93 books like Venice

By Jan Morris,

Here are 93 books that Venice fans have personally recommended if you like Venice. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide

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

From my list on Venice (non-guidebooks).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist who became attached to Venice after spending time in Italian language school there and returning over and over, often staying for months. What tourists see is the superficial beauty of the city. But Venice is a place of incredible depth and complexity, both historically and today. During my many visits, I began to hear (on the street) and read (in museums) of the many inventions that happened in Venice. I soon started making a list and, with additional reading, this list grew to 220 inventions—such as quarantine and the paperback book—and realized how much we owe to Venice for how we navigate the world today.

Meredith's book list on Venice (non-guidebooks)

Meredith Small Why did Meredith love 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.

By Tiziano Scarpa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Every year, hundreds of books on the city are published, but none resembles this one' - Independent

'This gem of a book offers practical advice but in a distinctly lyrical tone. If you are lucky enough to be going there, take Venice is a Fish and you will want for nothing' - Sunday Telegraph

Built on an inverted forest, paved with a tortoiseshell of boulders, Venice is a maze of tiny alleys, bridges and squares. Tiziano Scarpa wanders through the city, recounting the customs and secrets that only Venetians know. With everything from practical advice for aspiring Venetian lovers to…


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

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

From my list on Venice (non-guidebooks).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist who became attached to Venice after spending time in Italian language school there and returning over and over, often staying for months. What tourists see is the superficial beauty of the city. But Venice is a place of incredible depth and complexity, both historically and today. During my many visits, I began to hear (on the street) and read (in museums) of the many inventions that happened in Venice. I soon started making a list and, with additional reading, this list grew to 220 inventions—such as quarantine and the paperback book—and realized how much we owe to Venice for how we navigate the world today.

Meredith's book list on Venice (non-guidebooks)

Meredith Small Why did Meredith love 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.

By Alberto Toso Fei,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unusual book


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

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

From my list on Venice (non-guidebooks).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist who became attached to Venice after spending time in Italian language school there and returning over and over, often staying for months. What tourists see is the superficial beauty of the city. But Venice is a place of incredible depth and complexity, both historically and today. During my many visits, I began to hear (on the street) and read (in museums) of the many inventions that happened in Venice. I soon started making a list and, with additional reading, this list grew to 220 inventions—such as quarantine and the paperback book—and realized how much we owe to Venice for how we navigate the world today.

Meredith's book list on Venice (non-guidebooks)

Meredith Small Why did Meredith love 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.

By Andrea di Robilant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the waning days of Venice’s glory in the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was scion to one the city’s oldest patrician families. At the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mother and British father. Because of their dramatically different positions in society, they could not marry. And Giustiniana’s mother, afraid that an affair would ruin her daughter’s chances to form a more suitable union, forbade them to see each other. Her prohibition only fueled their desire and so began their torrid, secret seven-year-affair, enlisting the aid of a…


Book cover of Venice Observed

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

From my list on Venice (non-guidebooks).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist who became attached to Venice after spending time in Italian language school there and returning over and over, often staying for months. What tourists see is the superficial beauty of the city. But Venice is a place of incredible depth and complexity, both historically and today. During my many visits, I began to hear (on the street) and read (in museums) of the many inventions that happened in Venice. I soon started making a list and, with additional reading, this list grew to 220 inventions—such as quarantine and the paperback book—and realized how much we owe to Venice for how we navigate the world today.

Meredith's book list on Venice (non-guidebooks)

Meredith Small Why did Meredith love 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.

By Mary McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A penetrating work of reportage on Venice. “Searching observations and astonishing comprehension of the Venetian taste and character” (New York Herald Tribune).


Book cover of Home: A Short History of an Idea

Sally Stone Author Of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

From my list on the future of the interior.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.

Sally's book list on the future of the interior

Sally Stone Why did Sally love this book?

Home discusses the complex series of factors that have generated the house as we understand it today. The chapters can be read independently as discussions on, for example, the evolution of comfort or the organisation of the different spaces. However, the book also builds into a fascinating argument for revisiting some of the pre-modern ideas of communal living, shared spaces, and live-work relationships. 

By Witold Rybczynski,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today's Ralph Lauren-designed environments on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of "home."

You'll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decoration and furnishing, learn the connection between wall-hung religious tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting, discover how some of our most welcome luxuries were born of architectural necessity, and much more. Most of all, Home opens a rare window into our private lives and how we really want to live.


Book cover of Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

Sally Stone Author Of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

From my list on the future of the interior.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.

Sally's book list on the future of the interior

Sally Stone Why did Sally love this book?

The book introduced Interior Design as an intellectual subject with a firm theoretical grounding that went beyond style and taste to influential and foundational concepts and promoted it as a serious field of study. It is a collection of accessible essays and so is easy to dip into. My favourite essay is "Figures, Doors and Passageways," which discusses the formation of contemporary systems of circulation, the development of the corridor, and the evolution of modern ideas of personal privacy.

By Robin Evans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A re-edition of Robin Evans’ classic essay anthology Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, originally published by the Architectural Association (AA) in 1997. Featuring a new introduction, the book is the first in a new series of essay anthologies entitled AA Documents.

‘What makes this book so captivating is not just the individual insights, but also the intensity of Evans's vision and the coherence of his approach.’ ―Joseph Rykwert, Harvard Design Magazine

This book brings together eight of the most interesting and significant essays by the unequalled historian Robin Evans, author of The Projective Cast. Written over a…


Book cover of Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture As Mass Media

Sally Stone Author Of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

From my list on the future of the interior.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.

Sally's book list on the future of the interior

Sally Stone Why did Sally love this book?

Beatriz Colomina explores how Adolf Loos set the stage for the occupants of a house to live in. Through a lively discussion of the relationship between private and public areas within the homes that he designed, she discusses the relationships between the open spaces, corridors, light, dark, and view. The comparison is between the home as a place to dwell and the home as a place for performance – a theatrical set.

By Beatriz Colomina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through a series of close readings of two major figures of the modern movement, Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, Beatriz Colomina argues that architecture only becomes modern in its engagement with the mass media, and that in so doing it radically displaces the traditional sense of space and subjectivity. Privacy and Publicity boldly questions certain ideological assumptions underlying the received view of modern architecture and reconsiders the methodology of architectural criticism itself. Where conventional criticism portrays modern architecture as a high artistic practice in opposition to mass culture, Colomina sees the emerging systems of communication that have come to define…


Book cover of An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration: From Pompeii to Art Nouveau

Sally Stone Author Of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

From my list on the future of the interior.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.

Sally's book list on the future of the interior

Sally Stone Why did Sally love this book?

Mario Praz’s Illustrated History of Interior Decoration is a wonderful chatty collection of case studies that explores the history of the subject in a well-informed and erudite manner. Interiors are generally lost to the mists of time, remembered only as the backdrop to other activities in paintings and prints, Praz has searched out the best of these to generously illustrate the book.

By Mario Praz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reference source for anyone with an interest in period styles of furniture and decoration, this book comprises a complete survey of domestic interiors portrayed in art from the ancient world to the late 19th century. A collection of pictures and watercolours from all over Europe, Russia and America record rooms of all periods and their contents; the furniture, fabrics, carpets, pictures and wall-coverings. This text presents a cultural history of man in relation to his domestic surroundings.


Book cover of The Mask of Aribella

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From my list on kids traveling to Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with Italy when I traveled there with my family in 2013. While touring through this fascinating country, I felt inspired to write about it. When I came home, I threw myself into research. That research spawned my debut novel, Into the Lion’s Mouth, which is set in Renaissance Venice. I am always on the lookout for all things Italian, podcasts, TV shows, and definitely books. Since middle grade is my sweet spot, I am a sucker for a middle grade book set in Italy. Here are some of my favorites that will have you browsing airplane tickets to Italy and beyond.

Nancy's book list on kids traveling to Italy

Nancy McConnell Why did Nancy love this book?

Here’s another magical adventure that has such potential to be a series. Set in a Venice that is full of actual magic this book will appeal to the Harry Potter lovers in your life. Aribella must use her newly found magic to save the city from a grim future at the hands of the villain Zio. Although a fantastical Venice there are plenty of true-to-life details like the Lion’s Mouth, gondolas, and a ruling doge. I really loved the twists at the end. Middle grade readers will be captivated. 

By Anna Hoghton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mask of Aribella as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of The Thief Lord!

Aribella
lives in Venice, the daughter of an impoverished lace-maker.
But she has a deadly secret: when angered, sparks shoot from her
fingertips. Unable to keep her power hidden, she flees - but when
dark spectres rise from the lagoon, the fire in her hands saves
her life. A stranger witnesses the attack - and through him, Aribella
leaves her old life behind and discovers the world of the Cannovacci,
magical warriors sworn to defeat the strange spectres menacing
the city ...

WINNER of the North Somerset Teachers'
Quality Fiction Award 2020


Book cover of The World of Venice

Kenneth R. Bartlett Author Of The Smithsonian Guide to Essential Italy: The Great Courses

From my list on Venice.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first encounter with Venice was as a PhD student consulting the state archives in the former monastery attached to the basilica of the Frari, a place redolent of the history and culture of the city, lined with the tombs of doges. This inspired me to learn more about this improbable city, a curiosity that has never waned. Since then, I have visited the city more times than I can count, taking students, cultural tours, and visiting my many friends. Consequently, I was invited to produce my Essential Italy for Smithsonian Journeys and later their first virtual reality tour of the city. I can never tire of Venice nor completely know it.

Kenneth's book list on Venice

Kenneth R. Bartlett Why did Kenneth love this book?

The greatest travel writer of her generation (she died in November of 2020) produced a popular introduction to the city, mixing fact and story in her uniquely engaging style. It is a book that rivals Honour’s guide but focuses more on the patterns and rituals of life in Venice, linked by a profound appreciation for that unusual place, a city where the “streets are full of water”. If you like Morris, you might also be interested in her old but still engaging Venice, written when she was still James Morris.

By Jan Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating exploration of the history, sights, seasons, arts, food, and people of an incomparable city. “A highly intelligent portrait of an eccentric city, written in powerful prose and enlivened by many curious mosaics of information...a beautiful book to read and to possess” (The Observer). New Foreword by the Author. Index.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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