If this helps in clarifying what I'm looking for and why: Basically, I'm working on a fantasy (science fantasy?) novel of mine set in a non-Earth dimension/world/whatever, and I've been stuck for the longest time in trying to figure out some sort of aesthetic or culture for the main setting. So my current desperate plan of attack is to take various aspects of different Earth cultures, merge it into something mostly unrecognizable as such, and add my own personal touch. In this case, I chose Italy because I'm finishing up on an art history class about works from the Italian Renaissance, and ancient Mesopotamia because that's a subject that's interested me for a while but which I haven't done a lot of reading on.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.