This site is all about how stories add spice to our ideas and feelings about the cities we love. My favourites have long been London, Venice, and Florence and so I made this site, dealing with all sorts of stories set in these three cities. Each city now also has a few indulgent side pages. These deal with subjects like Venice's cats, London's cakes, and Lost Florence.

I've also been casting my net wider of late, and posting reports on my trips to other European cities, as a service to travellers who share my enthusiasms, for art, cakes, cats, and ice cream. (Fictions feature here too.) You'll find them listed on the handy
Trips Menu

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The Churches of Venice  

The Churches of Florence  

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Venice and Florence

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click on the word NEWS
above for more news (with photos!)

click on the titles to read all about them


‘So, Jeff, what’s happening?’ I hear you ask. Well, I’m off on an art historical tour to Urbino towards the end of next week, and then it’s a biggish gap, trip-wise, until a week in Dublin in August, mostly to see the Vermeer exhibition (which is moving from Paris in June), but the Book of Kells is also a draw, and the city itself, of course. The trip-gap will be used to visit more English cathedrals – my project of 2017. Books-wise there's
 A Trial in Venice being read and the promise of a review copy of Sansovino's Venice by Vaughan Hart, a rare new translation, and annotation, of the famed guidebook of 1561.


 Psst, fancy a good read? Well over on the right you'll find that April has already provided a couple of essentials, and my copy of  A Trial in Venice, mentioned below, has just arrived too. In other news, provided by one of the two novels mentioned, it turns out that the long and low arch of pipe amongst the chimneys in the oil refinery in Marghera, visible from the Zattere, is called the Arch of Cracking. Who knew?


A couple of new Venice novels with reviews coming soon. Firstly A Trial in Venice by Roberta Rich which sees Hannah, the heroine of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife, return to Venice, and the Ghetto, after some years living in Constantinople. Then there's a novel by Philip Gwynne Jones called The Venetian Game which has a plot involving a prayer book illustrated by Giovanni Bellini. I've also found a 'new' film set in Venice - a musical called The Broadway Gondolier from 1935, starring Dick Powell and Joan Blondell. I doubt there's any location filming but a good deal of the (reportedly preposterous) plot is set in Venice. But firstly a trip, tomorrow, to Bologna, for a week.


A quiet February draws to a close and a somewhat hectic March is in prospect. My birthday on the 6th, is my 60th and so it sees me reach the age when I can get free travel in the whole of London with the 60+ Oyster, cheap fares on train journeys in the whole country with the Senior Railcard, and start receiving my work pension. Hallelujah! The plastic cards for the first two have been acquired and are awaiting action. The process for the last is well progressed too.

My birthday is also Michelangelo's and to celebrate his the Accademia Gallery in Florence are introducing a friends' membership scheme, sweetly named The Friends of David. Trips-wise I'm off on the 8th on a guided trip to Medieval Milan, and later in March we're self-propelling to Bologna.

My request for a review copy of the new Donna Leon has fallen in deaf inboxes at Heinemann, it seems, but I'm confident of getting a read of it by some means, foul or fair. But that's a matter for April, lets celebrate March first.

more news here


May 2017
Urbino Trips
Roberta Rich A Trial in Venice Venice

April 2017
Donna Leon Earthly Remains Venice
Philip Gwynne Jones The Venetian Game

March 2017
Bologna Trips
Timothy Williams The Second Day of the Renaissance
(Commissario Trotti Book 6)
Related Works

February 2017
James Lovegrove Sherlock Holmes and
the Shadwell Shadows

January 2017
Javier Marías Venice, an Interior
Venice Trips
Diana Athill A Florence Diary
Benet Brandreth The Spy of Venice A William Shakespeare novel

November & December 2016
Inferno Florence films
Cologne Trips
Episode 21 - Beastly Things Venice - Brunetti TV series
Wray Delaney An Almond for a Parrot London
Martin Cruz Smith The Girl from Venice

September & October 2016
Florence Trips
Michael Hughes The Countenance Divine London
Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose Curiocity: In Pursuit of London
Siena and Pisa Trips

May, June, July & August 2016
Hamburg Trips
Durham Trips
Hallie Rubenhold The French Lesson Related Works
Dan Vyleta Smoke
Martin Seay The Mirror Thief Venice
Padua & Venice Trips

April 2016
 Janet Todd A Man of Genius Venice
Sheila Hale Titian: his Life and the Golden Age of Venice
Marie-Jose Gransard Venice: A Literary Guide for Travellers

March 2016
Brescia & Bergamo Trips
Donna Leon The Waters of Eternal Youth Venice
V. E. Schwab A Darker Shade of Magic


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Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

Copyright © Jeff Cotton 1998-2017