Written in the aftermath of the catastrophic sack of Rome in 1527, the historian Paolo Giovio's dialogue provides an informed perspective on the event from an intimate friend of Pope Clement VII. The work is also remarkable for its discussions of literary style and the much-debated question whether the vernacular could rival or surpass Latin as a vehicle for literary expression. It discusses authors whom Giovio knew personally, such as Ariosto, Castiglione, Machiavelli, Sannazaro, and Vittoria Colonna. The dialogues also contain an extensive survey of Italian noblewomen, shedding new light on their careers and cultural achievements. This volume contains a fresh edition of the Latin text and the first translation of the work into English.