'FLORENCE: A PORTRAIT offers a wonderfully heterodox perspective on the city we thought we all knew. . . I can't remember having read a more imaginative, intelligent or compelling account of Florence's meaning and making, or one which so irresistibly urged me to look at the city and look again. ' Jonathan Keates, SPECTATOR
This fresh penetrating and beautifully illustrated study is part history, part guide and part celebration. Michael Levey surveys the physical evolution and enhancement of Florence over the centuries, from medieval republican times to the beginning of the nineteenth century. While discussing artefacts of all kinds - a cameo or reliquary no less than great buildings and other major works of art -he also considers some of the chief personalities who have contributed to the physical appearance of the city we see today. Renaissance Florence is a familiar phenomenon, given its due place in stimulating, detailed discussion here. But much less well known is the city which developed onwards from the late sixteenth century, which the author warmly champions, with its own great, sometimes opulent artistic achievements. In this magnificent book, the famous and apparently familiar emerges with new vividness and clarity to exercise yet deeper fascination.