If You Were Me and Lived in Renaissance Italy: Carole P. Roman author/Illustrated by Silvia Brunetti
Close your eyes and take a trip back to 1483 and meet the great artists, sculptors, architects, rulers and the people of this great time period called the Renaissance. Imagine living in Tuscany right outside of Florence, Italy. Check out the map on page 3. See the two views of Florence one in the present and on page 5 the past. Notice the changes in the present where the architecture is more pronounced and in the past where Florence was ruled by the Medicis a rich and powerful family.
Names of children would bee different. You might be called Dolce or Lisabetta if you were a girl. Your parents might decide to name you Lorenzo or Cosimo if you were a boy. The author continues with a description of the Middle Ages, the dangers, and the fact that the people were poor and farmed the land that belonged to the local ruler. Highways for the most part were not safe and unprotected and travel was dangerous and robbers roamed freely. Children for the most part did not go to school and towns were isolated and ideas hardly ever shared or exchanged. Called the Renaissance meaning rebirth. People discovered and rediscovered the teachings of Ancient Greece and Rome. Copying the style of Classical Greece and changing the way people were depicted in art. Art, literature, life architecture and even science and astronomy took on different viewpoints and outlooks. This was an exciting period filed with exploration of places in the world discovering uncovered spices, plants and animals. People were becoming richer from all of the exciting new products coming back. A new class of people called merchants emerged.
Florence was a busy city and its importance increased with trading and banking. The Medicis supported famous artists like DaVinci and Michelangelo. On page 12 check out the Palazzo and the many different levels of this home. You would love living there and the architecture was amazing. A floor plan of a home is provided and you can see the many rooms, visualize the furnishings and the sizes of the rooms and their purposes. Education is different here. Boys are taught in school grammar and arithmetic and they go to private school and learn to be good citizens. Girls have different experiences than boys as they are taught the skills to become good housewives and learning to embroider. If lucky some even learn to read. Food is highly seasoned and water is not safe to drink so everyone drinks wine. Check out the great foods on page 22 like meats, potatoes and pasta plus much more. Your meals are taken in a special manner as you sit next to a person sharing the platter with your special fork. Girls learn to shop in the market and at age 12 their parents would look for a suitable match for you at age 16 and a dowry would be given to the boy’s family. Class distinctions are discussed for children to understand that they came from rich or privileged families and those that were poor might be seen working small plots of land. Your grandfather bought sick from a merchant in Turkey who bought it from someone in China. The Medicis were their biggest customers and they and balls and parties and needed new clothes. They lived in a house filled with books made by a printer and you used gold florino d’oro of gold florins to buy things. Check out the boys attire on page 31 and learn more about the clothing on page 30 and the girls on 34 which a picture of a dress on page 35. Sporting events, new dances and games filled the remainder of this colorfully illustrated book bringing the time period to life. Learn why this time period was important by taking the trip back in time and then reading about the artists, art, sculpture, painters, churches and famous paintings of this exciting time period. The author includes a special section on the famous people of the time period like Galileo, Michelangelo and Raphael. This final sections are filled with so much information including a glossary of terms to help define the terminology and highlight some of the important facts and people of this time period. If You Were Me and Lived in Renaissance Italy: You would be immersed in music, art, painting a culture much different than ours. Once again author Carole Roman fills the pages of another book with history, colorful illustrations, information about an exciting time period that will make readers young, young adults and adults wish they could go back in time and experience it with the two young people in the book. Great for teachers to begin the study of this time period. Great to assign one of the people in the book for children to research and learn more of or even to create their own glossary of terms illustrating the words and researching more information about each one.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN FLORINS