House of Secrets: The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo

House of Secrets: The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo

by Allison Levy


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A look into the tantalizing secrets of Florence's Palazzo Rucellai.

House of Secrets tells the remarkable story of Palazzo Rucellai from behind its celebrated façade. The house, beginning with its piecemeal assemblage by one of the richest men in Florence in the fifteenth century, has witnessed endless drama, from the butchering of its interior to a courtyard suicide to champagne-fueled orgies on the eve of World War I to a recent murder on its third floor. When the author, an art historian, serendipitously discovers a room for let in the house, she lands in the vortex of history and is tested at every turn—inside the house and out. Her residency in Palazzo Rucellai is informed as much by the sense of desire giving way to disappointment as by a sense of denial that soon enough must succumb to truth. House of Secrets is about the sharing of space, the tracing of footsteps, the overlapping of lives. It is about the willingness to lose oneself behind the façade, to live between past and present, to slip between the cracks of history and the crevices of our own imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781788313605
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 625,151
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Allison Levy is Digital Scholarship Editor at Brown University. An art historian, educated at Bryn Mawr College, Allison has taught in the US, Italy, and the UK. The author and editor of four books on early modern Italy and Europe, she is also General Editor of the book series Visual and Material Culture, 1300-1700, published by Amsterdam University Press.

Table of Contents

Map of Florence x

List of Illustrations xi

Timeline of principal events xv

Author's Note xxiv

Preface xxv

Prologue 1

Piano Terra 6

Chapter 1 The Merchant 15

Primo Piano 30

Chapter 2 The Opportunists 39

Secondo Piano 76

Chapter 3 The Heir Aberrant 85

Terzo Piano 126

Chapter 4 The Suicide Bride 135

Quarto Piano 154

Chapter 5 The Salonnière 162

Quinto Piano 195

Chapter 6 The Tenant 205

Sesto Piano 225

Epilogue 233

Acknowledgments 239

Text Permissions 240

Notes 241

Bibliography 253

Index 265

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