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


8.2.2019
After a fair amount of faff a trip has been booked to fill a tempting gap in my schedule as course terms finish a fair few weeks before Easter this year. First it was going to be Milan, to start a new page on Churches of Venice maybe. This plan was discouraged by discovering that in the week I wanted my hotel of choice was charging 900 a night, with the weeks either side averaging around 200, including the Easter weekend. I still haven't figured out why. So to prevent further mind bogglement I've decided on a week in Siena, to quietly add data and depth to the relatively new Siena pages on Churches of Florence. But before then, I'm off in early March for my first-ever time in Sicily. Sicily then Siena - them old librarianly alphabetical-ordering instincts are still strong.

4.2.2019
On the Florence front there's some subtle media fuss about House of Secrets - The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo by Allison Levy. It's about Alberti's admirable and handsome Palazzo Rucellai, its history and later role as lodgings for the author.
A review copy has been requested.

12
.1.2019
 This morning's surprise was a new film of The Aspern Papers, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. IRL VR is JR's mum, of course, and here VR plays JR's aunt. Also JRM was married to JR, when he was Henry VIII and she was Catherine Parr. OFGS! Expect a review soon.

6
.1.2019
Buona Epifania! The weekend papers’ book pages have had their previews of 2019, telling us what books we might look forward to. The only Venice-mentioning novel amongst the literary stuff is Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh. Due out in June, it’s the story of Deen, a book dealer whose ‘extraordinary journey...takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way.’ Hmm. Due later that month is The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate, another novel about 18th century musical orphans, but from the Incurabili this time, as the orphan here sings rather than plays the violin. The author’s other books have titles like Fallen and Torment and feature windswept women in long frocks with lots of wild hair on their covers.

In April we can expect The Venetian Masquerade by site-fave Philip Gwynne Jones, a far brighter prospect. He also reissues To Venice with Love, his moving-to-Venice memoir, on the 7th of March, the day after my birthday. More of a shocker is the new Brunetti from Donna Leon, Unto Us a Son is Given, coming out not in April, as they always do, but on the 5th of March, the day before my birthday! But out first is The Laws of Time by Andrea Perego, which combines an 18th-century setting with a murder, unfolds in a single day (not my birthday) and features Rosalba Carriera. Could be juicy, it's out tomorrow.

The pickings for Florence-fiction fans are even slimmer, so far. Aside from the new one by Philip Kazan, called The Phoenix of Florence, in February, late May sees Lent by fantasy author Jo Walton, which seems to be a fantastic take on the life of Savonarola.


30.10.2018
Milan
Featuring a spookily coincidental focus on Mantegna and Bellini. Also guidebooks, a fruity old novel, sadness, and a rather fine film.

18.10.2018
I had my first visit to the Mantegna and Bellini exhibition at the National Gallery this morning, and it's a firm recommendation: intelligent arrangement, impressive and well-chosen loans, good audioguide and not too crowded. Highlights include the Crucifixion panel from the San Zeno altarpiece in Verona, which has still not been returned after Napoleon swiped it, which means it's much easier to see up close and appreciate than the altarpiece is itself. And Mantegna sure has a way with classical architecture, and rabbits. I came away more of a Mantegna fan than before, but Bellini is still my man. How they interacted is the fascination of the show, which moves to Berlin next spring, if that helps.

more news here



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

March 2018
Donna Leon The Temptation of Forgiveness Venice
Philip Gwynne Jones Vengeance in Venice
Roberto Tiraboschi The Eye Stone Venice
Siena Trips

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

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

 

Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

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