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 list and review all sorts of novels and films set in these three cities. Each city has 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. Fiction features here too. You'll find them listed in the handy Trips Menu

To search within this site using Google, enter your search terms
into the box as usual and then type in
site:fictionalcities.co
.uk

In case you're curious, this is Me
 


 



My other sites are...
ChurchesofVenice.com

&
ChurchesofFlorence.com

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

 


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


click on the titles to read all about them


30.5.2019
It seems that guidebooks are waning in popularity, what with the internet and all. It's still gratifying to get good head-swelling plugs in them, though, like the new edition of the Rough Guide to Venice and the Veneto, from which the image on my News Page  was snatched.
In less-good news, the healing hopes of my last posting turned out to be misplaced, and a return of sharp pain meant that I had to cancel the Umbrian hill towns trip at the last minute, which did not make me happy! A swiftly-booked trip to Mantua, on a revisit of a trip I much enjoyed in 2005, should hopefully see me getting into Mantegna's marvellous (I'm told!) Camera degli Sposi this time. Trips to Cardiff, with Gloucester Cathedral, and Venice are disappointment-soothing prospects for July and September too.

6.5.2019
It's been weeks since I returned from the Siena trip below, and only now can I report the healing of the pulled muscle I came home with. I can finally go places without limping back! And walk for pleasure, rather than just supermarket supplies. (Thank you Boots support bandage.) Which is just as well as I have a new medieval course at the V&A starting tomorrow, and a guided trip booked to Umbrian hill towns next week. Those damn hills! But I sure got plenty of church-website work done, and lots of reading. As a fiction fan I've always had a novel on the go, since my teens, but recently the habit of a non-fiction book too has become established. Currently, though, I'm reading about the Habsburgs, the history of the Bible and the Palazzo Rucellai - all three non-fiction! It's not natural. On the baked-goods front I ate the last slice of simnel cake yesterday and today the last of the Colomba di Pasqua, so I feel that this Bank Holiday weekend marks the divide between Siena and Easter and my striding, without pain, with hope in my heart, into summer. Shame the central heating's still on.

11.4.2019
Siena

15.3.2019
If my many mentions of House of Secrets - The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo by Allison Levy whetted your appetite and you're wondering why no word...I'm glad to report that a copy is finally on its way, after much correspondence. Even better is the news that following one brief email a copy of The Venetian Masquerade by Philip Gwynne Jones fell onto my doormat this morning (see flyleaf snapshot right). Expect a review before the end of next week, as I have just started reading, and been immediately smitten by Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield, which I heartily recommend already.

13.3.2019
Sicily

24.2.2019
 In other review (copy) news...House of Secrets (see 4.2.2019 below) is proving hard to get, but the author herself is now onto it. I've requested the new one by Philip Kazan, called The Phoenix of Florence, from his publisher and I'm confident that The Venetian Masquerade by Philip Gwynne Jones will be through the old letterbox comfortably before it's 4th of April publication date. The spring rush - maybe I should save some up for the summer lull!

22.2.2019
Wonders never cease, as I'm sure you'll agree. Old fans will remember how regularly I whinge about the publisher Heinemann's resistance to sending me review copies of the Brunetti novels of Donna Leon. The number I've managed to wangle out of them these past 20-odd years is less than the fingers of one hand, of a Simpsons character! But fatalism is not in my nature and so I asked again this week, and this morning a fresh hardback of Unto Us a Son is Given dropped through my letterbox. Amazeballs! Expect a review next week.

more news here



June 2019
Jo Walton Lent Florence

May 2019
Allison Levy House of Secrets
Florence

April 2019
Jess Kidd Things in Jars London
Siena Trips

March 2019
Philip Gwynne Jones The Venetian Masquerade
Sicily Trips
Philip Kazan The Phoenix of Florence

February 2019
Donna Leon Unto Us a Son is Given Venice

January 2019
The Aspern Papers Venice films
Andrea Perego The Laws of Time Venice

December 2018
Graham Greene The Ministry of Fear London

October 2018
Milan Trips
John Ruskin Mornings in Florence

September 2018
Lives of Giovanni Bellini
Venice
Florence and Arezzo
Trips

August 2018
Marco Vichi Death in the Tuscan Hills
Florence

June & July 2018
Leeds and York Trips
Nancy Trips
Bologna
Trips

April & May 2018

Claudia Caramanna et al Paintings from Murano by
Paolo Veronese
 
Venice
Tristan Palmgren Quietus Florence






 

Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

Copyright Jeff Cotton 1998-2019
Twenty-one years? Blimey!