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Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope

I enjoyed this book for both its accounting of both the history of Rome and of the fascinating, though excessively greedy, Olipia Maidalchini. The au
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Nov 05, 2011
Pope John XXIII
This book is in two parts: one a general history of the papacy; the second a biography of John XXIII. Cahill is a practicing Catholic (I assume) and a ...more
Dec 24, 2010
Dec 22, 2010
Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World
Considering that I like almost any book about Italy, this one was a disappointment. I got the distinct feeling that Mr. Doerr, having been selected as ...more
Jan 2008
Mar 20, 2011
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

It took me a bit to fully enter into this story. I felt like a few page primer on humanist history in Europe would have been helpful rather than the
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Dec 03, 2011
On the Road with Francis of Assisi: A Timeless Journey Through Umbria and Tuscany, and Beyond
Ms. Francke does a graceful job of blending personal travel stories with the story of Francis. She is not particularly religious, just curious -so a g ...more
Jan 2010
Feb 06, 2010
A Season with Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Character . . . and Goals!
The most amazing thing to me about this book was the eventual integration of Tim Parks into the culture of the football club. He manages to illuminate ...more
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Dec 27, 2013
Great Escapes: Italy
I love Italy but have relatively little interest in interior design. This book caught my eye and, like any good coffe table travel book, carried me of ...more
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Oct 27, 2012
Across the Bridge of Sighs: More Venetian Stories (Venetian Stories, #2)
This is a collection of linked short stories that presents some aspects of Venetian culture, and not necessarily the attractive ones, in a compelling ...more
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Mar 20, 2011
Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism
Not always "easy reading" but a solid exploration of how Italy moved from a place where Jews were at home to a place where they were at risk during WW ...more
Jan 2007
Aug 19, 2010
Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe
Thomas Cahill is very opionated and a bit esoteric at times but his relatively informal style of history appeals to me and he comes up with enough int ...more
Dec 22, 2010
Dec 22, 2010
The Monster of Florence
Not my thing. I did pick up some aspects of Italian culture such as how the legal system sometimes operates from convoluted logic and irrational, almo ...more
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Nov 11, 2012
No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice
You can learn a lot of things about Venice by reading this very funny account of going a little overboard for the Lion City. This would be a great boo ...more
Jan 2009
Jan 03, 2011
Miss Garnet's Angel
Elements of fantasy, contemporary fiction, and Venetian history are woven successfully together into a quite readable book. Take it with you to Venice ...more
Jan 2007
Mar 20, 2011
Dances with Luigi: A Grandson's Search for His Italian Roots
This book is a autobiographical and tiringly self-focussed at times, but in the end I liked it and thought the author had grown because of his quest.
Nov 27, 2010
Dec 04, 2010
I read two fictional back-to-back accounts of Augustus' life and had a slight preference for this one. Augustus comes off as pretty much a good guy - ...more
Sep 02, 2013
Sep 01, 2013
The Last Gondola
Somehow I don't find this series very satisfying, but I keep reading because I love Venice.
Jan 2008
Jun 12, 2011
Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's
I thought this book was especially good on the many popes that had a hand in the building of St. Peters. Enough detail was provided to make key points ...more
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Oct 08, 2011
Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy

Not bad bit the popes do begin to run togethet...
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Jun 19, 2012
Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History

This book is not a particularly easy read for a non-historian. I have been to Rome several times and read several previous histories. I found a few o
Nov 04, 2012
Dec 03, 2011
Venice: Pure City
To me this book wasn't as good as Gary Wills' Venice:The Lion City. It felt formulaic. I haven't read Ackroyd's other work but I wondered if he starte ...more
Mar 11, 2012
Jan 16, 2012
The Villa Triste
This book suceeds as a blend of historical fiction and modern mystery though I rated it 4 more for its history content than for its narrative strength ...more
May 05, 2012
Nov 05, 2011
The Force of Things: A Marriage in War and Peace
This is the third book I have read by Alexander Stille, his most personal to date, and I clearly enjoy his sensibility. The story of his parents' live ...more
Jan 05, 2014
Feb 13, 2013
City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction
This book is often listed in guides as something that should be read about Italy. I finally tracked it down in the Boulder, CO library and thought it ...more
Nov 15, 2010
Dec 04, 2010
La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
Although I picked up a few useful Italian colloquilialisms, I got tired of this book before I finished it. The anecdotes of the author's vacations and ...more
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Nov 27, 2011
Venice, the Tourist Maze: A Cultural Critique of the World�s Most Touristed City
I got this from an elibrary collection and would recommend it for those with a strong interest in Venice. It is an academic text but that means it cov ...more
Mar 11, 2012
Jan 16, 2012
The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II
Reads like a dissertation; jammed with facts and stories that are of varying levels of interest.
Apr 03, 2011
Feb 27, 2011
Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
This book is a positive discussion of a changing Sicily through the eyes of semi-elite wine growers. I'd read it again before traveling to Sicily.
Jul 07, 2012
May 25, 2012
Naples Declared

This book had a wealth of historic and literary references, some of which I couldn't follow. Still, I stayed with it and now I am much more intereste
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Jun 24, 2012
The Charterhouse of Parma
I abandoned this book because it was confusing and just boring. It may have been the translation but I had no idea why this book is so famous.
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Oct 13, 2012
The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History
The atlas component is what sets this book apart. It includes essays but it's the maps that make sense of the content in a visual way.
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Dec 22, 2010
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