Daily Life in Renaissance Italy

Greenwood Publishing Group
Free sample

Discover what life was like for ordinary people living in Renaissance Italy. How was their society organized? What were their homes like? What dangers did they face? These and other questions are answered in detail to provide the reader with a unique view of the world of the Italian Renaissance. A multitude of settings and socioeconomic backgrounds are presented, from urban life to country life, from upper-class to peasant-class, to paint a full portrait of the different kinds of existence of people of this culture.

Recipes, profiles of actual individuals, and over 40 illustrations help bring the period to life. Learn what they ate, what their homes were like, how they spent their leisure time, what their work was like, and much more. Modern readers will be surprised to find fundamental similarities between our lives today and the lives of these people living over 500 years ago, as well as to discover that many of the perceptions they may have of this time period are inaccurate.

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About the author

ELIZABETH S. COHEN is Associate Professor of History at York University in Ontario. She is co-author, with Thomas Cohen, of Words and Deeds in Renaissance Italy.

THOMAS V. COHEN is Associate Professor of History at York University in Ontario. He is co-author, with Elizabeth Cohen, of Words and Deeds in Renaissance Italy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 2001
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Pages
316
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ISBN
9780313304262
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Italy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Gratuitous sex. Graphic violence. Lies, revenge, and murder. Before there was digital cable or reality television, there was Renaissance Italy and the courts in which Italian magistrates meted out justice to the vicious and the villainous, the scabrous and the scandalous. Love and Death in Renaissance Italy retells six piquant episodes from the Italian court just after 1550, as the Renaissance gave way to an era of Catholic reformation.

Each of the chapters in this history chronicles a domestic drama around which the lives of ordinary Romans are suddenly and violently altered. You might read the gruesome murder that opens the book—when an Italian noble takes revenge on his wife and her bastard lover as he catches them in delicto flagrante—as straight from the pages of Boccaccio. But this tale, like the other stories Cohen recalls here, is true, and its recounting in this scintillating work is based on assiduous research in court proceedings kept in the state archives in Rome.

Love and Death in Renaissance Italy contains stories of a forbidden love for an orphan nun, of brothers who cruelly exact a will from their dying teenage sister, and of a malicious papal prosecutor who not only rapes a band of sisters, but turns their shambling father into a pimp! Cohen retells each cruel episode with a blend of sly wit and warm sympathy and then wraps his tales in ruminations on their lessons, both for the history of their own time and for historians writing today. What results is a book at once poignant and painfully human as well as deliciously entertaining.
Ritual Brotherhood in Renaissance Florence investigates the meaning of fraternity in terms of the ritual relations created in religious brotherhoods or confraternities during that period. The book focuses on the sociability of the confraternity as revealed in the patterns of membership and in forms of ceremony. Florence's confraternities serve as a vehicle for examining the relationship between ritual behavior and social organization. The text discusses the ways in which Florentines use forms of ritual to define, protect, and alter their relations with one another. The book reviews the social relations in Renaissance Florence through the structure of social relations, the politics of amity or enmity, and social relations in relation to economic exchange. Social organization and ritual actions include confraternal organization, membership, symbolic fraternity, and the rites of community. The book explores the company of San Paolo in the fifteenth century where the confraternity offers an introduction to the nature of citywide community, its republican institutions, and its civic values. The book also examines traditional confraternities in crisis, the nature of the disruptions that leads to the emergence of new confraternal organizations and values. In the sixteenth-century, confraternities reveal major departures in ideology, ritual, and social organization. They have also introduced the principles of hierarchy into confraternal membership, as well as a new ethic of obedience. The book will prove delightful reading for sociologists, historians studying Florentine society, and researchers interested in the history of religious brotherhood and confraternities.
A groundbreaking major bestseller in Italy, Gomorrah is Roberto Saviano's gripping nonfiction account of the decline of Naples under the rule of the Camorra, an organized crime network with a large international reach and stakes in construction, high fashion, illicit drugs, and toxic-waste disposal. Known by insiders as "the System," the Camorra affects cities and villages along the Neapolitan coast, and is the deciding factor in why Campania, for instance, has the highest murder rate in all of Europe and whycancer levels there have skyrocketed in recent years.

Saviano tells of huge cargoes of Chinese goods that are shipped to Naples and then quickly distributed unchecked across Europe. He investigates the Camorra's control of thousands of Chinese factories contracted to manufacture fashion goods, legally and illegally, for distribution around the world, and relates the chilling details of how the abusive handling of toxic waste is causing devastating pollution not only for Naples but also China and Somalia. In pursuit of his subject, Saviano worked as an assistant at a Chinese textile manufacturer, a waiter at a Camorra wedding, and on a construction site. A native of the region, he recalls seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen, and how his own father, a doctor, suffered a brutal beating for trying to aid an eighteen-year-old victim who had been left for dead in the street.

Gomorrah is a bold and important work of investigative writing that holds global significance, one heroic young man's impassioned story of a place under the rule of a murderous organization.

“This magnificent love letter to Rome” (Stephen Greenblatt) tells the story of the Eternal City through pivotal moments that defined its history—from the early Roman Republic through the Renaissance and the Reformation to the German occupation in World War Two—“an erudite history that reads like a page-turner” (Maria Semple).

Rome, the Eternal City. It is a hugely popular tourist destination with a rich history, famed for such sites as the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s, and the Vatican. In no other city is history as present as it is in Rome. Today visitors can stand on bridges that Julius Caesar and Cicero crossed; walk around temples in the footsteps of emperors; visit churches from the earliest days of Christianity.

This is all the more remarkable considering what the city has endured over the centuries. It has been ravaged by fires, floods, earthquakes, and—most of all—by roving armies. These have invaded repeatedly, from ancient times to as recently as 1943. Many times Romans have shrugged off catastrophe and remade their city anew.

“Matthew Kneale [is] one step ahead of most other Roman chroniclers” (The New York Times Book Review). He paints portraits of the city before seven pivotal assaults, describing what it looked like, felt like, smelled like and how Romans, both rich and poor, lived their everyday lives. He shows how the attacks transformed Rome—sometimes for the better. With drama and humor he brings to life the city of Augustus, of Michelangelo and Bernini, of Garibaldi and Mussolini, and of popes both saintly and very worldly. Rome is “exciting…gripping…a slow roller-coaster ride through the fortunes of a place deeply entangled in its past” (The Wall Street Journal).
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