Florence and Venice


The 24 detailed neighborhood maps in this guide will help you immediately locate the hotels, restaurants, shops, and sights of Florence and Venice.

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The 24 detailed neighborhood maps in this guide will help you immediately locate the hotels, restaurants, shops, and sights of Florence and Venice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062772886
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/5/2000
  • Series: Access Travel Guides Series
  • Edition description: 5TH
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

With the publication of his first book in 1962 at the age of 26, Richard Saul Wurman began the singular passion of his life: that of making information understandable. A holder of both M. Arch. & B. Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, he has been awarded several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Graham Fellowships & two Chandler Fellowships. In 1991, Richard Saul Wurman received the Kevin Lynch Award from MIT for his creation of the ACCESS travel guides. In 1994, he was named a Fellow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland & awarded a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. In 1995, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Art Center College of Design & was Chairman of Graphic Design & Product/Industrial Design of the1995 Presidential Design Awards.

Richard Saul Wurman continues to be a regular consultant to major corporations in matters relating to the design & understanding of information. He is married to novelist Gloria Nagy, has 4 children & lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Read an Excerpt

Northern Italy Orientation

Italy has a long history of conflicts -- between city-states, between noble families, and, in recent times, between political parties. In fact, the nation was only unified about 140 years ago. Rivalry could be said to be a defining characteristic of the country, responsible for molding Florence and Venice into two remarkably individual cities, and their respective regions of Tuscany and the Veneto perhaps even more so.

Shaping the character of Florence is its magnificent artistic heritage, of which the city is justly proud. It was here, after all, that Brunellesco, Donatello, and Masaccio shook off the weight of the Middle Ages and started the Italian Renaissance. During the Renaissance the city also produced some of the greatest writers, philosophers, and scientists since the ancient Greeks; Dante, Machiavelli, and Leonardo da Vinci all helped define the Florentine character. But the power of Florence was not limited to its artists and thinkers; under Medici rule the city was a force to be reckoned with -- not just in Italy but throughout Europe as well.

Venice also influenced events in Europe, but its eminence derived more from its mastery of eastern trade routes than from the power of any one family. Although its luster may have faded some since it held the title "Queen of the Adriatic," this radiant city remains one of the world's most tempting tourist destinations. The vast wealth of its once-powerful court is still here, preserved in the palaces lining the Canal Grande (Grand Canal) and in the great achievements of its master artists -- Bellini, Titian, and Tintoretto. Venice is still a city of merchants -- frompurveyors of designer clothing to hawkers of tacky souvenirs -- the inheritors of a tradition that goes back to a time when the city brought Europe the sumptuous silks and exotic spices of the Far East.

Those who are weary of the sameness of western mall culture can find refuge in these two cities, still more notable for their differences than for their similarities. Between them, Florence and Venice hold some of Italy's -- and the world's-most famous works of art and architecture, alongside some of its finest hotels and restaurants. The tourist who sees both the lucid Renaissance grace of Florence and the incredible Byzantine lightness of Venice will come to love the crucible of human achievement known as Italy.

The approach to either city gives visual evidence of the power and prestige surrounding their rise to prominence. The Tuscan countryside is studded with medieval hilltop towns that have lost little of their original atmosphere, and with Renaissance palaces filled with art influenced by Florentine maestros. The hillsides and canals of the Veneto sit replete with municipalities made grand and gorgeous through their connection to the Venetian Republic. From majestic walled cities with their thrusting images of military strength to luxurious Palladian villas evoking the ease and elegance of triumph, the region coffers a journey through Venice's historic fortunes.

ACCESS Florence & Venice. Copyright © by Richard Saul Wurman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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