The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress

About The Book

29939028Published: April 25th 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genres: Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Art, Romance

Source: Finished Copy for Review

My Rating: 4 Stars


A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.

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I enjoyed reading The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. Admittedly, I had no idea what The Birth of Venus looked like, until I Googled it. Palombo painted a pretty picture of how this painting came to be. Of course, this is fictional and I think she did a wonderful job of creating Simonetta as the woman who inspired Sandro Botticelli to paint the goddess Venus, whom the painting refers to. If you are a lover of historical fiction, or just love art, this is definitely one that you want to grab. The writing is so beautiful and after finishing this story, I immediately wanted to visit Florence, Italy. I want to see the Sistine Chapel, and even visit the Medici Chapel.

A woman who has both beauty and brains is a dangerous creature. I love that Palombo gave Simonetta both of these traits, but she also made her to be a true feminine woman of 15th Century Italy. Being married to Marco didn’t keep the other men of Florence at bay. Simonetta attracted these powerful, intelligent men like bees to honey. Sandro Botticelli was no exception. But it wasn’t her beauty alone that captivated him, it was her mind. They spent a lot of time discussing philosophy – most notably, Plato. And from there, their passion ignited. 

I abhor politics, but I was really into this story full of the one thing I try to avoid. It’s not so much that I couldn’t handle, so I was grateful for all the other aspects. The ending kind of threw me off, because I wasn’t expecting it. At all. Still, I love the way it all unfolded and the vivid descriptions that the author gave to make me imagine it in my mind. I love the blend of historical facts and fiction, and I know that there was a lot of research going into this story. I really recommend reading this book if you want to be swept away by an artist and his muse.




About The Author

Alyssa Palombo_Credit Elizabeth Snyder Photography, LLCAlyssa Palombo is the author of The Violinist of Venice. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review.  She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively.  A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

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Also By Alyssa Palombo: The Violinist of Venice – A Story of Vivaldi

The Violinist of Venice

11 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress

  1. I do like politics, especially in my novels, so I think that is something that might be able to work out for me! I can’t wait to read this one now as well. Poetry and books inspired by characters in paintings is always interesting to me. Because that’s what I think about when I see all the thousands of portraits we have in museums. And you’re so right – a beautiful and smart girl is a dangerous creature! Just like you ❤


  2. Great review! This doesn’t sound like my typical read either but it sounds really good! Glad you liked it!


  3. I love stories set in Renaissance Italy so I would definitely be eager to try this one. She sounds like a woman of depth. I like that when a real life figure is brought out in a story.

    Nice review, Lekeisha!


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