by Leon Battista Alberti
edited by Roberto Cardini
translated by David Marsh
Harvard University Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-0-674-29575-9
Library of Congress Classification PA8450.A5I5813 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 878.04


An innovative collection of comedic stories by the original “Renaissance man.”

Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) was among the most famous figures of the Italian Renaissance. His extraordinary range of abilities as a writer, architect, art theorist, and scientist made him the original model for the many-sided “Renaissance man.”

A collection of stories meant to be read while dining and drinking, the Dinner Pieces, or Intercenales, are one of Alberti’s most innovative and experimental works, mixing literary genres and styles of prose composition adapted from both Greek and Latin models. They cover a wide range of topics, from moral philosophy, politics, and religion to the arts, money-making, love and friendship, and the study of the humanities. The Dinner Pieces offer satiric commentary on the cultural illusions and moral myths of Alberti’s day. They cut through the absurdity of human existence with the blade of wit and laughter and constitute an important monument in the history of comic writing.

This English translation by David Marsh is based on the authoritative Latin text of Roberto Cardini, accompanied by ample notes.