Are you dreaming of visiting Venice? Here are the best books set in Venice that will capture your imagination and take you there!
Venice is a place with many nicknames. La Serenissima. Queen of the Adriatic. City of Bridges. City of Masks. It’s an enigmatic city with as many different sides to it as it has nicknames.
Unfortunately, in recent years, Venice has struggled with a massive influx of tourists placing a strain on this small city lacking the infrastructure to handle the crowds. It’s quite literally a sinking city.
But wander away from the crowded tourist streets and San Marcos Square, crossing smaller bridges and strolling down narrow canals, and you will see a different side of Venice.
It’s a Venice that has remained unspoiled for hundreds of years. A gem of a city that defies all logic, which makes you wonder how such a place even still exists.
I have traveled to Venice several times, staying longer and longer with each trip. It has become one of my favorite places in Italy, and all of Europe. There is something indescribable about it. No other city in Europe has such an air of mysteriousness and romance about it.
If you want to be whisked away to Venice, these books will do it.
Grab the best books set in Venice that will captivate your imagination:
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Best Books Set in Venice
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
This fictionalized tale inspired by real events in Venice dives deep into the magic, mystery, and decadence of Italy’s City of Masks. It follows the events of the city after a fire completely destroyed the famous La Fenice opera house in 1996 under mysterious circumstances.
Miss Garnet’s Angel by Sally Vickers
After her best friend Harriet passes away, English schoolteacher Julia Garnet decides to move to Venice for six months in an attempt to heal her heart. Soon, the beauty and magnificence of the city begin to melt her English reserve away, along with falling in love with an Italian art dealer.
The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
This enthralling historical fiction novel set in Venice during World War II follows an American art teacher and her star-crossed romance with an Italian noble.
In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
This historical fiction novel is set in Venice during the Renaissance in Italy. It follows a courtesan Fiammetta escaping from the Holy Roman Empire’s attack on Rome with her companion Bucino. The two of them settle in Venice, where they begin to build a fortune in this bustling trade city, but not without encountering a plethora of obstacles along the way.
Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
Set in glittering and mysterious Venice, this crime novel follows a detective determined to solve the intriguing case of a poisoned conductor at Venice’s La Fenice opera house.
Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin
This crime novel follows an Italian detective who returns to his native Venice to search for the ghostly tormentors of a half-demented contessa and a vanished American millionaire.
The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham
This is a historical fiction book set in Venice during World War II. The Secret Messenger is the daring story of an Italian woman living a double life: working as a typist for the Nazis in occupied Venice by day but risking her life as an operative for the Italian Resistance by night.
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
This delightful children’s novel follows two orphaned brothers, Prosper and Bo, who have run away to Venice, where crumbling canals and misty alleyways shelter a secret community of street urchins. There, they join the crew’s ranks, led by the mysterious Thief Lord.
A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi
This memoir is about an American chef who, newly divorced, is traveling through Italy when she finds love among the beautiful canals of Venice. This deliciously satisfying memoir is filled with the foods and flavors of Italy and peppered with culinary observations and recipes.
The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato
This novel is set between 1681 and the present day, following an esteemed Venetian glassblower and his descendant as their lives, though hundreds of years apart, intertwine.
The Venetian Game by Philip Gwynne Jones
If you are looking for a thriller set in Venice, The Venetian Game is a good one to check out. This page-turning story follows an unassuming Italian translator who gets pulled into a complex game of art theft when he is offered a large sum of money to look after an antique book.
Strangers in Venice by A. W. Hartoin
This historical thriller is set during the beginning of World War II in Venice. It follows a woman and her husband who are on the run from the Nazi SS for concealing a secret.
The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
In this historical fiction novel set in Venice, Hannah is a skilled midwife who is asked by a Christian family to help deliver their child, at a time when Jews were forbidden from rendering medical services to Christians. Her choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry.
City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas by Roger Crowley
History lovers will enjoy this nonfiction book which provides a detailed history of Venice. Written in an engaging way, this feels more like a novel than a nonfiction tome.
Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice
In a sweeping saga of music and vengeance, this novel takes place in the world of an eighteenth-century Venetian opera. It’s about the castrati, the elite soprano singers whose exquisite singing voices won the adulation of royal courts and grand opera houses alike.
A Year at Hotel Gondola by Nicky Pellegrino
In this heart-warming romance set in Venice, an American food writer falls in love with an Italian man and moves to Venice to help him run his bed and breakfast.
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
For a great classic set in Venice, look no further than Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This comedic play, first published and performed over four hundred years ago, tells the story of a Venetian businessman who defaults on a loan to a moneylender in Venice.
Alibi by Joseph Kanon
It is 1946, and Adam Miller has come to Venice to try to forget the horrors he witnessed as an American war crimes investigator in Germany. But when he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during World War II, he is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at war with itself, haunted by atrocities it would rather forget.
Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon
This crime novel follows a Venetian policeman tasked with investigating the murder of an American soldier in Venice. Although all clues point to a violent mugging turned fatal, the inspector believes something larger is at play, and won’t stop until he’s solved the case.
The Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix
This story is set between Venice in 1704 and the present day. When a British writer ends up in Venice to write a feature, she ends up falling in love with an Italian man and unraveling the mystery of a woman who lived in Venice hundreds of years before her…
What Are Your Favorite Books Set In Venice?
Have you read any of these books set in Venice? Do you have any favorite books set in Venice that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
More Literary Travel
Start with this list of the very best travel adventure books. It includes great reads that will fuel your wanderlust and have you staying up late to finish them. You should also check out the following series of book lists set in other European destinations:
Know someone else who wants to read books set in Venice? Then please do pin this post.