The best books about Venice (non-guidebooks)

Meredith Small Author Of Inventing the World: Venice and the Transformation of Western Civilization
By Meredith Small

The Books I Picked & Why

Venice

By Jan Morris

Venice

Why this book?

Although this book was published in the 1960s, it is absolutely the best book about Venice, both its history and what it’s like to be there no. Jan Morris was the master of travel writing, and her glorious prose and detailed descriptions take your breath away, even if you don’t yet know anything about Venice.


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Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide

By Tiziano Scarpa

Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide

Why this book?

Venice is a Fish is the book to carry to Venice so that you can sit in a campo somewhere (or at a café with a spritz) and read it during your stay. A funny, fun, and informative book about Venice as it is now, as well as over its long history. Then you can follow in the book’s footsteps and go for a walk and get lost.


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Veneziaenigma: Thirteen Centuries of Chronicles, Mysteries, Curiosities and Extraordinary Events Poised Between History and Myth

By Alberto Toso Fei

Veneziaenigma: Thirteen Centuries of Chronicles, Mysteries, Curiosities and Extraordinary Events Poised Between History and Myth

Why this book?

Toso Fei is a Venetian author who writes about the quirks and mysteries of Venice. He has several books about ghost stories, strange events, and inventions. All his books are great because he not only writes well but is knowledgeable as only an insider can be.


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A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century

By Andrea di Robilant

A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century

Why this book?

This creative non-fiction book is both the real history of a couple in love and the story of di Robilant discovering their letters in the family palazzo. The drama plays out during the 18th century, a time when Venice is heading for decline. His other books are also wonderful, especially Irresistible North about the Zen brothers exploring the North Sea.


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Venice Observed

By Mary McCarthy

Venice Observed

Why this book?

Here you get McCarthy’s whit and her fine descriptions about living in Venice. Although her stay happened long ago, her stories about interacting with her landlord and other Venetians, and all the adjustments one must make when living in a water-bound city, ring true today as well.


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