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The unique, romantic city of Venice makes a fascinating setting for novels, historical fiction, and mystery books. Here are my recommendations for books that take place in Venice, all of which I have read and enjoyed. We start with a coffee table book with stunning photos and author quotes. The first novels on the list are historical fiction that take place in the 16th to 18th centuries, followed by mysteries, and non-fiction books at the end.
Our Top Picks
Dream of Venice
Dream of Venice isn't a novel but it has quotes from various authors about the enchanting city of Venice, along with beautiful photos. This is a great gift book for anyone who loves Venice.
The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice by Laurel Corona
The Four Seasons is historical fiction that takes place in Venice during the time of Vivaldi. Set mainly in a convent orphanage where young girls are trained to be musicians, this book is a fascinating look at 18th century Venice. It's an interesting look at Vivaldi's music and the part he played in training the young musicians of the orphanage, too. I highly recommend this book.
Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick
An equally enthralling book, Vivaldi's Virgins is is another historical fiction work set in the convent orphanage during Vivaldi's time. I was enthralled both with the fictional story and what I learned about Venice and Vivaldi. I highly recommend this book, too.
The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli
Laura Morelli's work of historical fiction transports the reader to 16th century Venice, from the world of gondola workshops and boatmen to the world of artists and high society. It's an interesting look at Venetian life and art as well as an engaging story that makes a good first piece of fiction from Laura, an art historian and author of several books about traditional arts.
In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
This historical fiction takes place in 16th century Venice and tells the tale of a courtesan who escapes the pillage of Rome in 1527 and starts a new life in Venice.
The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato
Here's another bit of historical fiction, this time taking place in 17th century Venice and the present. Much of the story is set on Murano Island where the glassblowers worked and lived. It's an interesting look at the development of the glassblowing art and a quick-paced mystery.
Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
Death at La Fenice is the first in the mystery series by Donna Leon starring inspector Guido Brunetti. One of the things that makes these mysteries enjoyable is that they are set in Venice. You'll follow Brunetti as he travels around Venice searching for the killer. The mysteries don't need to be read in order to make sense, each is a story by itself.
Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin
Michael Dibdin's mystery series stars Inspector Aurelio Zen and the stories take place in different parts of Italy. Dead Lagoon takes Zen to Venice, his home city, where he traces the disappearance of a wealthy businessman.
The Titian Committee
This Iain Pear's art mystery is set in Venice and follows the investigation into the murder of an expert in Titian.
The Venice Experiment by Barry Frangipane
This book isn't fiction but is based on the author's adventures living in Venice for a year. In a series of entertaining vignettes, Barry shares the trials and errors of trying to live in Venice and introduces the reader to places and people that were part of his life for a year.
Venetia, A Supernatural Thriller Set in Venice
This thriller starts with a murder that takes place in 1508, then quickly moves into the present. Eventually, the past and present meet and the supernatural elements come into play.