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Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History
This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.
La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. The book opens with a snapshot of Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall
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.
Italy, A Traveler's Literary Companion
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.
La Bella Lingua
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.
Renaissance Florence, The Invention of a New Art
A cultural and social history of the city focusing on the great art and famous monuments, featuring vivid color pictures and illustrations.
F is for France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders
An alphabetized catalogue of quirky French culture and history tidbits.
Four Seasons in Rome
From the author of the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning #1 New York Times bestseller All the Light We Cannot See and Cloud Cuckoo Land, Four Seasons in Rome is a memoir about art and adventures in Rome.
The Smiles of Rome, A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers
A wonderfully inspired anthology featuring excerpts from 29 writers and artists interspersed with practical suggestions for travelers.
La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A to Z
La Dolce Vita University (LDVU) is the perfect sampler for anyone curious about (or already in amore with) Italy and its remarkably rich cultural gifts, both past and present.
Italy in Mind
A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.
This engaging overview of the history of the Colosseum deconstructs Hollywood-perpetrated misconceptions of gladiator-eating lions, Nero fiddling and other myths.
A Traveler's History of Cote D'Azur
This book begins with Cote d'Azur's early days and moves through to the present in a comprehensive, but concise, easily readable form. It should help travelers relate what they are seeing today to what it was before.
Award-winning, bestselling author Jess Walter brings us to the Italian Riviera in this glittering love story. Based on actual events.
Italy, A Short History
Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.
A treasured collection of 200 lively folk tales presented by one of the modern masters of Italian fiction. Calvino's elegant rendering of these old stories reveals his great affection for the folkloric traditions of his childhood.
The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings
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.
Insight Guides; Explore Nice & the French Riviera
Explore Nice and the French Riviera is part of a new series and is the ideal pocket companion when discovering this colorful and glamorous part of southern France.
The Seven Hills of Rome, A Geological Tour of the Eternal City
With a timeline, chapters on each of the seven hills, Tiber Floodplain and overview of geology, this accessible guide, written by experts in geology, culture and history of Rome, shows the importance of the geological setting to the history of the city over the millennia.
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World
Diverse scholars contribute chapters to this authoritative, illuminating overview of history, art, society and life of Roman and the Roman world. With maps, drawings and illustrations throughout.
Roman Art and Architecture
Sir Mortimer Wheeler describes Roman art, architecture and town planning in this abundantly illustrated book in the World of Art series.
The Italian Renaissance
A well-written history of the Renaissance, its artists and thinkers, with chapters on Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Women of the Renaissance.
As The Romans Do
In 1995, after a twenty-year love affair with Italy, Alan Epstein fulfilled his dream to live in Rome. In As the Romans Do, he celebrates the spirit of this stylish, dramatic, ancient city that formed the hub of a far-flung empire and introduced the Mediterranean culture to the rest of the world.
Nice has long been seen by some as a place with a different side to the sunny holiday vibe, a place full of organized crime and official corruption. This short book from 1982 denounces Nice’s corruption – it’s other title is Nice Côté Ombre (The Dark Side of Nice).
Rick Steves' Snapshot Italy's Cinque Terre
A slim guide to the Cinque Terre region with Steves' expert-selected hotels, travel advice, major sites and places to relax.
Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743
A magnificent, never-before-published collection of every painting and fresco on display in the Uffizi, the Galleria Palatina of the Pitti Palace, the Accademia, and the Duomo, and more -- nearly 2,000 works of art -- all presented in a beautiful slipcased package.
The French Riviera, A Cultural History
From Roman outpost to Napoleonic battleground and playground for the rich and famous, this marvelously informed cultural guide covers the place of the Riviera in history, literature, art, architecture and the imagination.
The Stones of Florence
Renowned for her sharp literary style, essayist and fiction writer Mary McCarthy offers a unique history of Florence, from its inception to the dominant role it came to play in the world of art, architecture, and Italian culture, that captures the brilliant Florentine spirit and revisits the legendary figures—Dante, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and others—who exemplify it so iconically. Her most cherished sights and experiences color this timeless, graceful portrait of a city that's as famous as it is alluring.
Tasting French Terroir: The History of an Idea
This book explores the origins and significance of the French concept of terroir (the specific taste of a particular place), demonstrating that the way the French eat their food and drink their wine today derives from a cultural mythology that developed between the Renaissance and the Revolution.
Rome, A Cultural History
Not a comprehensive history, but a good, easy-to-read introduction to the city and its landmarks that will appeal both to first time visitors and those who know and love the city.