The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World by Paul Robert Walker. Since Italy has become our favourite vacation spot I like to read about this beautiful country. Although modern history is more interesting to me, I enjoyed listening to this history as an audio book while I worked in my studio. It is actually amazing that many documents from this era have survived for scholars to study. There are stories of plagues, wars, social customs and, of course, artistic practice. However, the central story is the design and construction of the dome for Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, interestingly inspired by Middle Eastern architecture. We are told by Ghiberti that ancient Roman art, architecture and literature was eagerly destroyed by Emperor Constantine and Pope Sylvester so it is lucky for us that 15th century Italian artists developed a passion for Roman ruins and avidly studied what remained. I enjoyed the stories of Donatello and Brunelleschi carrying out archaeological digs in Rome, the discovery of geometric perspective and other key moments in the birth of Renaissance Italy. There is a reason why historic cities like Florence are so beautiful – the citizens were actively involved in their development.