Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
150 years young
on 12 January 2011
Of all the books that give a general account of the Renaissance in Italy, I've found this one to be the most entertaining, enlightening and thought-provoking. What I enjoyed most of all is the abundance of specific details in this book, which may be due to its very well-structured contents: it touches on everything and more, and even gets down to the 'nitty gritty' details where it can.
It begins by looking at despots, dynasties, republics and society. Once groups are dealt with, personalities are explored. It then moves into antiquity and the significance of humanism, the classics etc for Italy at the time. The exploration of the world is addressed, followed by categorised information about society - festivals, customs, even a paragraph or two on what measures some women took to improve their appearance. To close, Burckhardt looks at religion, morality, and the general state of mind in renaissance Italy.
I've never read a more information-packed book, full of characters and events; it is by his genius that Burckhardt managed to stitch this altogether so seamlessly.