Memoirs and Biographies We Love discussion

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Need interesting books on Italian history

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message 1: by Melodi (new)

Melodi We're going to be traveling to Italy this summer and I wanted to do some reading/research to have a better understanding about the history, art, life, etc. I'm thinking Michelangelo, ancient Rome, even recent events, etc. I have no idea where to start looking for a good read. I don't want it to be a text book, know what I mean? Any suggestions I would love! Thanks in advance!


message 2: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Melodi, I shelve my books by where they take place. Here is a link to my Italy shelf: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

You must have heard of The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo or Pope Joan or Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope. I lovedThe Homecoming Party, born in an Italo-Albanian coummunity in Calabria. I also liked That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story. There are fiction and non-fiction books on the list. I am sure you will find books that interest you.


message 3: by Melodi (new)

Melodi Thanks so much Chrissie, I thought I'd hear from you! I have read Pope Joan and enjoyed it years back. I have been doing research online and on listopia here, but it's just hard to narrow it down. I only have 2 months before we go and can realistically only read 2 books in this genre with my schedule...so I'm looking for the best of the best and for something that will be informative. Any suggestions on ancient Rome or gladiators?


message 4: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Nope, here I am hopeless. I prefer reading about Greek ancint history over Roman! I really don't know why.


message 5: by Naomi (new)

Naomi (gnomesb) Marguerite Yourcenar's book 'Memoirs of Hadrian' is beautiful, poetic, compelling and gives a great scope of Hadrian's period (which is towards the end of the Roman era). Robert Graves - I Claudius are also excellent for history and rollicking read.


message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Melodi, all of a sudden I thought of one that I think would fit what you want. Check out Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome. It is a book that I want to read and is the beginning of a series. You can read a snippet at Amazon. I liked the text very much.


message 7: by Melodi (new)

Melodi Thanks you guys. I'll look into these, maybe start them and see how they go. I did pick up The Agony and Ecstasy and I'm enjoying it a lot! Thanks for that suggestion!


message 8: by Melodi (new)

Melodi K Naomi, I just looked into those 2 books and they have really high ratings and sound like they have good potential! I will definitely get them and give them a go! Thanks!


message 9: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Melodi, you will definitely learn a lot from that book! Wait till you see Rome! It is very, very special. Try to visit Padua! And Venice of course! And Milan, and then you have the lakes up in the north...... I never went to Florence. There is a cool museum up in Bolzano, with that prehistoric man Switzerland claimed it too. You are going to have so much fun! You can throw me in your bag, and I will travel with you. :0)


message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine | 16 comments Hi Melodi,
We traveled to Italy September of 2009. We stayed in Tuscany for about 5 days, drove to Assisi for one night and then on to Rome for about 5 days. The travel books often have helpful, albeit short historical information. I wished I had re-read the Agony and Ecstasy before the trip—so that's good. You cannot miss Florence if you are interested in Michelangelo. Pay the money to see the real David—you will have to tear yourself away. In Rome make the effort to stop at St.Peters in Chains just up the hill from the Colosseum — you can see Michelangelo's St. Peter there in contrast to statues by lesser artists. His genius shows. I'm starting to post photos from our trip there on my blog. Here is a link to the first post about Italy http://randomthoughtsfrommidlife.word...

Rick Steve's has audio files you can download to an I-pod and listen to while touring Ancient Rome and other sites. We found those to be quite helpful and informative in most cases.


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