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, cakes, cats, and ice cream.
Fictions feature here too.
You'll find the trips 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

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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.

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

click on the titles and trips to read all about them

But back to business. David Hewson, an author we like, has a new novel set in Venice out sort-of soon called The Garden of Angels. I say sort-of soon because it is published in the UK in hardback and on audio on January 29, 2021, with the e-book out in the UK and US on the 1st of March, and the US hardback out on April 6th. This odd and confusing mishmash of publication dates is blamed by the author on his website on the current Covid situation. But how does that explain the ebook coming out a month after the hardback? The blurb tells us that the book concerns 15-year-old Jewish boy whose grandfather presents him with a musty manuscript which tells the tale of what really happened to said grandfather in Nazi-occupied Venice. Sounds hopeful.

If I say that this week has been important and auspicious you might suspect me of exaggerating, but... On Monday we took delivery of two new cats from Cats Protection, left on our doorstep in their carriers as the need for social distancing has adjusted the whole homing process. They are called Minnie and Lily and I have created a new page detailing their settling in. It's maybe a bit too detailed, but it has sweet photos. Not so many of Lily yet, as she has been slow to emerge much from her preferred spot behind the sofa, although today did see much progress and more sightings. And this week has seen me and Jane both get the Covid  jab - her on Wednesday and me this morning. The process was swift and easy for both of us, and it's hard not to see the future looking brighter. Holidays ho!

The festive season and the turning of the year has seen a scrappy series of measures in the UK which has finally resulted in Lockdown 3, which doesn't currently look like being lifted until some time in February at the earliest. The basic stay-at-home message is mostly being softened with the promise of the vaccines. I am not top of the list for the jab, but I am also not at the bottom. Meanwhile online art-history courses continue, some new site pages are planned, and hopes that travel will be possible in the spring spring eternal. 

As looking forward in hope becomes a global phenomenon next spring is looking like the prime time. It's when the restrictions in the UK might end and the time by which we'll all have had the vaccine, it is said, assuming we're not anti-vaccination nuts. Closer to the concerns of this site, the new Brunetti, called Transient Desires is out on the 8th of April, and Philip Gwynne Jones' new Nathan and Federica novel The Venetian Legacy is published on April Fool's Day 2021.

Weíre a week into Lockdown 2 in the UK, and as museums and cathedrals are closed until early December my life currently consists of food shopping, online art-history courses and working on the websites. The Churches of Florence colour scheme is no longer green, but a tasteful terracotta and The Churches of Venice is benefiting from some good stuff found on Oxfamís online bookshop.

New novels set in Venice and Florence are sparse, but Philippa Gregory, who Iíve never read, has a new one called Dark Tides out in a couple of weeks set in restoration London, Venice and early America. Otherwise it's romantic novels and reprints of Shakespeare. For Florence the hot non-fiction news is that Ross King, author of Brunelleschiís Dome and Michelangelo and the Popeís Ceiling and a giver of two lectures amongst the aforementioned online courses, has a book out on April 1st 2021, called The Bookseller of Florence: Vespasiano da Bisticci and the Manuscripts that Illuminated the Renaissance, featuring the printing-press nuns of San Jacopo di Ripoli in Florence. And by a weird coincidence the same day sees the publication of The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo by Paul Strathern. Also spooky is the fact that on March 4th 2021, two days before my birthday, a debut novel is published set in Venice and Florence with a heroine whose surname is also my mumís maiden name. Itís by Laura Vaughan and is called The Favour.

Also Trump's days are numbered and the vaccine news is looking hopeful.
Into the future!

old news here

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
David Mitchell Utopia Avenue
Charles Dickens Dombey and Son

May 2020
David Whittaker Mindful of Venice Reflections and Meanderings

April 2020

Christopher Bollen A Beautiful Crime Venice
Philip Gwynne Jones Venetian Gothic

March 2020

Van Eyck in Ghent and Bruges Trips
Donna Leon Trace Elements Venice

December 2019
Jon Clinch Marley London
Hallie Rubenhold The Five:
The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
The Books That Made Me Self indulgence
Some 2019 Tintoretto books

November 2019
Hisham Matar A Month in Siena Siena
Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Venice

October 2019
Ferrara and Bologna Trips

Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

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