The wonderful - though sometimes difficult - years at La Foce are vividly described by Iris, an Anglo-American biographer and historian of international fame, in her two autobiographical books, Images and Shadows and War in Val d'Orcia.
Iris (1902-1988) was brought up between Florence, Ireland and America, until she married Antonio Origo and settled at La Foce.
Images and Shadows
An autobiography, in which Iris Origo describes her childhood spent between Europe and America, and her subsequent move to La Foce, a large farm in Tuscany. There she shared with her husband Antonio the responsibility of bringing back prosperity to the barren land and impoverished people.
War in Val d'Orcia, An Italian War Diary 1943-1944
A classic of the Second World War, this diary is an elegantly simple chronicle of daily life at La Foce, a Tuscan no-man's land torn by foreign invasion and civil war. "The Marchesa Origo's faithful record is one of those precious and rare accounts that give the truth of history with the art of a gifted writer, that bears witness nobly to ignoble times" (Helen Wolff).
The World of San Bernardino
Iris Origo, brilliant biographer and scholarly social historian, has re-created the life and world of a singularly attractive saint. An aristocrat and a scholar, born in Siena in the late 14th century, he was also called the second founder of the Franciscan order. Gifted with a sense of humour and a capacity for direct, simply-worded communication, he appealed to the people and to the learned alike, a man of his time and yet timeless in his deep humanity.
Leopardi, A Study in Solitude
A sensitive and appealing portrait of the melancholy, semi-cloistered, hunchback Italian poet whose genius, pain, and frustrated hopes found their outlet in poetry admired for its brilliance, intesity, and seemingly effortless musicality. "Vivid and remarkably readable" (Peter Quennell).
The Last Attachment
The story of Byron and Teresa Guiccioli as told in their unpublished letters and other family papers.
Byron is seen here in an Italian setting and through contemporary Italian eyes, as he sinks ever deeper into the labyrinth of Italian social and political life. This is above all a full account of Byron's intense love affair with the Contessa Guiccioli, as told in 160 of his letters to her, and some of her answers. There are also letters from Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lady Blessington, Lamartine and others, as well as excerpts from contemporary Italian diaries and chronicles and from the archives of the Italian and Austrian police.
The Merchant of Prato. Francesco di Marco Datini 1335-1410
In Barbara Tuchman's opinion, this is one of the great works of historical writing in the twentieth century. "Iris Origo's success in resurrecting not only a strong personality but also his times, his town, his marriage, his friends and associates, and his business dealings, makes a work of extraordinary interest with that quality to grip and take hold of a reader that makes a book everlasting". Datini was a fourteenth-century Florentine merchant-banker, and represents one of the great success stories of the Middle Ages.
A Need to Testify
Portraits of Lauro De Bosis, Ruth Draper, Gaetano Salvemini and Ignazio Silone and an essay on Biography.
Iris writes about four anti-fascists, all personal friends, in pre-World War II. Iris Origo's account is enriched by her own gift of empathy, which made her a matchless friend and a wonderful historian.