This site is all about how stories add spice to our feelings about the cities we love. My favourites have long been London, Venice, and Florence and so I made this site, dealing with all sorts of stories set in these three cities. Each city now also has a few indulgent side pages. 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 my reports on my trips to other European cities, as a service to travellers who share my enthusiasms, for cakes, cats, ice cream and art. (Fictions feature here too.) You'll find them listed on the handy
Trips Menu

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The Churches of Venice  

The Churches of Florence  

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Tomorrow to Florence! Not so much of a box-ticking church research trip this time, more of a holiday. But the new big Duomo Opera Museum will need a visit, as will the Spedale degli Innocenti, which has also reopened recently following much work. Ditto the Misericordia, promising fourteen rooms of art, furniture, manuscripts and everyday items. A correspondent also recently pointed me to the new-looking website of the Piccoli Grandi Musei of Florence which provides opening times for the Diocesan Museum next to Santo Stefano al Ponte (which I've never found open) and the museum at San Sebastiano dei Bini in via Romana. OK, so maybe some box ticking. The only slight downer is the possibility of bumping into Tom Hanks, as the world première of the film of Dan Brown's Inferno is in Florence this Saturday.

Keep it to yourself but I've managed to download an unofficially subtitled version of the German Brunetti TV series episode from 2015, 21. Beastly Things. The subtitles look to be a bit machine-translated, with a tendency to nonsense, but it still looks pretty watchable. I'll do so and report back.

Siena & Pisa


I've not hitherto read anything by Martin Cruz Smith but I have heard of him, and novels set in Venice (and Florence) by authors you've heard of come but once a year, on average. The Girl from Venice is published on the 18th of  October. Another familiar name is Brandreth as Gyles Brandreth was an annoying 'celebrity' with a misspelled name way back before reality TV and such phenomena supplied us steaming piles of them. (He wrote a novel set in Venice too, which I've never been able to bring myself to read.) So the fact that The Spy of Venice: A William Shakespeare novel is by one Benet Brandreth pits memories of Gyles and his annoying jumpers against the fact that it's well reviewed. Benet's own website tactfully doesn't mention that Giles is his dad, for so I find to be the case, on the Daily Telegraph website, of course. I intend to read and review both, but admit that such promises from me have rung a bit hollow lately.


more news here

September 2016
Michael Hughes The Countenance Divine London
Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose Curiocity: In Pursuit of London

August 2016
Hallie Rubenhold The French Lesson Related works

July 2016
Dan Vyleta Smoke London

June 2016
Martin Seay The Mirror Thief Venice

April 2016
 Janet Todd A Man of Genius Venice
Sheila Hale Titian: his Life and the Golden Age of Venice
Marie-Jose Gransard Venice: A Literary Guide for Travellers

March 2016
Donna Leon The Waters of Eternal Youth Venice
V. E. Schwab A Darker Shade of Magic

February 2016
Claire North The Serpent: Gameshouse 1 Venice

January 2016
Genevieve Cogman The Masked City Venice
Gregory Dowling Ascension Venice
Dove vai in vacanza? Venice films

December 2015
Nudo di Donna Venice films
Anne Charnock Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind Florence
The Anonymous Venetian Venice films
Cronaca Familiare and
ach di Poveri Amanti Florence films
Penelope Fitzgerald Innocence Florence
Ross King and Anja Grebe Florence: The Paintings &
Frescoes, 1250-1743

November 2015
Len Deighton Funeral in Berlin

October 2015
Joseph Kanon Leaving Berlin
Jamie Manners The Seven Noses of Soho

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Venice // Florence // London // Berlin

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