House of Secrets

House of Secrets[Download] ➵ House of Secrets By Allison Levy – When Italian Renaissance professor Allison Levy takes up residency in the palazzo of her dreams the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence she finds herself consumed by the space and swept into the vortex of it When Italian Renaissance professor Allison Levy takes up residency in the palazzo of her dreams House of MOBI :Ä the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence she finds herself consumed by the space and swept into the vortex of its history She spends every waking moment in dustry Florentine libraries and exploring the palazzo's myriad rooms seeking to uncover its secrets As she unearths the stories of those who have lived behind its celebrated facade she discovers that it has been witness to weddings suicides orgies and even a murder Entwining Levy's own experiences with the ghosts of the Palazzo Rucellai's past House of Secrets paints a scintillating portrait of a family a palace and one of the most iconic cities in the world.

Allison Levy is Digital Scholarship Editor at Brown University An art historian educated at Bryn House of MOBI :Ä Mawr College she has taught in the US Italy and the UK Allison has published widely on the visual culture of early modern Italy and serves as General Editor of the book series Visual and Material Culture – published by Amsterdam University PressBorn and raised in New Orleans Allison ha.

House of Secrets eBook ☆ House of  MOBI :Ä
  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • House of Secrets
  • Allison Levy
  • English
  • 07 June 2016
  • 9781788313605

10 thoughts on “House of Secrets

  1. Karen says:

    I just finished reading Allison Levy’s “House of Secrets and found it enlightening moving and entertaining Looking for a place to live in Florence while pursuing research Levy stumbles across an amazing rental opportunity a tiny place inside the very most famous Florentine palace the Palazzo Rucellai In a book on the august and famous Palazzo Rucellai by Leon Battista Alberti one expects perhaps a dry architectural meditation I was surprised at how much besides architecture was revealed in Levy’s work and in particular how much her story because it really is a “story” relates to gender I thought the very brief anecdote about the impregnated 15th century enslaved woman Catarina was very poignant especially the revelations about how laws concerning such births controlled for the loss of labor or property for the owner of the slave I was also struck by a somewhat related passage where Alberti is uoted on the architectural need to make the upper class young women’s living uarters as pleasant as possible since they were essentially imprisoned in them And finally I loved Levy’s observations about the way the famous family history that Giovanni Rucellai wrote almost completely overlooked women In relation to this she notes that one of the few instances when women were included in this document was the mention of the names of the FOUR wives of the very earliest patriarch —what is not written I'm sure is that at least a couple of these women died in childbirth on the altar of family expansion  This very famous palazzo was of course a place where many women lived and no doubt died and in unearthing its history Levy also shows the erasure of women from historyBut to be clear the book is not solely about women’s history There is much Levy gives us glimpses of the fun and the frustrating aspects of the scholarly life the idiosyncrasies of Italian living along with romance and even a hushed up murder If you like Italy architecture history glimpses into the academic life you will like this book

  2. Bruce Edelstein says:

    House of Secrets is uite possibly the finest example of a book that manages to be both a excellent work of architectural and social history AND a delicious popular page turner Allison Levy puts both her erudition and her irresistible writing to this arduous task making it all seem effortless I read this book over a long period of time to savor the passage of time covered in its individual chapters It is a wonderful vehicle for armchair traveling to Florence both now and in its past

  3. Joanna says:

    I highly recommend Allison Levy’s House of Secrets especially if you want a different and fresh perspective on the beloved city of FlorenceIn the preface “Palazzo as palimpsest” is Levy’s succinct description of her narrative about Palazzo Rucellai in Florence and I could not agree Eually sweeping and intimate in its scale House of Secrets focuses on this uniue palazzo to reveal the layers of Florence’s history – political economic social art and perhaps most interestingly family – from the late medieval period to present day I thoroughly enjoyed how Levy went even further back to explain the Rucellai family’s origins in the sourcing and trade of the lichen based purple dyes that offered access for the masses to this emblematic color of power Levy’s discussion of the guild system also was very helpful to put the Rucellai family business and family fortunes returns from exile bankruptcy etc into the context of the political and economic power that came from those guilds Leaping ahead in timeline I loved learning about Contessa Lysina Rucellai to provide a framework of Florentine history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Fascinating and I want to learn Interwoven with the building’s history is Levy’s personal experience of living in the palazzo during her sabbatical residency I can totally relate to Levy’s initial curiosity about the palazzo manifesting into a full blown research project The historian in me devoured her descriptions of using her scholarly research access at multiple libraries and archives so that she could feed her fascination to learn about Palazzo Rucellai and the Rucellai clan I also admired how Levy embraced the serendipity of meeting Lorenzo and learning from her experiences of her time with him From one Prada lover to another I salute herThe book’s organization and content reminded me of other books I have read recently In particular Levy’s narrative about the layered history of Palazzo Rucellai reminded me of Coonan’s From Marble to Flesh about the centuries of history surrounding Michelangelo’s David Also Levy’s deviation from the original plan for her sabbatical to pivot to the history of the palazzo was very reminiscent of Anthony Doerr’s lyrical Four Seasons in Rome Both authors fall prey to the power and pull of their immediate surroundings and we the readers are the beneficiaries of their deep experiencesWhen I visit Florence I pick a theme to research ahead of the trip so as to have a focused experience Previous themes have included studies of the Medici family as well as Medieval Florence through the lens of Dante’s Divine Comedy Thanks to House of Secrets learning about the Florentine palazzo is 100% the theme for my next visit to Florence

  4. Wendy says:

    How did I not review this book months ago? I loved it so much that I gifted it to four friends an architect a Florentine expat now living in the Bay Area a sculptorbibliophile and another painter who is obsessed with the history behind great art It is that good and that compelling Along with the captivating story of this great house and all its mysteries you also get a tantalizing glimpse into the life and loves of the author herself Like the story of the palazzo Dr Allison Levy’s life there is revealed in small but intimate ways What I loved well I’m a proud nerd and big art history junkie so I was enthralled with each bit of knowledge Levy deftly revealed about Renaissance life and art in Florence over the course of these centuries She knows so much but is never didactic and she shares her enthusiasm so lightly even though she is truly a walking encyclopedia of knowledge It isn’t only what she tells; it’s how she tells it She has a dry and mordant wit and charms with her darkly funny way with words Speaking of her diagnosis of kidney stones during her sabbatical she writes “high on Lixidol and supersaturated with Acua Panna I read up on my diagnosis An “honourable” malady wrote fellow sufferer Michel de Montaigne “it preferably attacks the great; it is essentially noble and dignified” The affluent I also learned were believed prone to developing kidney stones due to their lifestyle protein rich diets excessive amounts of wine and “immoderate sexual intercourse” — on feather beds no less Sounded like a fair trade off to me”The entire book is peppered with such asides I know I’d love this woman if I met her and the intersection of her intellect and humor are what thread this beautiful book together I’d read anything she writes and can’t wait for her next book Much of the art history itself I’d learned years ago in art school and just as promptly forgotten Levy’s description of things such as the derivation of Tyrian purple painstakingly extracted from sea snails was fascinating and reminded me that class distinctions have been around for eons as if we didn’t know it every day in this world Considering the tragedy of the women’s line of the Rucellai family being completely extinguished was a relevant reminder to me both as a feminist and woman artist I visited this great house over the summer and although I couldn’t go inside I tried to picture what it must have been like to live there then and now Dr Levy’s time there certainly sounds appealing than that of many of the long passed inhabitants wealthy and privileged as they may have been I’m so glad she got to live there and then wrote this marvelous book so that I could feel I’d experienced a bit of this adventure too Grazie infinite Dr Levy

  5. Candice Kraus says:

    The juxtaposition of the author's own story intermingled with the Palazzo's story was brilliant The first decades of the Palazzo's history was well told as was the final chapter in the story The middle section was confusing with time jumping around and going back and forth within the historical narrative portions Overall well done I wished I had read this before my trip to Florence not on the way home But will peruse again the introductory timeline before my next trip

  6. Ashley Champagne says:

    Allison Levy's book is a page turner that offers a fresh character driven perspective on Palazzo Rucellai and a raw personal narrative of Levy's time living behind the façade It's a must read for art enthusiasts academics scholars who have ever uestioned academia andor readers who love gorgeous writing The story will take you on a journey through the palatial townhouse that visitors ordinarily do not get a chance to see from the inside I cannot recommend it highly enough

  7. Allison says:

    Enjoyable and informative historiography of both the Palazzo Ruccellai in Florence Florentine history in general and the author's own sabbatical year in Florence

  8. April says:

    Not the type of book that I thought it would be Didn’t finish it life is short I gave it three stars because I didn’t take the time to give it a fair shot I just knew it wan’t for me

  9. Frances says:

    Never uite succeeds in weaving the personal narrative in with the historical one But some fun Italian tales which I cannot resist

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