The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert is a long, detailed look into the Medici family, the dynasty that had such a profound effect on the Italian city of Florence during the Renaissance.
The book follows the ups and downs of the family from the early 1430s with the rise of the near legendary Cosimo de'Medici until the end of the family line in 1737. The loves, habits and politics of each of the Medici are outlined in dense prose. the book has been described as 'thoroughly readable' by Antonia Fraser, herself a well known historical writer, but I found it heavy and hard going. In fact I felt, by presenting so much historical fact in such a dense manner, the book became boring and sometimes confusing, where background was only sketched in and too many characters were introduced at once.
I suspect this is a book that would be most appreciated by people who already know a lot about Renaissance Florence and who want a reference book about the Medici.
The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert, published by Penguin
reviewed for Italy in Books.