I enjoyed this very much as a fairly effortless read that covers Renaissance Florence quite generally and even includes some information I haven't come across elsewhere. The book is written as if it were addressing you during the times it describes (making it somewhat light-hearted). With short chapters on each subject, it runs through numerous issues: religion, the day-to-day Florentine life, politics, buildings and attractions, art and artists, executions and crime, tournaments and tradition, and even the surrounding cities or villages - like San Gimignano.
Even if you're keen to study Florence/Tuscany seriously, it is worth having this text for its more specific examples and details of Florentine life, which are difficult to find in most history books on the subject. It includes interesting little notes, excerpts from letters and quotes from characters of the time.
Thames and Hudson always manage to create beautiful books and this one is no different; it's well bound and includes two short sections of colour images as well as smaller black and white images on most of the pages.
I loved this book. It is so well written and blends scholarly information with anecdote in a witty and lighthearted way. C. FitzRoy conjures up the world of late 15th century Florence with fascinating details on the day to day lives and loves of her citizens as well as giving interesting art historical information. I have been to Florence and Tuscany many times but will definitely take this book with me next time I go. Because it is such a good read, it is also perfect to read at home and dream of ones next trip. Really well laid out too with lots of good illustrations. I really recommend this book to anyone who loves Italy.
This is THE guide to Florence. So cleverly written and very witty with interesting and amusing snippets of information which are fascinating even if you are not planning an imminent trip to Florence. Very easy to read and beautifully presented. Also makes a wonderful present.
Fantastic! So lovely to find a book on Florence that gives a light hearted and entertaining history of the city, full of lots of interesting snippets. One almost feels one is there, in a by gone era,and at the same time, it is a wonderful guide book to modern day Italy. A beautiful book to enjoy oneself and a great present to give to anyone interested in art, travel or history.
As a mature student reading History of Art we have studied Florence in depth and this lovely book gives one a feel of what life was like in Florence during the Renaissance. It is unlike any other book on the market and is a must have.
I know of no other book like this, it's a unique guide. Step back in time and make discoveries you could never have imagined. The City of the Medici was a place of intrigue, no-one and nothing is quite what it seems on the surface. Find out how the Florentine ladies achieved attractive pale skins. Discover the Florentines in all walks of life in a period of history that we have come to think of as the height of culture. This guide brings forth the sights and sounds of an ancient city.
I first went to Florence as a young family man; on a private beach shared with friends beneath a hillside old-fashioned French villa near Saint Raphael - more idyllic is hard to imagine - my wife said she wanted to break the holiday and drive to Florence. After a brief negotiation, obediently, I did - a spectacular drive along the coast, during which children can count the breath-taking bridges, tunnels and viaducts and note the sharp contrast between southern France and northern Italy. On reaching Florence, establishing home, we ignored advice and drove to Florence, parked two hundred metres from the Ponte Vecchio and had our car looked after by a millimetre perfect but friendly Italian car-parking attendant we got to know well. Mornings were children's, afternoons and most evenings, mums' and dads'. (Buskers are in a different class in Florence. Remember to rise between items to allow the air to waft around your hotter regions as the flagstone get hot there!) If we had had this book then, we would have had a much more enjoyable and informative time. I still remember seeing Filippo Brunelleschi's (1377 - 1446) dome at the end of a long street, a brief moment and a picture I knew came alive. (Like driving through Provence seeing a mountain I felt I knew and realizing it was Montagne Sainte-Victoire, shown to me by Cezanne.) Florence is a living museum, in some places complete with the smells, but a marvellous living museum nevertheless. We saw all the main sights and a few more besides. In the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore - the Duomo - up Giotto's Campanile, standing before Andrea Pisano's Baptistry doors, standing outside Sante Croce, the severe Franciscan church and burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini. or just dangling or feet in the Arno, this book would have brought the Renaissance city more alive for us. Sensibly priced and written in the style of a guide book but with more humour and wry jokes than is usually the case, it is an excellent read, filled with fascinating details which, like a guide book, could be read standing in the very spots. It is divided into sensible chapters, allowing convenient dipping in and out and the boxes indicating little snippets of information are interesting. They are also a sensible size and fit easily into a small rucksack or larger camera bag. I have the whole series and recommend them all; even with different authors, the editorial team and new writers have successfully sustained the writing style and original idea. Highly recommended.