If we decide that the Italian Renaissance came to an end somewhere during the Seventeenth Century, then the question is: was the new Italy of the 1600s still alive and well and creative as it had been during the days of Lorenzo de' Medici and Leonardo da Vinci? To answer this question we need only recite the names of some of the most creative Italians of the Seventeenth Century: Galileo, Caravaggio, Bernini, Boromini, the Gentileschis, Vivaldi, and many more. But now after 1600, Italy found herself in competition with other European nations that were striding ahead with equal or greater energies than those of Italy. Now in the 1600s for the first time since Dante, Italy was falling behind. Why?
This is the best one-volume history of Italy that includes the modern part that we want. It provides you with a nice introduction to earlier periods and those of you who studied the Renaissance last year will find these chapters an easy review. You can read about the earlier periods a bit each week tip you get up to 1600. We will use the book all year.
A Concise History of Italy,
Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (January 20, 2014),