The story of Italy through her people, culture and the great events that shaped the country.
The birthplace of the Renaissance and the place where the Baroque was born, Italy has always been a hotbed of culture. Within modern Italy there is fierce regional pride in the cultures and identities that mark out Tuscany, Rome, Sicily and Venice to name just a few of Italy’s many famous regions.
Yet despite the Roman Empire’s famous 500-year reign over Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East, Italy does not have the same long national history of states such as France and England. Divided for much of its history, major parts of Italy were at various times territories of bigger, often antagonistic, empires, notably those of Spain and Austria.
In telling Italy’s story, Jeremy Black draws on the diaries, memoirs and letters of historic travellers to Italy to gain insight into the passions of its people, first chronologically then regionally. Black examines what it is that has given Italians such cultural clout – from food and drink to music and fashion and art and architecture – and explores the causes and effects of political events, shedding new light on divisions that persist today.