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City-state of mind

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Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy arrives at an apropos time in Italian history. Last month, the country recognized the 150th anniversary of its unification — and many "celebrated" by lamenting that it ever happened, or by bemoaning today's lurid scandals enveloping Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In summation, Tim Parks in the April 11 issue of the New Yorker wrote, "A couple on the edge of divorce do not rejoice that their wedding anniversary is around the corner."

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