An authoritative, richly illustrated history, and affectionate celebration, of Siena, one of the best-loved and most-visited cities in Italy.
Occupying a hilltop site in the midst of a vast, undulating landscape, Siena is as much a magnet for contemporary tourism as Florence. However, its proud republican past presents an intriguing contrast with its Medici-dominated northern Tuscan rival, with which it tussled for local supremacy for much of the High Middle Ages. From the twelfth century, profiting from its advantageous position on a major pilgrim route, the Republic of Siena developed into a major European power and remained an important commercial, financial and artistic centre for four centuries.
Jane Stevenson charts the changing fortunes of a city that rose to an astonishingly productive cultural heyday in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, suffered a catastrophic late medieval decline in the aftermath of the Black Death, but transcended the loss of its wider political power to enjoy a prosperous civic afterlife. Siena today enjoys a cherished position as a uniquely well-preserved medieval city, crammed with world-class art and architecture, furnished with appealing and intriguing traditions, and set in a heavenly landscape.
'Painstakingly researched and yet unfailingly readable' Ross King.
'An insight into one of Renaissance Italy's most glamorous courts' Catherine Fletcher.
'In a narrative matching her book's sumptious illustrations, Jane Stevenson celebrates Urbino as an essential place of pilgrimage for all lovers of Italian art and literature' Jonathan Keates.
'A fascinating account of the patrons and artists behind the creation of one of Italy's hidden treasures' Mary Hollingsworth