The holiday weekend was so leisurely that I had time to start and finish a novel — The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. For anyone who likes historic fiction with lots of romance and suspense mixed in I can definitely recommend it. It takes place in Florence during the late 15th and early 16th centuries and has enough references to textiles to warrant mention here! (The main character’s father is a cloth merchant whose business is later threatened by strict sumptuary laws, etc.) Above is an image from the Metropolitan Museum’s website, a tapestry dating to the late 16th century called “The Gathering of Manna” and made in a workshop in Florence. Also now at the Met: a special exhibition, “Tapestry of the Baroque: Threads of Splendor”, lasting until January 6th, 2008.