Journey to the East

Le Corbusier - 1966
    It is very much a story of awakening and a voyage of discoveries, recording a seven-month journey that took Le Corbusier from Berlin through Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul, Athos, Athens, Naples, and Rome, among other places. Le Corbusier considered this journey the most significant of his life; the compulsion he felt to record images and impressions established a practice he would continue for the rest of his career. For the next five decades, he would fill notebooks with ideas and sketches; he never stopped deriving inspiration from the memories of his first contact with the East, making this volume as much a historical document as a personal confession and diary. Ivan Zaknic's highly regarded translation was first published by The MIT Press in 1987 but has been unavailable for many years.

Palladian Days: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House

Sally Gable - 2005
    What she found and learned to love was a new life in a beautiful and celebrated Palladian villa in the countryside outside Venice. In Palladian Days, she takes us with her on a journey of discovery and transformation as she and her husband, Carl, become the bemused owners of Villa Cornaro, built in 1552 by the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio called by Town & Country one of the ten most influential buildings in the world.Sally Gable writes lovingly of the villa as she and Carl settle in and slowly uncover its history, the lives of its former inhabitants, and its architectural pleasures. She tells of her early days there, learning to speak Italian with the help of her engaging new neighbors in the tiny town that surrounds the villa, Piombino Dese, a place both traditional and busily modern with its old-fashioned street markets and its burgeoning economy.She writes with beguiling humor about learning to take care of a Renaissance palace with its 104 frescoes and 44 pairs of shutters (all of which have to be opened and closed daily). She tells of baffling encounters with the soprintendente di belle arti, who must give permission for even the smallest repair to the Italian national treasure Sally and Carl call home. And she describes the life she and her husband create for the villa itself, allowing it to be used for concerts, ballet performances, even as a movie set.In Palladian Days, we enter with Sally and Carl into their engrossing adventure, following along as they are woven ever more deeply into the fabric of small-town Italy and into its larger national history. Their story will delight travelers and would-be travelers; all who are fascinated by architecture, by art, by the powerful essence of place—and, especially, house-dreamers everywhere.

The Perfect House: A Journey with Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio

Witold Rybczynski - 2002
    A journey along the Brenta River in northeastern Italy, just a short distance from Venice, reveals the origin of the architecture of the private house, an art first practiced by Andrea Palladio. Until Palladio began designing simple, gorgeous, perfectly proportioned villas, architectural genius was reserved for temples and palaces. Palladio not only designed and built, he wrote. His 1570 architectural treatise was read and studied by great thinkers as diverse as Thomas Jeffferson and Inigo Jones, and it proved to be critical to the design of Monticello and the White House. More than just a study of one of history's seminal architectural figures, THE PERFECT HOUSE reflects Rybczynski's intimacy with and enthusiasm for his subject. He not only reveals why the villas were so architecurally and culturally influential, he also imparts his enormous affection and admiration for the man who designed them. Embracing the elements of Rybczynski's most successful books on domestic architecture, HOME and THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN THE WORLD this charming, revelatory meditation explores the dawn of domestic architecture, and provides a new way of looking at every building we inhabit or visit today.

Venice Observed

Mary McCarthy - 1963
    “Searching observations and astonishing comprehension of the Venetian taste and character” (New York Herald Tribune).

The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World

Paul Robert Walker - 2002
    Its designer was Filippo Brunelleschi, a temperamental architect and inventor who rediscovered the techniques of mathematical perspective. Yet the completion of the dome was not Brunelleschi’s glory alone. He was forced to share the commission with his archrival, the canny and gifted sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti.In this lush, imaginative history—a fascinating true story of artistic genius and personal triumph—Paul Robert Walker breathes life into these two talented, passionate artists and the competitive drive that united and dived them. As it illuminates fascinating individuals from Donatello and Masaccio to Cosimo de’Medici and Leon Battista Alberti, The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance offers a glorious tour of 15th-century Florence, a bustling city on the verge of greatness in a time of flourishing creativity, rivalry, and genius.

Girl By Sea: Life, love and food on an Italian island

Penelope Green - 2009

Bernini: His Life and His Rome

Franco Mormando - 2011
    And his artistic vision remains palpably present today, through the countless statues, fountains, and buildings that transformed Rome into the Baroque theater that continues to enthrall tourists.            It is perhaps not surprising that this artist who defined the Baroque should have a personal life that itself was, well, baroque. As Franco Mormando’s dazzling biography reveals, Bernini was a man driven by many passions, possessed of an explosive temper and a hearty sex drive, and he lived a life as dramatic as any of his creations. Drawing on archival sources, letters, diaries, and—with a suitable skepticism—a hagiographic account written by Bernini’s son (who portrays his father as a paragon of virtue and piety), Mormando leads us through Bernini’s many feuds and love affairs, scandals and sins. He sets Bernini’s raucous life against a vivid backdrop of Baroque Rome, bustling and wealthy, and peopled by churchmen and bureaucrats, popes and politicians, schemes and secrets.The result is a seductively readable biography, stuffed with stories and teeming with life—as wild and unforgettable as Bernini’s art. No one who has been bewitched by the Baroque should miss it.

1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die: The World's Architectural Masterpieces

Mark Irving - 2007
    A fascinating mixture of familiar landmarks and little-known gems.

The Decoration of Houses

Edith Wharton - 2007
    Written in collaboration with celebrated American architect Ogden Codman, Jr., Wharton's first book is a comprehensive look at the history and character of turn-of-the-century interior design, moving from historical traditions to the distinctive styles of contemporary taste. Published in association with the Mount Press, this beautiful hardcover facsimile is carefully reproduced from the first edition published in 1897 and includes all 56 original plates-illustrating furniture, moldings, and interior styles of the 19th-century-and features décollage edges as well as a new introduction from renowned scholar Richard Guy Wilson. The Mount is a magnificent estate Edith Wharton designed and built in 1902 as a writer's retreat in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts.

An Italian Home - Settling by Lake Como (The Lake Como Trilogy Book 1)

Paul Wright - 2011
    They soon found work; Paul as a mural painter and Nicola in an office in Milan, Paul was recruited by the local football team and they both took part in the fabulous summer and Christmas festivals and the mangialonge - the 'long eats' where groups of locals drive off into the country to feast on the best local food and wines, all day. They gain a new neighbour, George Clooney, who gained great popularity amongst the locals, and they lose an older, very near neighbour, fashion designer Gianni Versace who brought back to rest in his native Moltrasio after he was gunned down in the USA Paul's dry sense of humour and artistic observation brings the village of Moltrasio and its inhabitants to life, and he is guaranteed to make your mouth water with his wonderful descriptions of the local food

A Footpath in Umbria: Learning, Loving and Laughing in Italy

Nancy Yuktonis Solak - 2010
    As ordinary boomers, they simply wanted to experience “The Dream” – to live in Italy. They settled down in traditional Umbria, just east of Tuscany.Constrained by a strict budget, their experience took on challenges as diverse as getting accustomed to the vagaries of Italian appliances to gathering their own wood. Transportation was by train, bus, bicycle or footpath. What neither of them knew when they began was how the adventure would challenge their habits, upbringing, and outlook on life. Most surprising of all was how the experience would challenge their relationship to each other.A Footpath in Umbria is a celebration of the joys and revelations to be found by changing venues, whether it’s living in another country or simply venturing cross town.

The Road Less Graveled (Kindle Single)

Wendy Laird - 2013
    <br><br>Part Tuscan idyll and part cautionary tale, Wendy Laird’s latest Kindle Single tells the flip-side story of expat existence, what it takes to make it happen, and how a life on a well-mapped trajectory can veer off course in the process. Laird’s beautiful prose and acerbic wit keep the book, if not her own agenda, on the right track.

An Art Lover's Guide to Florence

Judith Testa - 2012
    The sheer number and proximity of works of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Florence can be so overwhelming that Florentine hospitals treat hundreds of visitors each year for symptoms brought on by trying to see them all, an illness famously identified with the French author Stendhal.While most guidebooks offer only brief descriptions of a large number of works, with little discussion of the historical background, Judith Testa gives a fresh perspective on the rich and brilliant art of the Florentine Renaissance in An Art Lover’s Guide to Florence. Concentrating on a number of the greatest works, by such masters as Botticelli and Michelangelo, Testa explains each piece in terms of what it meant to the people who produced it and for whom they made it, deftly treating the complex interplay of politics, sex, and religion that were involved in the creation of those works. With Testa as a guide, armchair travelers and tourists alike will delight in the fascinating world of Florentine art and history.

The Red Tenda of Bologna

John Berger - 2007
    Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.

The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth: Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians

James P. Beckwourth - 1902
    Beckwourth would go on to become one of the most remarkable mountain men to have ever lived. In 1824 Beckwourth left Missouri to head to the Rocky Mountains to work for William Ashley’s Rocky Mountain Fur Company. He would never turn back. In his fascinating life, spent in the mountains and plains of the West, he lived as a trapper, hunter, guide, horse thief and Indian fighter. What is particularly fascinating about Beckwourth’s book is his insight into the culture of the Native Americans, as for many years, this son of a slave and a slave owner, lived with the Crow Nation, trapping, hunting, marrying two of their women and raiding alongside them. It is even stated that he rose to the position of Chief of the Crow Nation. First published in 1856, The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth is a unique account of life in pioneer America in the early-nineteenth century. "This is a book of great importance to an understanding of the mountains, plains, and Great Basin West." California Historical Quarterly "It remains what it always has been since its first appearance in 1856—a rousing adventure story in which Jim Beckwourth plays the leading role." San Francisco Chronicle James Beckwourth was the only African American in the West to have his life story published. He was credited with the discovery of Beckwourth Pass which aided pioneers in reaching their destination in the West. He died in 1866.