Suggested Booklist

The Birth of Venus: A Novel by Sarah Dunant

Novel of a teenage girl thrust into the politics and passions of Renaissance Florence, with real artists, places and incidents woven into the fictional story

A Room With A View by E.M. Forster

Coming of age novel about a young English tourist staying in a Florentine pensione and her struggles between repression and romance

Renaissance Florence: The Invention of A New Art by A. Richard Turner

Accessible text about 14th and 15th century Florentine art in its social, cultural, political, economic and religious setting

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone

Novelized story of the life of Michelangelo, from boyhood to the time of his greatest artistic achievement

A Rich Full Death by Michael Dibdin

Quirky historical mystery set in 1855 Florence, featuring the poet Robert Browning as an amateur sleuth

Art for Travellers Italy: The Essential Guide to Viewing Italian Renaissance Art by Ann Morrow and John Power

An informative guide to the major artists, paintings and sculptures of Renaissance Italy

Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces by Robert Clark

Story of the disastrous 1966 flood in Florence and the people who worked to save and restore the art works, from the perspective of today

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

First of a series of contemporary Venetian mysteries, all of which focus on a commissario of the police and his family who live and work in Venice

In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant

Novel of a courtesan and her companion, a dwarf, who flee the sacking of Rome in 1527 and set up business in Venice

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt

Focuses on Venice in the days, weeks and months after the opera house La Fenice burns to the ground under mysterious circumstances

Shylock’s Daughter by Erica Jong

A time-traveler novel, with a contemporary actress suddenly finding herself in the time of the Merchant of Venice

Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers

Novel about a retired school teacher who comes to Venice and becomes enmeshed in the story of the art objects being renovated in a neighborhood church

Venetian Dreaming by Paula Weideger

Travel narrative of an American who settles into a Venetian palazzo for a year and takes us along as she explores her adopted home