Sunday, September 04, 2022

The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall

I love to visit Italy, and I love to learn about its history. Since I am on a mission to read all of the books I received as gifts last year, I eagerly turned The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall, by Christopher Hibbert. Published in 1974, it's not the latest scholarship, but I did enjoy it for the most part and read it fairly carefully until Part IV, 1537 - 1743. Like most people I am most interested in the rise of the family during the Renaissance, but I found my mind wandering while reading about the last of the Medici. I sort of felt like author did too, and the narrative became far less compelling in the last section. 

I also loved learning more about Florence, especially on the heels of reading City of Vengeance earlier this summer. I visited Florence in 2015 and although I loved seeing David in particular, I really expressed then and since that I had no desire to revisit the city because of the hordes of tourists. After reading so much about Florence, I'm reconsidering but would definitely go in the off season. I can deal with wind and rain better than I can crowds.

I was disappointed in the illustrations, which were just black and white images and some of them pretty grainy. Now, I am on the lookout for a more modern book, with color illustrations, on the same topic. Any suggestions?

I also want to watch, for the 3rd time, the marvelous TV series, Medici. I know it is not all historically accurate, but the production is great and fun to watch.


  1. I'd love to travel to Italy someday, especially to Florence!

  2. I spent a lovely two weeks in Tuscany with my family after I took the bar exam but Florence was disappointing because it was August and everything seemed to be shut. I need to return! I have not watched the TV show but that sounds like a reason to rejoin Netflix.

  3. We were in Florence in 2016 and it was awesome! We walked for miles and took in everything possible. Also took a nice little paddle on the Arno listening about the Medicis. I need to see the TV series, I will look for it. I enjoyed Hibbert's book on the French Revolution .... he was certainly a prolific author during his lifetime. but I have not read more of his.

  4. That would be a great read! Didn't know they had a TV series. I'll look into it.