Construction of the new St. Peter's spanned two centuries, embroiled 27 popes, and consumed the genius of the greatest artists of the age: Michaelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, and Bernini. The cost of building the new cathedral was costly in more than just monetary terms; the new basilica provoked the Protestant Reformation, dividing the Christian world for all time.
In this swift, colorful narrative, R.A. Scotti brings to life the artists and the popes, the politics and the passions behind this audacious enterprise. Scotti turns sacred architecture into a spellbinding human epic of enormous daring, petty jealousy, and staggering genius.
©2006 R.A. Scotti; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc
"A riveting portrtait of the papacy, complete with its triumphs, intrigue, and excesses." (Kirkus)
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This book is a pleasant mix of information and entertainment. It’s an honest-to-goodness story, not just a compilation of facts.
Non-fiction books tend to be dry sometimes and tedious to get through if they are too long (and you've heard me complain before about not liking books that are little more than a litany of names and dates!). This book was just right. Not too long, not too dry, not monotonous …
Having actually visited St Peter’s also added to my appreciation of the book because I could so easily visualize the construction and I enjoyed the memories of climbing up into the dome, negotiating the tight spaces and narrow stairs…. AHHH So beautiful! I can’t wait to see it again!
Scotti has crafted a simple, engaging narrative of the long and complicated history behind new St. Peter's. As an art historian, I recognize that Scotti's book omits or glosses over various details, but for a popular reader, this is a richly textured story that brings history to life.
The narrator is simply awful. Her mispronunciation of countless words -- mostly Italian, but also English-- is grating and distracting. Given the prominence of Italian names and terms in the story, one would think that the narrator and/or producer could have done the most basic of research to avoid this unnecessary and embarrassing pattern of error. Among many other errors, "Medici" and "fabbrica" appeared nearly every minute.
This was at the top because I spend quite a bit of time in Rome.
If you plan to go to Rome and spend any time at St. Peter's, this book is a must read. Before you go, take the time.
I agree with the other reviewers, a great story with wonderful insight. Well researched. The reader's poor pronunciation of so many words was such a distraction. She had a very pleasant voice but no concept how to pronounce so many Italian names, not to mention several English words too.
An excellent story which is incredibly interesting; however, it's a shame that the narrator butchers the Italian vocabulary. You would think that with all the Italian words in this book, one would have tried to find a narrator who can pronounce basic Italian. It's actually painful and extremely disruptive to hear names and places so badly pronounced.
A YA Novelists with an axe to grind. Or is it a love triangle to be annoyed at? Or a set of wings to wish for? Harrumph!
This book is full of vivid detail about the Popes and artists who created St. Peter's Basilica. The personalities of Michelangelo and Julius II loom large in their clashes. The mismanagement of funds leading to the sack of Rome in 1527 is particularly devastating, and ripping stuff! I would love to see the book made into a miniseries. Josephine Bailey's lilting English accents brings it all to life. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Art History or in Rome.
A fascinating subject, relatively well researched but written in a "You were there" style. ('Michelangelo was out of breath as he wiped his brow with his calloused hands and thought...." etc. More annoying was the uneducated pronunciation from the British reader who has a pleasant enough speaking voice but displays shocking ignorance of the classical field. These are not accepted English vs. American pronunciations, mind you. "Tacky-tiss' instead of Tacitus? There are many more of this sort, and I'm no snob. But she should have been coached properly and the recording edited. Otherwise, the book is worth a listen.
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