The Stones of Florence


Eloquent and assured, Mary McCarthy’s The Stones of Florence beckons the reader on a brisk but sweeping tour of the birthplace of the Renaissance and the legendary home of the Medici, Dante, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and other giants of the age. Her keen observations of this famously alluring city speak to Florence’s persistent character and magnetism—and the attraction it exerted over the first major wave of American tourists to postwar Europe. These essays, which originally appeared in The New Yorker, offer an insightful, mesmerizing look into Florence’s genealogy, archaeology, art, culture, and political life. 

Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) was an American critic, public intellectual, and author of more than two dozen books, including her New York Times bestseller, The Group. After graduating from Vassar in 1933 McCarthy moved to New York City and garnered attention as a cutting theater and book critic, contributing to a wide range of publications, such as the Nation, the New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Review of Books. She served on the editorial staff of the Partisan Review from 1937 to 1948. During the 1940s and 1950s she was a vocal opponent of both McCarthyism and communism. She wrote liberal critiques of culture and power to the end of her life, opposing the Vietnam War in the 1960s and covering the Watergate scandal hearings in the 1970s.

In addition to The Group, her other novels include The Company She Keeps and Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. McCarthy also proved herself to be one of literature’s greatest traveling companions with the publication of Venice Observed and The Stones of Florence.

For her work, McCarthy won a number of awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships. She died on October 25, 1989.

“No student of the Renaissance should be without The Stones of Florence.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Mary McCarthy…may be writing the most stimulating guidebooks of our time.”
—The Nation

Price: $12.95 (paperback) | $9.99 (ebook)
Pages: 122 pages
Book dimensions: 5.25 x 0.31 x 8 in
Published: September 10, 2020
978-1-7357789-1-4 (paperback)
978-1-7357789-2-1 (ebook)