Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spring Reading 2016 If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy


Carole P. Roman continues to expand her new series on different historical periods throughout the world. I just finished the book on Renaissance Italy. As usual, there are tons of facts and details, including the clothing, foods, and recreation enjoyed by the people of Florence during the late fifteenth century. Carole has chosen a merchant family as her example, explaining the home they would have lived in, the social customs, and the education the children would receive. But she also compares that family to their servants, pointing out that cloth merchants would have worn very elaborate clothing to show what their merchandise was like, while their servants would only have one simple set of clothing. She also compares what the family eats to what those less wealthy might have on their table. 

I like how the time period is described. Carole explains that Europe was beginning to move out of the Middle Ages, rediscovering classical scholarship and art. The merchants and wealthy families around Florence were able to enjoy fabrics, spices, and foods imported from other lands. Art, architecture, and other creative pursuits benefited from the classical influences and the wealthy were able to act as patrons for artists of all sorts. The importance of the church is shown by how the cathedral dominates the city's skyline, as well as how many of the statues and paintings showed religious subjects and themes. 

At the back of the book there is a section on why the Renaissance was so important to art. Another section gives brief descriptions of famous people such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Lorenzo de Medici, and Machiavelli. And there is a glossary of terms to help out readers who may not have encountered some of the Italian terms like loggia, or heard of saffron or vermilion.

A nice introduction to young readers who are curious about the past and important time periods and people. This series gives a broad overview of each period and location, and enough specifics to answer basic questions while also giving facts that can lead to further research.

I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

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