100 books like Ciao, Carpaccio! An Infatuation

By Jan Morris,

Here are 100 books that Ciao, Carpaccio! An Infatuation fans have personally recommended if you like Ciao, Carpaccio! An Infatuation. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of In the Company of the Courtesan: A Novel

Kathleen Ann Gonzalez Author Of A Beautiful Woman in Venice

From my list on undaunted Italian women to inspire you.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 1996 when my first trip to Venice rearranged my interior life, I have been visiting the city and learning everything I can about it. Most of my reading led me to men’s history, but with some digging, I uncovered the stories of Venice’s inspired, undaunted, hardworking women. Their proto-feminism motivated me to share their stories with others in an attempt to redefine beauty. I’ve also created videos showing sites connected to these women’s lives, and I’ve written four books about Venetians, including extensive research into Giacomo Casanova and two anthologies celebrating Venetian life. Reading and writing about Venice helps me connect more deeply with my favorite city.

Kathleen's book list on undaunted Italian women to inspire you

Kathleen Ann Gonzalez Why did Kathleen love this book?

In prose that is engrossing and rich in color, culture, and voice, Dunant’s historical fiction novel incorporates stories of two of the women that I included in my own book.

The courtesan Fiammetta, loosely based on the life of Veronica Franco, and her healer La Draga, inspired by Elena Crusichi, pulled me into eighteenth-century Venice and its opportunities and dangers for enterprising women. Paired with reading Franco’s actual poems and letters, edited and translated by Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal, I developed a deep admiration and compassion for Franco and Crusichi during Venice’s heyday.

Dunant has again written a page turner that I read more than once.

By Sarah Dunant,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In the Company of the Courtesan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment.

Thus begins In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant’s epic novel of life in Renaissance Italy. Escaping the sack of Rome in 1527, with their stomachs churning on the jewels they have swallowed, the courtesan Fiammetta and her dwarf companion, Bucino, head for Venice, the shimmering city born out of water to…


Book cover of Virgins of Venice: Broken Vows and Cloistered Lives in the Renaissance Convent

Gina Buonaguro Author Of The Virgins of Venice

From my list on women in Renaissance Venice.

Why am I passionate about this?

My goal as a writer is to revive lost women’s stories through historical fiction. After co-authoring several historical novels, our last mystery set in Renaissance Rome, we decided to set the sequel in Venice. When we decided to split amicably before finishing that novel, I had spent so much time researching Renaissance Venice that I instantly knew I wanted to set my first solo novel there and focus on girls and women whose stories are so frequently lost to history. So began a quest to learn everything I could about the females of 15th and 16th-century Venice, leading me toward both academic and fictional works of the era.

Gina's book list on women in Renaissance Venice

Gina Buonaguro Why did Gina love this book?

Mary Laven’s readable academic book Virgins of Venice is the definitive resource on the topic of nuns in Renaissance Venice. She explores every aspect of what it was like to be and live as a nun during a roughly two-hundred-year period, when most convents were filled with high-status women of no religious calling, forced to live there by their fathers and the strict social conventions of the time.

By Mary Laven,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Virgins of Venice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A portrait of 16th and 17th century Italian convent life, set in the vibrant culture of late Renaissance Venice. Early 16th century Venice had 50 convents and about 3000 nuns. Far from being places of religious devotion, the convents were often little more than dumping-grounds for unmarried women fron the upper ranks of Venetian society. Often entering a convent at seven years old, these young women remained emotionally and socially attached to their families and to their way of life outside the convent. Supported by their private incomes, the nuns ate, dressed and behaved as gentlewomen. In contravention of their…


Book cover of The Midwife of Venice

Gina Buonaguro Author Of The Virgins of Venice

From my list on women in Renaissance Venice.

Why am I passionate about this?

My goal as a writer is to revive lost women’s stories through historical fiction. After co-authoring several historical novels, our last mystery set in Renaissance Rome, we decided to set the sequel in Venice. When we decided to split amicably before finishing that novel, I had spent so much time researching Renaissance Venice that I instantly knew I wanted to set my first solo novel there and focus on girls and women whose stories are so frequently lost to history. So began a quest to learn everything I could about the females of 15th and 16th-century Venice, leading me toward both academic and fictional works of the era.

Gina's book list on women in Renaissance Venice

Gina Buonaguro Why did Gina love this book?

This evocative novel tells the story of a Jewish midwife making her way in a very Christian Renaissance Venice. Along with all Jews confined to the ghetto at night by doge’s decree, Hannah is not permitted to help Christians with her medical knowledge. However, when her husband is taken to Malta and sold as a slave, Hannah finds that certain laws can be broken, for the right price.

By Roberta Rich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midwife of Venice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Not since Anna Diamant’s The Red Tent or Geraldine Brooks’s People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history. A “lavishly detailed” (Elle Canada) debut that masterfully captures sixteenth-century Venice against a dramatic and poetic tale of suspense.

Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers using her secret “birthing spoons.” When a count implores her to attend his dying wife and save their unborn son, she is…


Book cover of Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice

Gina Buonaguro Author Of The Virgins of Venice

From my list on women in Renaissance Venice.

Why am I passionate about this?

My goal as a writer is to revive lost women’s stories through historical fiction. After co-authoring several historical novels, our last mystery set in Renaissance Rome, we decided to set the sequel in Venice. When we decided to split amicably before finishing that novel, I had spent so much time researching Renaissance Venice that I instantly knew I wanted to set my first solo novel there and focus on girls and women whose stories are so frequently lost to history. So began a quest to learn everything I could about the females of 15th and 16th-century Venice, leading me toward both academic and fictional works of the era.

Gina's book list on women in Renaissance Venice

Gina Buonaguro Why did Gina love this book?

This accessible academic work brings to life the inner workings – and breakdowns – of marriages at a time when annulment was the only option. Through court and ecclesiastical proceedings and petitions written by both sexes, the lives of ordinary women – including sexual relations, domestic abuse, cheating, and financial problems are made even more real by the voices of friends, neighbors, and in-laws.

By Joanne M. Ferraro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on a fascinating body of previously unexamined archival material, this book brings to life the lost voices of ordinary Venetians during the age of Catholic revival. Looking at scripts that were brought to the city's ecclesiastical courts by spouses seeking to annul their marriage vows, this book opens up the emotional world of intimacy and conflict, sexuality, and living arrangments that did not fit normative models of marriage.


Book cover of Diego Rivera: His World and Ours

Nancy Churnin Author Of Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring

From my list on children’s books about art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning children’s book author who writes stories about ordinary people, like you and me, that discovered their unique gifts and used those gifts, plus perseverance, to make the world a better place. All my books come with free teacher guides, resources, and projects on my website where kids can share photos of the great things they do.

Nancy's book list on children’s books about art

Nancy Churnin Why did Nancy love this book?

The best thing a book about an artist can do is to encourage children to make art, too. That’s what award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh does in this innovative biography of Diego Rivera, one of the most famous painters of the 20th century. Tonatiuh focuses on how Rivera dedicated himself to telling the history and stories of people and places he knew and loved in Mexico by capturing their images. Taking this book to the next level, Tonatiuh then asks his young readers what stories this painter would bring to life today and encourages them to create new images that the world needs to see.

By Duncan Tonatiuh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diego Rivera as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This charming book introduces one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera, to young readers. It tells the story of Diego as a young, mischievous boy who demonstrated a clear passion for art and then went on to become one of the most famous painters in the world. Duncan Tonatiuh also prompts readers to think about what Diego would paint today. Just as Diego's murals depicted great historical events in Mexican culture or celebrated native peoples, if Diego were painting today, what would his artwork depict? How would his paintings reflect today's culture?Diego Rivera: His World…


Book cover of Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske

Clare Hunter Author Of Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle

From my list on needlework that will surprise and move you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have sewn since I was a child, taught by my mother to keep me out of mischief. From having the best-dressed dolls in the neighbourhood I graduated to making my own, sometimes outlandish, forms of fashion and then became a banner maker and community textile artist. Sewing is in my DNA and I love the tactile, rhythmic soothe of it. But I have long been curious about how, in the many books are published about needlework, very few ever mention why people sew. This is what fascinates me, the stories of sewing, because it is through its purpose that we discover the spirit that lies within it. 

Clare's book list on needlework that will surprise and move you

Clare Hunter Why did Clare love this book?

This is a rare and poignant insight into a man’s needlecraft and it was a delight to read. Julia Blackburn sets out on a mission to rediscover the neglected embroideries and forgotten story of the Norfolk fisherman, John Craske, (1881-1943). Her research leads her to many dead ends and unexpected encounters and, along the way, she experiences and shares her own story of loss. I love this book because it takes me into the world of the sea captured in the fishing folk Blackburn meets and introduces me to Craske’s mesmerising embroideries made under tragic circumstances.

By Julia Blackburn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Threads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year 2015

John Craske, a Norfok fisherman, was born in 1881 and in 1917, when he had just turned thirty-six, he fell seriously ill. For the rest of his life he kept moving in and out of what was described as 'a stuporous state'. In 1923 he started making paintings of the sea and boats and the coastline seen from the sea, and later, when he was too ill to stand and paint, he turned to embroidery, which he could do lying in bed. His embroideries were also the sea, including his…


Book cover of Life with Picasso

Michael Findlay Author Of Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art

From my list on making modern art exciting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent an exciting half-century in the New York art world as a dealer and an author and while my passion is to encourage people to enjoy art for art’s sake (rather than money or prestige) my many close friendships with artists demonstrate how much their life informs their art. The authors of these five books bring the art as well as the artists to life.

Michael's book list on making modern art exciting

Michael Findlay Why did Michael love this book?

She was 21, he was 61. Thousands of books have been written about Picasso, this one is unique. Gilot is an artist (whose work he admired) who became the mother of two of his children and the only woman to have left him. All Picasso’s work is about his life and this book illuminates the passions of his later years.

Women were Picasso’s most enduring subject and his relationships with them vitally inform all the decades of his work. His greatness as an artist is matched only by his failure as a partner and his poor treatment of the real women in his life is well documented. He met his match in Françoise Gilot, the only woman to have left him voluntarily. As an artist in her own right, she is in a unique position to inform us about the man and his work.

By Françoise Gilot, Carlton Lake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life with Picasso as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Francoise Gilot was a young painter in Pasis when she first met Picasso - he was sixty-two and she was twenty-one. During the following ten years they were lovers, worked closely together and she became mother to two of his children, Claude and Paloma.

Life with Picasso, her account of those extraordinary years, is filled with intimate and astonishing revelations about the man, his work, his thoughts and his friends - Matisse, Braque, Gertrude Stein and Giacometti among others. Francois Gilot paints a compelling portrait of her turbulent life with the temperamental genius that was Picasso.

She is a superb…


Book cover of Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness: A Conversation with the Art of Allan Ramsay

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

To my mind, Alison Watt’s unerring eye and technical skills rank among the best, and conceptually her paintings are equally compelling. Dealing with the complexities of perception, they constantly question the nature of art: what is this magic that paint alone can perform? Her work is an ongoing conversation with the art of the past, and the exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery was her response to the 18th Century portraitist Allan Ramsay. The paintings remind me of exhibits in a trial, or evidence of a forensic examination, focusing on specific details, insisting that we look more closely, enjoying forms and colours, and inviting us to speculate on their relevance to the original subjects. The catalogue, beautifully produced, is a work of art in its own right.

By Julie Lawson, Tom Normand, Andrew O'Hagan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alison Watt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A unique insight into the ways in which one of today's leading artists is inspired by great works of the past.

In 16 emphatically modern new paintings, renowned artist, Alison Watt, responds to the remarkable delicacy of the female portraits by eighteenth-century Scottish portraitist, Allan Ramsay.

Watt's new works are particularly inspired by Ramsay's much-loved portrait of his wife, along with less familiar portraits and drawings. Watt shines a light on enigmatic details in Ramsay's work and has created paintings which hover between the genres of still life and portraiture.

In conversation with curator Julie Lawson, Watt discusses how painters…


Book cover of Many Points of Me

Linda Oatman High Author Of One Amazing Elephant

From my list on children’s books about grief and not facing it alone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have passion for the topic of grief among middle-school-aged children, as I struggled with my grief when I was ten and my beloved grandmother died. My dad came from a very large family, and so other relatives passed during my childhood, with me always dealing with feelings of confusion after the loss. I think that children need to know that they are not alone when they are facing a loss, whether it be of a human or a pet.

Linda's book list on children’s books about grief and not facing it alone

Linda Oatman High Why did Linda love this book?

Another middle-grade novel that includes a journey in a search for meaning after grief, Caroline Gertler’s book is also about the beauty of self-discovery. In a search for her father (and his artwork) the main character Georgia finally finds herself...as well as healing, hope, and family. In the end, Georgia learns that “home” is where she belongs, with the people who love her no matter what. A story not only about grief but about unconditional love, Gertler’s novel is a lovely one for those wondering about a lost parent.

By Caroline Gertler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Many Points of Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“Sensitive and thoughtful—a story about loss, friendship, and the beauty of self-discovery.”—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal–winning author of When You Reach Me

When Georgia finds a secret sketch her late father—a famed artist—left behind, the discovery leads her down a path that may reshape everything holding her family and friends together. Caroline Gertler’s debut is a story about friendship, family, grief, and creativity. Fans of Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger, Dan Gemeinhart’s The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, and E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will find a new friend in Georgia.

Georgia Rosenbloom’s father was…


Book cover of Stravinsky's Lunch

Fiona Sampson Author Of Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

From my list on literary biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, awarded an MBE for services to literature. Published in thirty-seven languages, she’s the recipient of numerous national and international awards. Her twenty-eight books include the critically acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley, and Two-Way Mirror: The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and she’s Emeritus Professor of Poetry, University of Roehampton.

Fiona's book list on literary biographies

Fiona Sampson Why did Fiona love this book?

Drusilla Modjeska’s Stravinsky’s Lunch is an absolutely original study of art and life. Its starting and finishing points are the contrasting lives of two major Australian artists, Stella Bowen and Grace Cossington, born twelve months apart in the 1890s. Don’t be put off if you’ve never heard of them (though their work is wonderful). This brilliant book involves its author – and even the reader – in an untricksy but radical look at the self who makes.

By Drusilla Modjeska,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stravinsky's Lunch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving, deeply insightful study of two artists-both twentieth-century Australian women-who lived and worked in divergent realms

Drusilla Modjeska's title derives from an anecdote about the composer who, while creating a piece of music, ordered his family to remain silent while taking a meal with him-so Stravinsky could preserve his concentration on his work. Modjeska's book investigates the life patterns of women artists, most of whom have been unable to manage such a neat compartmentalization of daily life and creativity.

Stravinsky's Lunch tells the stories of two extraordinary women, both born close to the turn of the century in Australia…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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