27 Great Books Set in Venice

Venice maskVenice is a city that steals the hearts of readers and authors alike, as evidenced by some of literature’s best books set in Venice, Italy. What is it about this ancient canal-way city that piques the imagination? Is it the beauty, the romance, the history? Or the gelato and gondolas on a lazy summer day?

One thing we can all agree on is the unique appeal of Venice, a city unlike any other in the world. No doubt it will continue to inspire legions of writers.

The Literary Allure of Venice

Whatever allure Venice holds for you, there is no shortage of great books set in Venice in which to indulge your passion for this intriguing Italian city.

The WinemakersMy visit to Venice a few years ago remains lodged in that my of part of my mind that I return to whenever I need a few minutes of respite. In fact, someday I’ll probably set a novel there. The one I’ve written for St. Martin’s Press, The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets, is partly set in beautiful Montalcino, in the stunning wine region of Tuscany.

When I queried a few fellow readers on Twitter for more suggestions (a special shout out to Michelle Endersby, Kimberly Sullivan, and Eileen Grison), and my Twitter feed exploded with favorite Venetian novels. We had such fun with favorite books set in Paris, that based on Michelle’s suggestion, I decided to add Venice to our reading list. Of course, expanding into the rest of Italy is a must, too.

Returning to Venice

Some writers have returned again and again to this magical city, among them Henry James, William Shakespeare, and Donna Leon, from whom you’ll find several novels set in Venice.

27 Best Books Set in Venice

While many listed here are historical fiction, there are a few contemporary, mystery, short stories, classics, and children’s books scattered throughout, and they’re in no particular order as to favorites. So, without further ado, our list of best books set in Venice:

  1. The Aspern Papers by Henry James
  2. Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  3. The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato
  4. The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding
  5. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
  6. Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
  7. Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
  8. Chasing the Rose by Andrea di Robilant
  9. Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers
  10. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
  11. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
  12. The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato
  13. The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips
  14. The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice by Laurel Corona
  15. A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century by Andrea di Robilant
  16. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi
  17. Vivaldi’s Virgins by Barbara Quick
  18. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
  19. Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
  20. Othello by William Shakespeare
  21. The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker
  22. The Wings of The Dove by Henry James
  23. Watermark by Joseph Brodsky
  24. Brunetti’s Venice by Toni Sepeda
  25. The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins
  26. Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin
  27. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

And, if you love Paris, be sure to sign up for our updates (no spam, I promise!), and receive Say Oui to Paris: 35 Best Books Set in France! Check out this related post: A Love Affair in Paris: 11 Novel Set in France.

What are your favorite books set in Venice? Or other parts of Italy? Leave a comment to share with other readers.



36 thoughts on “27 Great Books Set in Venice

  1. Also Michelle Lovric has written lots of books set in Venice – lovely children’s books, starting with The Undrowned Child. Also several adult books… do check her out; she has a very interesting and imaginative use of language, and great characters.

  2. I just read The Paint Box which is set in Venice. A super book for kids. Fictional story based on a true life girl from the 1500’s

  3. Pingback: Travel the World in Books Readathon, Day 4: Author Interview with Jan Moran - Mom's Small VictoriesMom's Small Victories

  4. So lovely to find this post! Thank you. Our family spent time in Venice last summer, and I love sustaining that magic with my 8 year old daughter as we read. The Thief Lord is maybe her favorite book, and we also just read Daughter of Venice by Donna Jo Napoli. There is some reference to prostitution, which I sort of skipped over, so it’s up to you how young a child you would feel comfortable reading it to, but my daughter is a pretty sophisticated reader otherwise. SPOILER ALERT: I love that while it seems it might end up being a love story, it’s really about empowering girls via education. Enjoy!

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