
Leonardo Da Vinci
Author: Kathleen Krull
Description: Beginning with a vivid description of superstition and squalor in the Middle Ages, Krull sets Da Vinci's extraordinary life in the context of his extraordinary time. A volume in the Giants of Science series, geared for grades 4-8.
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
Author: Ross King
Description: Presented with flair and backed by a wealth of research, King's captivating chronicle of Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel tells the story of its conception and creation.
Renaissance Florence on 5 Florins a Day
Author: Charles Fitzroy
Description: This fun guide leads visitors of all ages (and budgets!) on a tour of 15th century Florence and the surrounding countryside, including cathedrals, museums, festivals and elaborate feasts.
Author: David MacAulay
Description: The incomparable MacAulay depicts Rome, ancient and modern, in this illustrated book told from the point of view of a wayward pigeon. For readers of all ages.
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 City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings
Author: R.W.B. Lewis
Description: A vivid tour of the city and its riches by the fine biographer of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Lewis has written what he calls "a partial biography of Florence," beautifully interweaving the personal and the historical.
Author: Keith Hopkins, Mary Beard
Description: This engaging overview of the history of the Colosseum deconstructs Hollywood-perpetrated misconceptions of gladiator-eating lions, Nero fiddling and other myths.
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 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.
This Is Rome
Author: Miroslav Sasek
Description: Sasek navigates Rome's busy, winding streets to show us visit well-known landmarks and the eccentricities of modern Roman life. A reprint of the classic, first published in 1960.
Venice: An Illustrated Miscellany
Author: Philippe Sollers
Description: An illustrated literary stroll through the cultural heritage of Italy’s most romantic city that leads from Shakespeare through Henry James, Simone de Beauvoir and Antonio Vivaldi.