The struggle for control of the straits dividing Sicily from southern Italy brought the two great empires of the Mediterranean, Carthage and Rome, head to head. It was a world in which ruthless mercenaries prospered.
During the fifteenth century, writes Christopher Hibbert, the Medici banking house in Florence ‘almost passed belief’ in power and influence.
Having been moved to London from Nazi Germany, the esteemed library of Renaissance culture played a key role in restoring links between international scholars after the Second World War.
In 1701, writes L.R. Betcherman, a leading member of the Whig Junto retired to Rome for the sake of his health.
The visit of the Baroque master in 1665, writes Michael Greenhalgh, coincided with a rejection of Italian influence by French taste.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, writes David H. Kennett, the Austrian commander marched westward from the Alps across Italy to win a remarkable battle.
The first professional revolutionist was a descendant of Michelangelo’s brother; W.J. Fishman describes how, in Italy, France, and in exile, Filippo Buonarroti spent his life in radical conspiracy.
Noel Blakiston describes the actions of an ebullient British Consul in the Papal State during the final stages of Italian unification.
The Italian patriot’s visit to England was extraordinarily successful. But, writes Christopher Hibbert, Queen Victoria deplored the scenes it provoked; and Karl Marx described them as “a miserable spectacle of imbecility”.
From 1858 to 1870, a privileged and gifted English observer, Odo Russell, watched the declining fortunes of the Papal government. Russell reported in his strong and lucid style, writes Noel Blakiston, “as though they formed a chapter of medieval history.”