Invented by Gordon Foster, a statistics professor at Trinity College Dublin, the International Standard Book Number was introduced in 1970 and it’s never looked back. Fifty-two years on, Icaro Rotunda and Gianluca Romeo of the Paperback Exchange (via dell’Oche 4R) share their preferred Florence-focused ISBNs for further reading this winter.
A Watercolor Journal of Florence: Lew, Douglas (publisher: Mandragora)
Florence has fascinated travellers for centuries, among them writers, artists and musicians. Rinuccio in Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicci sang, “Florence is like a tree in flower”. Lew captures not just the sights but the textures of Florence through his beautiful watercolors.
The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance: King, Ross (publisher: Vintage)
A thrilling chronicle of intellectual ferment set against the dramatic political and religious turmoil of the era, Ross King’s brilliant The Bookseller of Florence is also an ode to books and bookmaking that charts the world-changing shift from script to print through the life of an extraordinary man long lost to history—one of the true titans of the Renaissance.
The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo: The Transformation of Western Civilization: Strathern, Paul (publisher: Atlantic Books)
While vividly bringing to life the city and a vast cast of characters, including Dante, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo, Strathern shows how these great Florentines forever altered Europe and the Western world.
Wine Windows in Florence and Tuscany: Corsini, Diletta; Giordano, Lucrezia (publisher: Associazione Buchette del Vino)
A Florentine invention that spread to other cities of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, wine windows performed their role for five centuries. The buchetta, as it is called in Florence, represents an absolutely unique quirk in local society and, after years of study and research, it has earned its place in this book containing the most recent data and theories.
Tuscan Tales: The Fantastic Fables of Emma Perodi: translated + edited by Hetherington, Lori (self-published)
This collection of 19th-century fairytales have, until now, remained unknown to English-language readers, although Italians have loved them for more than 100 years. Perodi’s stories delight passionate readers of international folk and fairytales as well as armchair travelers.
The Pomegranates and Other Modern Italian Fairy Tales:translated + edited by Mazzoni, Cristina (publisher: Princeton University Press)
This tome presents 20 magical stories published between 1875 and 1914 following Italy’s political unification. Most of the tales have been translated into English for the first time.