Photo of Florence by cfwee used under a Creative Commons license.
Mary McCarthy, The Stones of Florence (Harcourt, 1963).
After a brief nod to modern Florence and its residents, McCarthy dives into Renaissance Florence, and particularly its art, architecture, and turbulent politics. Florentine artists like Fra Angelico, Botticelli and Michelangelo walk the pages of this book. I wish I had read it before my last trip to the Uffizi Gallery. Readers unfamiliar with Renaissance Florence may struggle to follow along, as McCarthy has not written a conventional history.
Wikipedia’s bio of McCarthy is here. You can purchase an audio guide to McCarthy’s Florence here. In 1963, McCarthy reviewed William S. Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch, and in 1969 she reviewed George Orwell’s collected essays and letters.