This site is all about how stories add spice to our ideas and feelings about the cities we love. And often we only know cities through the stories we've read. 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 its 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, churches, cakes, cats, and ice cream.
Fictions feature here too.
You'll find the trips listed on 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...
TheChurchesofVenice.com

&
TheChurchesofFlorence.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 encouraging e-mail
 

 


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


click on the titles and trips to read all about them


19
.7.2021
As the supposed return of post-Covid normality in England is upon us the facts contradict the assertions that this is a wise move, and that it will actually be achieved soon. It doesn't look like we'll be casting off masks anytime soon, if we're sensible, and the prospect of foreign travel remains shaky. It's looking like the nearest I'll be getting to Venice this year might be the tempting Canaletto exhibition in Bath
.

I have just started reading a novel by Sarah Winman called Still Life. The recommendations promoting it were so fulsome and gushing that I approached it with a fair amount of scepticism, which was swiftly dashed by the sparky and engaging opening and the extremely pungent picture painted of Florence in 1944, as the Germans retreat. Stay tuned for a full review soon.

28.6.2021
I'm just back from a week in Edinburgh and it sure felt good staying a while in a hotel in a new city, complaining about the breakfast, and exploring churches, a fine gallery and so many burial grounds! And discovering the local confectionary. Click on the link over on the right there to share in it all.

14.6.2021
On the 17th of May museums and galleries reopened and so I've been busy going out. The Victoria & Albert museum and the National Gallery, twice each, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, today for the excellent Thomas Becket exhibition, and on Wednesday I've the John Soane Museum, an old personal fave. Phew! as I'm sure you'll agree. These visits have all needed prebooking, with the numbers of visitors kept very enjoyably low. The return-to-normality date of 21st June has just this evening been postponed until 19th July, which is disappointing but - selfish silver lining - may keep these numbers down pleasantly for a while longer.

6.5.2021
 The last of my of guided art history trips to Italy (to Parma in June) has just been cancelled, and moved to 2022. Trips abroad, and the likelihood of smoothness and comfort initially when we are allowed, are still looking like dicey prospects, so I'm set to stay on my own island this summer. A solo week in Edinburgh has just been added to Medieval Suffolk in August and Durham in October, but hopes for Italy in the Autumn remain desperately high.

25.4.2021
A bit of a revival in Venetian fiction fondness going on with yours truly, possibly because I'm missing the place, but the Spring rush helped. On the lockdown easing front libraries and non-essential shops reopened this week, with galleries and such to follow mid-May. Meanwhile I'm busy visiting and photographing the Magnificent Seven Cemeteries in London, a couple of which I've never been in! So many daffodils.

24.3.2021
Adding to the Spring reviews below comes a copy of David Hewson's Venice-set The Garden of Angels, which has suffered some odd UK/US, hardback/ebook staggered publication in recent months. And a novel by Jonathan Chalstrey of the life of Pietro Torrigiano, the sculptor who was responsible for Michelangelo's busted nose, called Punch!  Well what would you call it?!

4.3.2021
But in other ways the year is turning out typical. I've just had my review copy of Donna Leon's 2021 Brunetti (the 30th!) called Transient Desires, and Philip Gwynne Jones' new Nathan and Federica novel The Venetian Legacy is coming soon. I'm also currently reading Ross King's The Bookseller of Florence and have been made aware of the recent novel City of Vengeance by D. V. Bishop, another Florence fix. So it's looking like another Spring reviews glut, I'm happy to say.

1.3.2021
As Italy, and abroad generally, is not looking to match our vaccine and lockdown-easing measures I've booked a couple of guided UK trips -  Medieval Suffolk (including Sutton Hoo, Lavenham and Southwold) in August and Durham (with Jarrow) in September with an art historian who's also a good friend. But I've not given up hopes of Italy in the Autumn.

 

old news here
 



July 2021
E.M. Forster A Room with a View Florence
Sarah Winman
Still Life Florence
Norwich Trips

June 2021
Edinburgh Trips
Cathedral Towns Between Lockdowns Trips
Cynthia Saltzman Napoleonís Plunder and the Theft
of Veroneseís Feast
Venice

April 2021
David Hewson The Garden of Angels Venice
Laurie R. King Island of the Mad Venice
Anna Bellani The Venetian Safari
Venice

March 2021
Philip Gwynne Jones The Venetian Legacy Venice
Jonathan Chalstrey Punch! Florence
Amelia B. Edwards The Story Of Salome short story Venice
Ross King The Bookseller of Florence Florence
Donna Leon Transient Desires Venice

February 2021
Francis Spufford Light Perpetual London

January 2021
Lily and Minnie  New cats

October 2020
Lucretia Grindle The Faces of Angels Florence
Valerie Martin I Give It To You Florence
Us Venice TV

September 2020
Christobel Kent The Viper Florence

August 2020
Norwich Trips

July 2020
Chris Beckett Two Tribes London
David Hewson Shooter in the Shadows Venice
Dorian Gerhold London Bridge and its Houses
London
David Mitchell Utopia Avenue
London
Charles Dickens Dombey and Son
London

May 2020
David Whittaker Mindful of Venice Reflections and Meanderings


 

 

Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

Copyright © Jeff Cotton 1998-2021
Twenty-three years!