A Florentine readlist

This is of course a work in progress, we will try to keep the list up to date and enrich it with suggestions and comments.


Margaret Haines (ed.) – The Years of the Cupola 1417-1436. A fascinating digital archive of the sources of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, now available on line at www.operaduomo.firenze.it/cupola.

Art and Architecture

David Wilkins and Frederick Hartt – History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture.

Ross King – Brunelleschi’s Dome: one of the most popular books on the Dome. It offers a detailed description of construction techniques and of the deeds of Brunelleschi.

The Medici

Tim Parks – Medici Money – (Atlas Books, 2005) Evoking the richness of the Florentine Renaissance and the Medici’s glittering circle, replete with artists, popes, and kings, Medici Money is a look into the origins of modern banking and its troubled relationship with art and religion.

Christopher Hibbert – The House of Medici – Its Rise & Fall.

Florentine history

John NajemyA History of Florence. 1200-1575.

A recent and extremely complete overview of the most important events in Florentine history.

Historical Novels


Sarah Dunant – The Birth of Venus

Dava Sobel – Galileo’s Daughter

Irving Stone – The Agony and the Ecstasy

A description of the plague of 1348 can be found in Ken Follett’s World without End


Florentine Setting: classics

W.D. Howells – Indian Summer

Henry James – Italian Hours

E. M. Forster – A Room With A View

Mary McCarthy – The Stones of Florence


and for booklovers F.H. King – Florence: A Literary Companion


Tuscany and Siena (Non-Fiction)

A Thousand Days in Tuscany – Marlena de Blasi

The Tuscan Trilogy – Ferenc Mate (The Hills of Tuscany, A Vineyard in Tuscany, The Wisdom of Tuscany)

Seven Seasons in Siena – Robert Rodi


Special thanks to my friend Barbara Freedman at who revised the list and added her suggestions.

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