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The Stones of Florence
From Amazon: 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.
Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City)
Winner of the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the Cannes Film Festival (1946).
As The Romans Do
from Amazon: "A celebration of the character and style of one of the world's most spectacular cities! This vibrant insider's view of the most mature city on earth is the perfect companion for anyone who loves anything Italian. 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."
Italy: A Short History
From Amazon: "Intended for the student of Italian history and culture as well as the general reader, this new edition presents a clear and concise account of the principal developments in Italian history from the Ice Age to the present day. Dr. Jonathan Morris has updated the late Professor Hearder's long-established and highly successful work with an authoritative account of development in Italy over the past decade."
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
A Room with a View
From Amazon: Helena Bonham Carter plays a young, independent-minded, upper-class woman who is trying to sort out her feelings, divided between a free spirit (Julian Sands) she meets on vacation and the bookworm (Daniel Day-Lewis) to whom she becomes engaged back home. Funny, sexy, and sophisticated, this art-house hit features a sublime supporting cast and remains a touchstone of intelligent romantic cinema.
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.
The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance
From Amazon: A dazzling history of the modest family that rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money, and ambition. Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning, Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence as well as the Italian Renaissance, which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Interwoven into the narrative are the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola. In his enthralling study, Strathern also follows the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Medici, who became queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns.
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
Tea with Mussolini
From Google: In 1930s fascist Italy, adolescent Luca (Charlie Lucas) just lost his mother. His father, a callous businessman, sends him to be taken care of by British expatriate Mary Wallace (Joan Plowright). Mary and her cultured friends -- including artist Arabella (Judi Dench), young widow Elsa (Cher), and archaeologist Georgie (Lily Tomlin) -- keep a watchful eye over the boy. But the women's cultivated lives take a dramatic turn when Allied forces declare war on Mussolini.
The Sack of Rome
From the Guardian: "It is striking how many books about Italy have deceptive titles. This one is really a biography of Silvio Berlusconi. It suffered from being published in 2006 when the media tycoon had just lost an election and his political career seemed over. The Sack of Rome pre-dates Bunga Bunga, but foreshadows it, and remains the most penetrating exploration of the doings of the man who, more than any, has shaped the outlook of today’s Italians: “Berlusconi believes that the world revolves him – the ultimate narcissistic fantasy – but he has bent reality to fit his fantasy, so that much of life in Italy does indeed revolve around him.”
Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743
From Amazon: 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.
Rome:The Biography of a City
This collection by one of Italy’s most famous writers is a magic and classical tome to put anyone in the mood for visiting this fascinating and continually surprising country.
Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves)
Voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States (1949).
Light in the Piazza
From Amazon: Meg Johnson (Olivia de Havilland) is eager to discover the glories of Italy with her beautiful daughter Clara (Yvette Mimieux), who was mentally impaired in a childhood accident.
The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall
From Amazon: At its height Renaissance Florence was a center of enormous wealth, power and influence. A republican city-state funded by trade and banking, its often bloody political scene was dominated by rich mercantile families, the most famous of which were the Medici. This enthralling book charts the family's huge influence on the political, economic and cultural history of Florence. Beginning in the early 1430s with the rise of the dynasty under the near-legendary Cosimo de' Medici, it moves through their golden era as patrons of some of the most remarkable artists and architects of the Renaissance, to the era of the Medici Popes and Grand Dukes, Florence's slide into decay and bankruptcy, and the end, in 1737, of the Medici line.
Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
From Amazon: On August 19, 1418, a competition concerning Florence's magnificent new cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore--already under construction for more than a century--was announced: "Whoever desires to make any model or design for the vaulting of the main Dome....shall do so before the end of the month of September." The proposed dome was regarded far and wide as all but impossible to build: not only would it be enormous, but its original and sacrosanct design shunned the flying buttresses that supported cathedrals all over Europe. The dome would literally need to be erected over thin air.
Insight Guides Pocket Florence
From Amazon: Compact, concise and packed full of essential information about where to go and what to do, this is an ideal on-the-move guide for exploring Florence. From top tourist attractions like the Duomo, the Accademia and the Uffizi, to cultural gems, including the glorious Santa Croce church, the beautiful medieval bridge - Ponte Vecchio, and Cappella Brancacci, the site of Masaccio's sublime frescoes, plan your perfect trip with this practical, all-in-one travel guide.
Art and Archeology of Rome