Venice 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.
My 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:
- The Aspern Papers by Henry James
- Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
- The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato
- The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding
- Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
- Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
- Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
- Chasing the Rose by Andrea di Robilant
- Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers
- In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
- The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
- The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato
- The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips
- The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice by Laurel Corona
- A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century by Andrea di Robilant
- A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi
- Vivaldi’s Virgins by Barbara Quick
- The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
- Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
- Othello by William Shakespeare
- The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker
- The Wings of The Dove by Henry James
- Watermark by Joseph Brodsky
- Brunetti’s Venice by Toni Sepeda
- The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins
- Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin
- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
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What are your favorite books set in Venice? Or other parts of Italy? Leave a comment to share with other readers.