The dynamic portrait at the left is of Maffeo Barberini when he was still a bishop. Later he would be Pope Urban VIII. The portrait is by his good friend Caravaggio. The painter traveled among the most powerful men in Rome during his early years in the capital and Maffeo Barberini was one of the most powerful. Pope Urban VIII, 1568 –1644, reigned as Pope from 6 August 1623 to his death in 1644. He expanded the papal territory by force of arms and advantageous politicking, and was also a prominent patron of the arts and a reformer of Church missions. Barberini was a Florentine from an old noble family. He was given an excellent education and rose quickly within the church. HIs papacy of 21 years was unusually long and therefore the two decades gave him time to make a major impact on both the city of Rome and the international church.
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),