In the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a small room. It is the "studiolo from the ducal palace in Gubbio, in Umbria, Italy". While we were in there our "guide" Jenny, referred to a book she was reading that started in that very room. I finally remembered to get the name of the book from her and recently finished it. It's called "Quattrocento" and it's written by James McKean. I admit as I started it I could hear the voice of Mrs. Brownlee, my elementary school librarian saying "if you pick up a book, open it to a page and there are more than five words that you don't recognize, put it back on the shelf". There was definitely a lot of terminology I didn't recognize since it deals with art restoration but once I got past those terms (or looked them up on dictionary.com) I really started to enjoy the book. The author paints a rich vivid portrait of the "Quattrocento" period that left me wishing someone would turn the book into a movie because it would be a visual treat. The main character actually does some time travel in the book which usually drives me nuts (I hate losing track of which century someone is in) but it's done so skillfully in this book that it didn't bother me.
The fact that it starts in my favourite room in the museum doesn't hurt either. I definitely recommend this book, whether you've been to the studi0lo or not.