Reading a book which is set in Venice is an easy way to keep your Venetian memories alive or to dream about your next visit. This post gives you a glimpse at my favourite books which I added this year to my bookshelves. You will find a variety of styles: detectives, historical novels, romantic books, travel guides and even a graphic novel. Click on the cover of the book for more details or if you would like to order it.
Tour guide Alvise Marangon is up for a second adventure in this historical thriller set in 18th century Venice. After he got involved in a pub fight, he is summoned in the office of Missier Grande, the head of the secret service. He fears to be punished or to lose his license, but instead he’s asked to solve the death of one of the secret agents. This suspenseful story brings the characters all over Venice. You can follow in their footsteps with the map in the book or browse more information about the locations on the website of the author.
Gregory Dowling is a professor of American Literature at Ca’Foscari and has been living in Venice for more than 25 years.
In the 26th novel of this crime series, Commissario Brunetti realizes he needs a break from work. He moves into a house of a relative on the Sant’Erasmo island, where he intends to spend his time rowing and reading. However, after a heavy storm, the caretaker of the house goes missing. Brunetti has no other choice than to get back in work mode and investigate what happened to his friend.
If you love the Donna Leon series and you would like to explore the locations from the books in Venice, I suggest you follow the walk from my post ‘Follow Brunetti on a suspenseful trip around Venice’.
Caterina Capreta, a young girl of 14, catches the attention of one of Venice’s most famous womanizers: Giacomo Casanova. Their passionate love affair even results in a secret marriage. However, he soon betrays her and she moves to the convent in Murano. Twenty years later, a young pregnant girl brings back all Catarina’s unwelcome memories from her turbulent past. Will she eventually reveal Casanova’s secret?
This historical novel is the debut of Barbara Lynn-Davis, who worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. It is so well written that you will have a hard time to put it aside.
This intriguing novel is difficult to summarize but a pleasure to read. It is set in 2 different time periods (now and the 16th century) and in 3 locations (Venice, New York and London). You will also be tossed between secrets and revenge, between art and history, and between the two main characters: a gondoliere and a beautiful courtesan. As a Venice fan, you will recognize the historical references to the plague and the famous painter Titian, as well as the walks and descriptions of the city as you know it.
If you are looking for an easy-read on the search for happiness, this book is for you. Addolorata Martinelli has everything she thought she wanted: her own restaurant (Little Italy), a great husband and a lovely daughter (Katia). When she all of a sudden realizes that she’s lost her love of food as well as the love from her husband, she heads to Venice on her own. She hopes to get herself together and find out what makes her happy in life. As can be expected, she falls in love with Venice, the music, the people and the food. Will this change her life drastically?
After her divorce, the American high school counselor Sarah Turner leaves her job and heads to Europe for a six-week solo adventure. At the same time, the Dutch travel writer Fokke van der Veld is betrayed by his girlfriend and leaves on a guys-only trip to Italy. His favourite city is Venice, and he has written extensively about it. As can be expected from a romantic novel, they both end up in Venice. Even though the book is fiction, you might recognize some of the restaurants and locations in the city.
Kristin Anderson is working on a sequel of this story, although I’m not sure if this will still be set in Venice or not.
Palazzo Venier is mainly known as the former house of Peggy Guggenheim, but two other unconventional and fascinating residents lived there before her. After it was abandoned by the Venier family, both Luisa Casati and Doris Castlerosse used their unfinished palazzo for extravagant parties, hosting film stars and royalty. When Peggy Guggenheim acquired it, she turned the palazzo into a home for her exquisite collection of modern art. The life stories of these 3 women bring the history of the Palazzo alive. I’m sure you will think about them on your next visit to the Guggenheim museum.
I am a big fan of graphic novels, so I could not resist this book with the most beautiful drawings of Venice which I ever saw. Jiro Taniguchi found his inspiration in a beautifully lacquered box with old photos and hand-drawn postcards of Venice. He travelled to Venice to track down the places and events displayed in the images. He then created his stunning drawings which bring you all over the city. You can easily recognize the palazzos and canals and follow in his trail. This book is a wonderful gift for yourself or someone who loves Venice.
The book dates from 2014, but as Jiro Taniguchi died in 2017, I added it to this list.
Monocle has been publishing travel guides for a long time, but it’s the first time they created one about Venice. It is not the typical guide which focuses on landmarks and touristic routes. It gives you however plenty of inspiration for restaurants, bars, shops, as well as interesting and beautiful sites and locations across the city. Their selection is often rather upmarket, but you can also find tips on small local shops, artisans and bars. One example is the shop with wooden model boats of Gilberto Penzo (see also my post ‘Top 10 ideas to find the perfect Venice gift online’).
Each pavilion in Giardini has been designed with great attention to detail as it is meant to represent its country. I was immediately drawn to this book when I saw it in the bookshop. As a Biennale lover, this book will certainly add a lot of value to your visit. You will no longer only look at the art or architecture on display, but also at the building itself. You can find plenty of interesting information about the history and architecture of the buildings, as well as pictures from the archives.
If you want to discover more novels, follow the links to find out which books were published in 2016 or which are my favourite novels that are set in Venice. If you have any suggestions for additional titles, feel free to add them in the comments. Alternatively, you can also browse the post with gift ideas related to Venice.
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