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Good Non-Fiction Books about Paris/Italy?

Good Non-Fiction Books about Paris/Italy?

May 20th, 2006, 11:50 AM
  #1  
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Good Non-Fiction Books about Paris/Italy?

We are planning a trip to Paris & Italy (Venice, Florence, Rome). I hate to admit that most of the history I've learned in the past in school has been mostly forgotten. I wanted to re-educate myself about some of the sites & historical significance before I went. Does anyone have any suggestions on interesting, well written books about any of these subjects?

I just finished reading the Davinci Code & Angels & Demons (I know, this was fiction, but I heard the descriptions of some of the places/events were factual, so I figured I'd read). I wonder if there are any non-fiction (or based on fact fiction) books that are interesting on this level but would help educate too? (I know I can read online, but sometimes that's a little boring).

Thanks for the input!
KrunkoDallas is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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"The Paris Metro" A ticket to History by Susan Plotkin
cigalechanta is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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Venice: Venice the Lion City by Garry Wills a great history of Venice.
For fun some of the Donna Leone mysteries
lots of informtion tucked in a them.
Rome: Romean art and Architecture an oldie but goodie by Mortimer Wheeler, The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone watch the movice as well. Rise and Fall you know that old one.
JoanneH is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Thanks, that's exactly what I am looking for. I wonder if there are any good books on the Medicis? I remember reading Agony & the Ecstasy when I was a kid...maybe I should try and pick it up once again?

Any other suggestions?
KrunkoDallas is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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Tim Parks' Italian Neighbors for Northern Italy. I also liked Adam Gopnik's book on Paris. And Alan Epstein's As the Romans Do. These are just three of so many great reads! But on contemporary life, not history except in passing.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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For what it's worth, the descriptions of Paris in The Da Vinci Code are wildly incorrect in many cases.
AnthonyGA is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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Here's a few I have enjoyed.

Paris:

The Seven Ages of Paris, Alistair Horne
The Lost Prince of France: A True Story of Revolution, Revenge and DNA, Deborah Cadbury

Venice:

The City of Falling Angels, John Berendt

Florence:

Medici Money, Tim Parks

Rome:

The Twelve Caesars, Suetonius
The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece, Jonathan Harr
RoadCrazy is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 02:16 PM
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I'm currently reading the second of Sandra Guilland's trilogy about Josephine Bonaparte and have immensely enjoyed an indsider's perspective of the French Revolution. Well written and a good read.
edgecorp is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Marie Antoinette biographies are all well worth reading. They are historically accurate but written like a fictional account. Makes you feel like you are back in time and then when you go to Paris, its fun to see the places that still exist. Like Versailles and the Conciergerie etc.


Marie Antoinette, The Last Queen of France. Evelyn Lever.

Marie Antoinette, The Journey, Antonia Fraser. I think this is the one that Sophia Coppola used for her upcoming film on MA.

I read Italian neighbors as well and LOVED it.
chicagolori is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 08:06 PM
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Another vote for Adam Gopnik's book; the title is Paris to the Moon. It is excellent. I am a very picky reader and this one was out of my usual reading habits, but I loved it and devoured every word, which is, for me, a lot to say about a work of nonfiction.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 08:59 PM
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Yes, pick up "The Agony and the Ecstasy" again. It is a must read if you are going to Rome and Florence. It also has a fair amount about the Medicis.
jgg is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 09:41 PM
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For the Medicis, try "The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall" by Christopher Hibbert. For Rome, try "Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy" by Sarah Bradford. Panned by some, enjoyed by others. Also, for later history, try "Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France" by Leonie Frieda. A good read, and very interesting with respect to "later" Italian history. Have fun!
nospam is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 09:48 PM
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Sorry! I forgot to add that the last book mentioned about Catherine d'Medici also ties together French and Italian history, as she was indeed the Queen of France during a very turbulent time.
nospam is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Can I suggest HV Morton " a traveller in Italy"? Yes, it's a bit dated, and mannered, but that's its charm, for me anyway. and you can dip into it, which is useful.
annhig is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 03:48 AM
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One of the best books that I own about Venice is by J.G. Links and is entitled "Venice for Pleasure." It has walking tours along with wonderfully redable historical information and, in paperback, is small enough to fit in a purse.

I also like the Venice guide from the Collected Traveller series.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 04:16 AM
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For Florence, "Brunelleschi's Dome" by Ross King.

For Rome, "Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling" also by Ross King.

Both are non-fiction. Have Fun!
fun4all4 is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 05:02 AM
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nospam, Catherine de Medici was indeed a force to be reckoned with--wife of one king of France, mother-in-law to Mary Stewart (albeit briefly) and mother to three other kings of France. Quite the character.

KrunkoDallas, RoadCrazy mentioned Alistair Horne's Seven Ages of Paris. Horne also wrote Friend or Foe, a history of France. Very readable.

Anselm
AnselmAdorne is online now  
May 21st, 2006, 05:51 AM
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I second the Fraser Marie-Antoinette. It's really a good read and well researched.

Americans in Paris, an anthology of accounts by Americans visiting Paris, from Benjamin Franklin to modern times.

And an old favorite, Hemingway's A Movable Feast.
Toupary is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 07:45 AM
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George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris!
GSteed is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 08:50 AM
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and london!
annhig is offline  

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