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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   Italy   >   History

   
 

Italian History


Here are some books about the history of Italy:


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Books about Italian History


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The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples

By David Gilmour

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released: 2012-11-13
Paperback (480 pages)

The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples
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A provocative, entertaining account of Italy's diverse riches, its hopes and dreams, its past and present

Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? The question is asked and answered in a number of ways in The Pursuit of Italy, an engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance―and weakness―of Italy today.

David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled by the great figures of the Italian past―from Cicero and Virgil to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. His wise account of the Risorgimento debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era.

Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation.

The Italians

By John Hooper

Penguin Group USA
Released: 2016-01-19
Paperback (336 pages)

The Italians
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  • Penguin Group USA
Product Description:
Washington Post bestseller
Los Angeles Times bestseller

A vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent


How did a nation that spawned the Renaissance also produce the Mafia? And why does Italian have twelve words for coat hanger but none for hangover?
 
John Hooper’s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Fifteen years as a foreign correspondent based in Rome have sharpened Hooper’s observations, and he looks at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, shedding new light on everything from the Italians’ bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Hooper persuasively demonstrates the impact of geography, history, and tradition on many aspects of Italian life, including football and Freemasonry, sex, food, and opera. Brimming with the kind of fascinating—and often hilarious—insights unavailable in guidebooks, The Italians will surprise even the most die-hard Italophile.


From the Hardcover edition.

A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories)

By Christopher Duggan

Cambridge University Press
Released: 2013-12-05
Paperback (360 pages)

A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories)
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  • Cambridge University Press
Product Description:
Since its formation in 1861, Italy has struggled to develop an effective political system and a secure sense of national identity. This new edition of Christopher Duggan's acclaimed introduction charts the country's history from the fall of the Roman Empire in the west to the present day and surveys the difficulties Italy has faced during the last two centuries in forging a nation state. Duggan successfully weaves together political, economic, social and cultural history, and stresses the alternation between materialist and idealist programmes for forging a nation state. This second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to offer increased coverage of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy, as well as a new section devoted to Italy in the twenty-first century. With a new, extensive bibliographical essay and a detailed chronology, this is the ideal resource for those seeking an authoritative and comprehensive introduction to Italian history.

Italy: A History

By Vincent Cronin

New Word City
Paperback (264 pages)

Italy: A History
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Here, from New York Times bestselling historian Vincent Cronin, is the extraordinary story of Italy - from the birth of the Roman Empire to the rise of the city-states through the Renaissance and the making of modern Italy.

Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743

By Ross King

King Ross
Released: 2015-10-20
Hardcover (696 pages)

Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743
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  • Florence The Paintings Frescoes 1250 1743
Product Description:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

This is the most comprehensive book on the paintings and frescoes of Florence ever undertaken, with nearly 2,000 beautifully reproduced artworks from the city's great museums and churches-produced in the same manner as BD&L's The Louvre and The Vatican.

Every painted work that is on display in the Uffizi Gallery, The Pitti Palace, the Accademia, and the Duomo is included in the book, plus many or most of the works from 28 of the city's other magnificent museums and churches. The research and text are by Ross King (best-selling author), Anja Grebe (author or The Louvre and The Vatican), Cristina Acidini (former Superintendent of the public museums of Florence) and Msgr. Timothy Verdon (Director of the artworks for the Archdiocese of Florence).

The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean

By Kenneth R. Bartlett

The Great Courses
Released: 2013-07-08
Audible Audiobook

The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean
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Take a riveting tour of the Italian peninsula, from the glittering canals of Venice to the lavish papal apartments and ancient ruins of Rome.

In these 24 lectures, Professor Bartlett traces the development of the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, showing how the modern nation of Italy was forged out of the rivalries, allegiances, and traditions of a vibrant and diverse people.

This comprehensive portrait of Italian history opens an exciting new world-a grand mosaic of lustrous and storied cultures as distinctive as the people who helped build them. As you come to know these many "Italys," you'll see how the Italian states defined themselves against the others, competing for territory, trade, and artistic supremacy - and how the vestiges of these interactions are visible even today.

Among other things, you'll consider the rivalry between the Genoese and the Pisans, which stems from a nearly 800-year-old grudge; examine how the crusades influenced the development of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice; and explore Italy's troubled relationship with the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

You'll also get a glimpse into the lives of the powerful and influential, including Pope Paul IV, who championed the Roman Inquisition, and Luigi Gonzaga, who cut out the hearts of his enemies and nailed them to the doors of their palaces as a warning to others who might challenge his power.

As you get to know the distinctive personalities and events that define the peninsula, you'll gain fresh insights into the Italy of today. Surprising, enriching, always engaging, this course offers a unique perspective on one of the most dynamic and creative cultures of the modern world.

The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy - Third Edition

By Peter Burke

Princeton University Press
Paperback (336 pages)

The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy - Third Edition
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In this brilliant and widely acclaimed work, Peter Burke presents a social and cultural history of the Italian Renaissance. He discusses the social and political institutions that existed in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and he analyses the ways of thinking and seeing that characterized this period of extraordinary artistic creativity.

Developing a distinctive sociological approach, Peter Burke is concerned not only with the finished works of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and others, but also with the social background, patterns of recruitment, and means of subsistence of this 'cultural elite.' He thus makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Italian Renaissance, and to our comprehension of the complex relations between culture and society.

Burke has thoroughly revised and updated the text for this new edition, including a new introduction, and the book is richly illustrated throughout. It will have a wide appeal among historians, sociologists, and anyone interested in one of the most creative periods of European history.

The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy

By Melanie D Holtz

Family Tree
Paperback (240 pages)

The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy
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Discover your Italian roots!

Say "ciao" to your Italian ancestors! This in-depth guide will walk you through the exciting journey of researching your Italian famiglia both here and in Italy. Inside, you'll find tips for every phase of Italian genealogy research, from identifying your immigrant ancestor and pinpointing his hometown to uncovering records of him in Italian archives.

In this book, you'll find:
  • Basic information on starting your family history research, including how to trace your immigrant ancestor back to Italy
  • Strategies for uncovering genealogy records (including passenger lists, draft cards, and birth, marriage, and death records) from both the United States and Italy, with annotated sample records
  • Crash-course guides to Italian history, geography, and names
  • Helpful Italian genealogical word lists
  • Sample letters for requesting records from Italian archives
Whether your ancestors hail from the island of Sicily or the hills of Piedmont, The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide will give you the tools you need to track your family in Italy.

Golden Fruit: A Cultural History of Oranges in Italy (Toronto Italian Studies)

By Christina Mazzoni

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Hardcover (224 pages)

Golden Fruit: A Cultural History of Oranges in Italy (Toronto Italian Studies)
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Through a close reading of key texts, including poetic and spiritual writings, fairy tales, and a botanical treatise, Golden Fruit examines the role of oranges in Italian culture from their introduction during the medieval period through to the present day. Featuring a beautiful full-colour spread, Cristina Mazzoni’s book brings together artistic depictions, literary analysis, historical context, and popular culture to investigate the changing representations of the orange over time and across the Italian peninsula.


Oranges were introduced to Italy in the 1200s, many centuries after beloved Mediterranean fruits such as grapes, figs, and pomegranates—all well-known since Antiquity. Not burdened with age-old meanings and symbolism, then, oranges in early modern times provided a malleable image for artists, writers, and scientists alike. Thus, in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, oranges appear in visual and verbal representations as an effective aid in physical and spiritual health, as symbols of romantic and of divine love, and as signs of geographic allegiance to one’s citrus-rich land. Baroque poets, botanists, and painters regularly compared oranges to women for their shared hybrid nature, whereas later folklore presented this dual character of oranges from an economic standpoint, as both precious and dangerous. The violence intrinsic to oranges in these Sicilian texts from the eighteen and nineteen hundreds returns in the controversial representations of the orange harvest in early twenty-first century Italy.

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

By The Italian Academy of Cuisine

Rizzoli
Released: 2009-10-20
Hardcover (928 pages)

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
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  • Rizzoli
Product Description:
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.


 
 
 

 
 
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