Since the number of people who have asked to receive my e-mails from Italy keeps growing beyond my ability to keep track, I’m finally going along with those of you who suggested that it would be simpler to post them online.
This year’s Italian adventure was brought to you by the letter Φ, the number 1417, and the Villa I Tatti Harvard University Institute for Italian Renaissance Studies Fellowship. Generous support from wealthy, art-loving Harvard alums enables a few early career scholars every year to come to Florence to conduct research on history, art history, musicology etc., using not only Florence’s various libraries but Harvard’s own Berenson library with its collection of primary and secondary sources in English and other languages, not to mention its famous lunches and private vineyard and olive groves. Scholarship is indeed a tough life. I am here to conduct research on classical philosophy in the Renaissance (more on that later), so most of my time will be spent in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana and other collections of rare books and manuscripts that contain early (now out-of-date) attempts to summarize the lives of ancient philosophers about whom we know little now, and knew less back then.
I have two earlier batches of Ex Urbe e-mails, from earlier research trips, mainly in 2005-2007. Over time I hope to polish and post the old letters here as well.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you all enjoy!