We live our lives in fictional cities. This site is all about how stories
spice up our mental maps. We all have places we love, and like to read novels and watch films about them. I love London, Venice, and  Florence and so I made this site, dealing with all sorts of stories set in these three cities.

Each city now has a few indulgent side pages too. These deal with subjects like Venice's cats, London's cakes, and Lost Florence.
I've also been sharing my own narrative - reports on my trips to European cities, mostly, as a service to travellers who share my enthusiasms, for cakes, ice cream and art.
You'll find them listed on the handy Trips Menu.

Click here to send me an e-mail
All suggestions and flattery gratefully received.

In case you're curious, this is Me, these are my
cats Oscar & Peter and my other sites are...

The Churches of Venice  

The Churches of Florence  

These sites also have their own Facebook page...
The Friends of Fictional Cities and
the Churches of Venice and Florence
Click on the link and
Like the page for regular news updates.

And if you want to buy any of my books please click HERE

To search within this site using Google, type your search terms
into the box as usual and then type in

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

click on the titles to read all about them

I've just started to read Ascension by Gregory Dowling, mentioned just before Christmas, and it's started with one of the most intriguing and encouraging first chapters I've read in a long time. Add to that my discovery that Tonya Macalino has written a sequel to Faces in the Water, which I liked a lot, called Stealing Lucifer's Dreams, and of a similarly fantastical novel called The Serpent, the first in something called the Gameshouse series by Claire North, and we have a winter of juicy Venice reads in prospect.

In these deadish days as real life slowly starts up again surprises are even more welcome than usual. Through the letter box this morning came a very good one.
Jones & Sawers'
M a p   o f

It's a wacky idea most calligraphically tastefully realised - a folding map of London where streets and parks and buildings are labelled with the books that mention them. It comes courtesy of theliterarygiftscompany.com. On today's trip into town, for example, I started out with Dracula and Piccadilly Jim, through Vile Bodies, Possession and A Society, where I took some library books back; then through The Greek Interpreter and The Drowned World to The Well of Loneliness, where I bought a cake. The back of the map lists all the books with the relevant sentences. It also lists 8 'useful and interesting' related websites including...well I said it was a morning for nice surprises.

It's a new year! And tomorrow normality returns after the gruelling and dingy grey break. And with the new year comes news of the new Donna Leon Brunetti novel. It's called The Waters of Eternal Youth, and so an unusual non-cliché-derived title. It concerns a cold case resurrected by Brunetti following pleas from a Contessa friend of his wife's mother. Her daughter nearly drowned 15 years ago, saved but suffering brain damage that sees her still mentally a teenager. Brunetti's discoveries are described as dark and murky, you won't be surprised to learn. Sounds juicy though. Out in April.

For my festive round up of my 2015 and
the best things I read and listened to see the
News Page

I've only read (and reviewed) six novels set in Venice this year. This is partly due to changing enthusiasms, but also the fact that this low number hasn't meant I've missed much. But Ascension by Gregory Dowling has just been brought to my attention, and it looks tempting. A review copy has been requested, so expect a review in the new year. Meanwhile 2015 is ending on something of a Florence fest, of films (mostly in black and white and starring Marcello Mastroianni), a Penelope Fitgerald novel suddenly discovered and some hefty text and plush pictures in a lovable large book on art in Florence.

As far as celebrity endorsements go there's no beating an uncompromising religious fanatic dead these 500 years. Savonarola surely had the future creation of this very website in mind when, in a sermon of the 1490s, he urged the citizens of Florence to call to mind the beauty of Florence and maintained that this mental image would be more beautiful than the real thing, and that spiritual enlightenment would thereby result. This could well be my mission statement.

more news here


February 2016
Claire North The Serpent: Gameshouse 1 Venice

January 2016
Genevieve Cogman The Masked City Venice
Gregory Dowling Ascension Venice
Dove vai in vacanza? Venice films

December 2015
Nudo di Donna Venice films
Anne Charnock Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind Florence
The Anonymous Venetian Venice films
Cronaca Familiare and
ach di Poveri Amanti Florence films
Penelope Fitzgerald Innocence Florence
Ross King and Anja Grebe Florence: The Paintings &
Frescoes, 1250-1743

November 2015
Len Deighton Funeral in Berlin

October 2015
Joseph Kanon Leaving Berlin
Jamie Manners The Seven Noses of Soho

September 2015
Philip Kazan The Painter of Souls Florence
Simon Raven Brother Cain Venice

August 2015
Jonathan Holt The Carnivia Trilogy: 2. The Abduction

June 2015
Hannibal - the TV series S03E01 Florence films
Marta Maretich The Merchants of Light Venice
Laguna (Vendetta) Venice films

April 2015
Simon Raven The Survivors Venice

March 2015
Donna Leon Falling in Love Venice

January/February 2015
Genevieve Cogman The Invisible Library London
Timothy Holme Funeral of Gondolas Venice
C.J. Sansom The Shardlake series London
Simon Raven Alms For Oblivion series
The above two series' entries will be getting regular updates as the months pass.


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Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

Copyright © Jeff Cotton 1998-2016