Daily Life in Renaissance Italy
, 2nd Edition
by Elizabeth S. Cohen and Thomas V. Cohen
September 2019, 356pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5692-1
$63, 53€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5693-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Renaissance Italy is famous for its unmatched contributions to the arts—from music and drama to sculpture, painting, and architecture—made possible by wealthy patrons from Italian city-states.

A clear, lively, and deeply informed survey of life in Renaissance Italy for students and general readers, this book presents a thoughtful cultural and social anthropology of practices, values, and negotiations.

Lively and reader-friendly, this second edition of Daily Life in Renaissance Italy provides a colorful and accurate sense of how it felt to inhabit the Renaissance Italian world (1400–1600). In clearly written chapters, the book moves from Renaissance Italy’s geography to its society, and then to family. It also looks at hierarchies, moralities, devices for keeping social order, media and communications and the arts, space, time, the life cycle, material culture, health, and illness, and finishes with work and play.

This new edition is especially alert to the rich connections between Italy and the rest of Europe, and with Africa and Asia. The book synthesizes a great deal of recent scholarship on social and material history, paying additional attention to the arts and religion. Readers are given an inside view of people from every social class, elite and ordinary, men and women. Written for students of all levels, from secondary school up, it is also an accessible introduction for travelers to Italy.


  • Brings the Italian Renaissance to contemporary readers.
  • Demonstrates in-depth research in content that includes archival sources
  • Includes images to visually support the chapters and bring the text to life
  • Presents reader-friendly prose that is both clear and highly polished
Elizabeth S. Cohen is professor of history at York University, Toronto, Canada. She is coauthor of Words and Deeds in Renaissance Italy and coeditor of The Youth of Early Modern Women. She has published many articles on the history of non-elite women in early modern Italy.

Thomas V. Cohen is professor of history at York University, Toronto, Canada. He is coauthor of Words and Deeds in Renaissance Italy and author of Love and Death in Renaissance Italy and Roman Tales: A Reader's Guide to the Art of Microhistory (forthcoming). He is also coeditor of Cultural History of Early Modern European Streets and Spoken Word and Social Practice: Orality in Europe (1400–1700).

Daily Life

What was life really like for ordinary people in other cultures throughout history? How did they raise their children? What did they do for fun? From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, and from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the indispensable hands-on volumes of this award-winning series. A truly interdisciplinary resource, the Daily Life series covers arts; religion; food; literature; language; romance; rites of passage and coming of age; marriage customs; social and government structure; sickness and cures; warfare; sports and games; holidays; festivals; and more. With direct ties to the curriculum and supported by the most current research, these authoritative volumes are organized in an accessible narrative chapter format, and supplemented with photos, maps, and other ready-reference materials, Daily Life volumes are ideal sources for general readers and students of world history, United States history, social studies, anthropology, religion, literature, arts, and more.

Each volume provides:
• An exploration of complex eras in history on a level accessible to students and general readers
• Authoritative coverage stemming from the most current scholarship and recent discoveries
• A focus on social rather than political history in key curricular areas, providing an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of daily life
• Interactive, exciting details such as recipes, sheet music, rules for games, song lyrics, and more
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