, ,

A week of English books on Venice

View from the attic room with Campanile di San Francesco della Vigna

Browsing the bookstores in Venice while looking for the latest publications is always a special treat. In my opinion, no season is better than spring, when new books are either out, or announced to be published in the months to come. And when you’ve come across your new favorite book, it’s just wonderful to sit in an attic room in Venice with a view, even on a drizzly afternoon, and read your new book!

But what would you do if you can’t be in Venice right now?

A practical solution for English-speaking readers is the Dream of Venice bookshop which focuses on both fiction and non-fiction books about Venice and the Lagoon: Readers from the US can access the bookshop from here, and UK-based readers here. The bookshop was created by author JoAnn Locktov, who also published the Dream of Venice Book Trilogy.

My favorite of JoAnn’s book series is Dream of Venice Architecture which she published a couple of years ago: This book shares surprising insights into the urban structure of Venice you cannot find in other publications, in addition to its lush photography by Riccardo de Cal.

Dream of Venice Architecture presents the city built along concentric circles.

Each circle takes us deeper into the Venetian labyrinth and its ancient soul, a city that keeps enticing her guests – and inhabitants! – to explore, and sometimes, to get lost.

Our city has shown incredible resilience and a strong will to live through more than 1600 “official” years. Just imagine, according to legend, Venice was founded in 421 AD but her origins as le Venetiae go back to at least to the year 250 BC – a long story!

Essay after essay, illustrated by lush and subdued, midnight-hued images, this book reveals the secrets of “living Venetian”. As Richard Goy writes in the introductory chapter, “Venice’s urban form can be considered as a series of roughly concentric layers, each one concealing the next one as we progress further and further inwards.”

If you’re planning a trip to Venice, or just want to focus on specific topics, I’m sharing my favorite ten books from the Dream of Venice Bookshop. A growing selection of English books for everyone, regular travelers as well as armchair travelers who haven’t been there yet or would like to return some time in the future.

Books on Venetian history

PARADISE OF CITIES: A book about Venice in the 19th century, written by John Julius Norwich. Only few authors I know write about Venice in such a detailed, open and yet loving manner. John Julius Norwich’s books provide valuable insights into unexpected and forgotten aspects of La Serenissima Republic of Venice. And in this book, he takes up the most difficult chapter in Venetian history, the 19th century following the fall of the Republic. A precious book helping to retrace history and the strengths of Venice, essential know-how in the years to come.

THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK by Tudy Sammartini, a renowned Venetian garden architect. You’ll love this book especially if you’re into drawing and painting! It unveils many clues and tips to draw Venice, besides being an inspirational travel book.

CITY OF FORTUNE: HOW VENICE RULED THE SEAS by Roger Crowley:The go-to book if you’d like to virtually re-live the busy atmosphere of VENETIA, the capital of a maritime empire: Witness merchant ships returning to the Lagoon and anchoring just off the Doge’s Palace (the smaller ones were allowed into the Lagoon), and other little known details of daily life!

VITTORE CARPACCIO by Peter Humfrey et al.:Take a look behind the scenes of the busy maritime city in this book on art and paintings: It captures Venice at the turn of the 16th century, during a time when the Republic still controlled a vast maritime empire, and includes insights into Carpaccio’s careful observation of the urban environment.

Books on Venetian lifestyle and culture

VENICE – THE ART OF LIVING by Toto Bergamo Rossi and Lydia Fasoli: An iconic book on Venetian interior design, loggias, colorful accessories of a Venetian palazzo, and much more. My favorite lifestyle book on Venice.

CAFFÉ FLORIAN by Gianni Berengo Gardin: One of the best-known Venetian photographers published his collection of images of the best-known Venetian cafe. Caffé Florian is the oldest cafe in the world, and on 29 December, will celebrate its 300th birthday.

CINNAMON AND SALT by Emiko Davis is a brand-new book, but sounds wonderful as you’ll discover the best-loved antipasti of Venice, called chiceti. And spritz, of course

THE UNFINISHED PALAZZO by Judith Mackrell tells the story of Palazzo Venier on the Grand Canal, the former home of Peggy Guggenheim.

For all who love exciting and adventurous stories about Venice

THE GENIUS OF VENICE by Dial Parrott: San Marco and “the making of Piazza San Marco“ an account of the development of the entire piazza complex, through which unfolds the history of the Republic.

THE APOTHECARY’S SHOP – VENICE 1118 AD by Roberto Tiraboschi takes you back into the secret world of Venetian spice masters, a little known but decisive chapter in the history of our city.

THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith transports us back to the immediate aftermath of WW2.

To find these books, and other favorites: Readers from the US can access the bookshop from here, and UK-based readers here.

We would like to thank JoAnn Locktov for sharing a copy of her book Dream of Venice Architecture for the winner of this give-away!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

House hunting in New Orleans House hunting in New Orleans What to pack for Hawaii’s Main Islands What to pack for Hawaii’s Main Islands Beginner’s Guide to Baking Bread
%d bloggers like this: