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, where I tell of all sorts of tales set in these three cities. Each city 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 casting my net wider of late and posting reports on my trips to other European cities as a service to travellers who share my enthusiasm for art, cakes, cats, and ice cream. (Fictions feature here too.) You'll find them listed in the handy
Trips Menu

To search within this site using Google, enter your search terms
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All suggestions and flattery gratefully received.

In case you're curious, this is Me.

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 updates.

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

click on the titles to read all about them



Whilst waiting for the April rush of new novels set in Venice -  Donna Leon's The Temptation of Forgiveness and Philip Gwynne Jones's Vengeance in Venice  - and following upon the joys of Gregory Dowling's The Four Horsemen, the last-mentioned author tells me good things about  The Eye Stone by Roberto Tiraboschi. So that one is next up on the Kindle, not least because it's set in the 12th century - a pretty darn rare period for Venice-set fiction.

Short trips: Lincoln

My minor new-year chore was re-organising my News pages, in the light of a whole new one just beginning. Amongst things noticed were that Francesco da Mosta's much-hyped novel,
The Black King, which was due out in 2011, never did appear, and neither did the film of Miss Garnet's Angel, or the remake of Don't Look Now. But one of my favourite books of 2014 Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist was a (reportedly spiffy) big thing on TV over xmas, and another of my 2014 picks Jeff VanderMeer's The Southern Reach Trilogy has the film of its first part out in February, directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac, stars of the Star Wars prequels and sequels respectively. And if you haven't seen the very stirring Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet...why not?!

Looking forward into 2018, April is looking like a good month for us fans of fiction set in Venice. As ever there's the new Brunetti from Donna Leon, called The Temptation of Forgiveness, but also Philip Gwynne Jones' Vengeance in Venice, the follow-up to
The Venetian Game which was one of 2017's best.


The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that a trip to Siena in November that was planned and announced has disappeared. This was all down to BA cancelling my flight and my not being able to face the queue and faff of finding another flight, or flights. Or maybe it was fate. For by not going to Siena I attended an art lecture I would otherwise have missed, and the lecturer there raving about the Rembrandt Etchings exhibition at the Norwich Castle museum was timely encouragement for me to spend a few days in Norwich, becoming equally smitten by Rembrandt's etching and the city itself. So, I'm going with fate, and making a brief trip report that I'm calling...
Short trips: Norwich

A few years back I read and really liked a novel called The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli. Well, the author has a new one out, called The Painter's Apprentice and I fully intend to read and review it, quite soon. I know - me read a novel set in Venice, it's been a few months. As the plot amusingly appears to involve a guild of gilders I don't see how I can resist.

more news here

March 2018
Roberto Tiraboschi The Eye Stone Venice

February 2018
Gregory Dowling The Four Horsemen Venice
Imogen Hermes Gowar The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock London

November & December 2017
Vienna Trips
Norwich Short trips
Glenn Haybittle The Way Back to Florence
Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron Florence

September & October 2017
Magdalen Nabb Death of a Dutchman Florence
Padua & Verona Trips
David Adams Cleveland Time's Betrayal Venice

August 2017
Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks Sansovino's Venice
Dublin Trips

June & July 2017
Diana Gisolfi Paolo Veronese and the
Practice of Painting in Late Renaissance Venice

Judith Mackrell The Unfinished Palazzo Venice
Richard Russo Trajectory Venice

May 2017
Timothy Williams The Second Day of the Renaissance
(Commissario Trotti Book 6)
Related Works
Urbino Trips
Roberta Rich A Trial in Venice Venice

March & April 2017
Donna Leon Earthly Remains Venice
Philip Gwynne Jones The Venetian Game
Bologna Trips

February 2017
James Lovegrove Sherlock Holmes and
the Shadwell Shadows

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


Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

Copyright © Jeff Cotton 1998-2018
Twenty years - blimey!