The summer is approaching quickly, so it’s time to enjoy the good weather, either at home or on vacation, and read a few books. As a Venice addict, I always try to find books with a link to Venice. It makes me dream about the city even when I’m not there. This list has something to suit all tastes and includes crime, romance, war, personal stories, a graphic novel, guide books and an art catalogue. Click on the title if you want more information or if you want to order a book.
This personal adventure of Philip Gwynne Jones and his wife Caroline starts when they decide to leave Edinburgh and move to Venice. If you love Venice, you might already have dreamed about moving there yourself. Philip is a marvellous storyteller, so you will be all ears when he shares how they arrived in Venice with ten pieces of luggage, no job, no friends and no long-term place to stay. Philip Gwynne Jones is the author of the mystery books about the Honorary Consul Nathan Sutherland in Venice (see my list of 2018 books).
Even though this crime story has been written more than 20 years ago, it is still a favourite of many of my followers, so I decided to add it to this list. Detective Aurelio Zen returns to his native Venice where he stays in a palazzo in Cannaregio. He is searching for the ghostly tormentors of a half-demented contessa and for a vanished American millionaire. Michael Dibdin perfectly mixes both storylines while he takes you through the labyrinth of canals, bridges and streets of Venice. If you have been to Venice, you can easily picture the setting of every scene.
After the death of her long-time friend and flatmate, the retired British history teacher Julia Garnet does something completely out of character. She takes a six-month rental on a modest apartment in Venice. She becomes friends with a young Italian boy and English twins who are restoring a fourteenth-century chapel. And she falls in love for the first time in her life with an art dealer named Carlo. Salley Vickers created some very colourful characters so you will keep turning pages to find out what happens next.
Andrea di Robilant is the author of one of my all-time favourite books about Venice (A Venetian Affair) so I couldn’t miss this new book. In the fall of 1948, Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice. Hemingway hadn’t published a novel in nearly a decade when he fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl. Andrea di Robilant gives an intimate look at Hemingway’s final years, during which Adriana inspired him to complete his great final work.
Benya Golden was imprisoned in the Gulags and joined a penal battalion to fight the Nazis in July 1942. When he is sent on a suicide mission behind enemy lines in the hot grasslands outside Stalingrad, he falls in love with a Venetian nurse. Even though the book is set in Russia, the memories of Fabiana about Venice gave me an excuse to add it to my list. With this third book in his Moscow series, Simon Sebag Montefiore created another page turner which is perfect for long summer reads.
In this romantic comedy, food writer Kat has fallen in love with an Italian man and is moving to live with him in Venice. She will help him run his small guesthouse, Hotel Gondola. But the thing about adventures is that they never go exactly the way you expect them to. The story is not just a typical romance set in Venice. You will also discover plenty of recipes to try at home. The book is written from two different points of view. Some chapters follow Kat’s perspective, while others are told by a narrator.
Reed Stewart and Anika Taylor have known each other since college. They run into each other 7 years after a trip to Venice that turned their lives upside down. When Reed hires Anika’s interior design firm to redecorate his home, the attraction between them burns just as strong as ever. But Anika has a painful secret. If she shares it, she runs the risk of losing Reed for good. This sweet yet spicy second-chance-at-love story from Delaney Diamond is pure summer reading.
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Aperol has published a bespoke graphic novel with wonderful stories about joyful connections. Seven comic-strip style stories are set in different decades and parts of the world, from Padova to New York. The artists have created a mosaic of tales, from comedy to suspense with a touch of romance, with orange as leitmotiv to capture the magic of human connections. As a lover of graphic novels and of Spritz, I look forward to discover this book which will be available for purchase from July.
If you have been to Venice, you know that there are countless bridges and that none of them is the same. In the new edition of his book, Charl Durand has not only documented the bridges of Venice, but also 14 bridges in Chioggia. Next to the descriptions and photographs, the book includes legends and stories about their names, intriguing histories, architecture and surroundings. You can also find short bridge walking itineraries for one day or multiple day visits.
I can’t resist a guide book about Venice, so I didn’t hesitate to add this new title to my list. It is part of the ‘500 hidden secrets’ series which is already available for many other cities. Local architect Anna Sardi shares her favourite places in Venice and provides a fresh perspective on the must-visit (cultural) spots in the city. The book includes restaurants, open air markets, buildings by architect Carlo Scarpa, convents where you can spend the night, bookshops for kids and much more.
The catalogue of the 2019 Art Biennale might not be the most practical book to take with you on the beach, but it’s perfect to browse its 840 pages at home. You can use it after your visit to the Biennale to find more information about pavilions or artists, or to prepare your trip to Venice. Or in case you won’t be able to make it to Venice this year, you can experience the contemporary art exhibitions through the catalogue.
If you want to discover more novels set in Venice, you can browse my other posts with book tips. If you have any suggestions for additional titles, feel free to add them in the comments.
PS: Several links in this post are affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you order a book.
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