In the tradition of Burckhardt, this is less a history than a humanistic interpretation of the Renaissance, not strictly chronological or all-inclusive (forerunners Giotto, Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are merely mentioned, non-Italian developments only briefly described). Starting with Cellini (""the first modern autobiography"") on route to Rome, it surveys the city in its ascendancy, reviews its recent rise, shifts to Florence for another recap, arrives eventually where it left Cellini at the Sack of Rome. This backing and filing is both enlightening through cross-references--and confusing. More successful, and notably perceptive and provocative, is the chapter on cynosures Leonardo, Raphael and Leonardo and that which characterizes and contrasts Machiavelli and Castiglione. The final chapter raises questions about the period, presents long excerpts from Cellini's Life and The Prince. A detailed chronology and a few suggestions for further reading conclude. Quite different in approach and scope from the Brooks and Walworth The World Awakes and suitable for slightly older children, this is worth having for an overview of the Italian Renaissance, insight into some of its significant manifestations.