Guide to Florence and Tuscany
Eyewitness guides are great starting points for
just the right blend of practical advice and historical/cultural
as well as easy to use "cutaway" style diagrams of important buildings
and individual neighborhoods.
Art and History
Stones of Florence
Although Mary McCarthy wrote this in the early 1960's,
it is still one
of the definitive English-language works about Florence, focusing on
history and art.
For the traveller who spends a lot of time in
museums! This book
focuses less on practical travel tips, and more on extremely detailed
of Florence's architecture and art treasures. Essential reading for art
Dome : How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
The fascinating history of one of the world's most
Food and Wine
Gustafson's Cheap Eats in Italy
This book, which covers Rome and Venice as well as
Florence, will definitely
help you get the best value for your food budget. From pizzerie
"hole in the wall" restaurants to worthwhile "splurges," Gustafson's
are always reliable.
in Italy : A Travelers Guide to the Gastronomic Pleasures of Northern
Faith Heller Willinger's excellent book includes
listings for all of
Northern Italy, as well as a good section on Florence. The author's
recommendations range from her favorite cafes to the best places to buy
housewares and kitchen gadgets!
Fiction and Poetry
Room With A View
E.M. Forster's classic story of a young woman who is
Florence is perfect "pre-trip" reading--the Merchant-Ivory movie of the
same name is also definitely worth a look!
Dante's masterwork--Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso in
a "terza rima"
translation by John Ciardi.
Leigh and Other Poems
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote much of her poetry in
"Casa Guidi Windows," which appears in this volume. (Casa Guidi is just
across from the Pitti Palace, if you want to go and take a look!)
Includes excerpts from "The Ring and the Book," inspired
by an old book
that Browning found in the market one day (or so the story goes...).
This novel by George Eliot is about a young woman living
during Savonarola's time--not a "quick read," but very interesting!
Movies and Music
Room with a View
Absolutely essential viewing before any trip to
Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Judi Dench and Denholm
plus the glorious voice of Kiri te Kanawa on the soundtrack.