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San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice

by Henry Maguire and Robert S. Nelson

The church of San Marco of Venice has long played a central role in Venetian political, ceremonial, and religious life. Its renowned assemblage of mosaics, sculpture, metalwork, and reliquaries are, in origin, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, or Venetian imitation of Byzantine designs. In San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice, the authors assess the significance of the embellishment of the church and its immediate surroundings, especially during the 13th and 14th centuries, when most of the Byzantine material was acquired, largely from Constantinople. The church and its decoration are studied in relation to Venice’s interests abroad and on mainland Italy. The authors address the diverse styles, sources, meanings, and significance of this art, both individually and as an ensemble. Building upon developments in scholarship since Otto Demus’s masterly studies of the church, the book offers new insights into the inspiration, purposes, and mutability of San Marco and the myths that inspired and motivated Venetians.

The Master of Verona

by David Blixt

Shakespeare and Dante collide in this sweeping novel of Renaissance Italy. The feud between the Capulets and Montagues starts here! Pietro Alighieri, son of the poet Dante, falls under the sway of Verona’s daring, charismatic, and warlike ruler, Cangrande della Scala. Risking battles, duels, and intrigue to impress his new lord, Pietro uncovers an infernal plot against Cangrande’s infant heir. Emerging from the shadow of his famous father, Pietro must protect the dangerous child while navigating a rivalry that severs a friendship, divides a city, and sparks a feud that will someday produce Shakespeare’s famous star-cross’d lovers, Romeo & Juliet. Based on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, The Master of Verona is a novel of brutal warfare, lost friendship, and dire conspiracy. An epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman, and Dorothy Dunnett.

Books by Michael Dibdin

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Michael Dibdin is best known for his Aurelio Zen mysteries, set in Italy. The first of these, Ratking, won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award  of 1988. This series of detective novels provide a penetrating insight into the less visible aspects of Italian society over the last 20 years. The earlier books have a lightness of touch that gradually becomes much darker. The character of Zen himself is anti-heroic, which adds much to the books’ irony and black humour.

Click here to purchase books about Inspector Aurelio Zen, by Michael Dibdin.

The Silk Weaver’s Wife

by Debbie Rix

The unforgettable stories of two women cross centuries as past and present weave together in this beautifully moving summer read.

In 2017, Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy. Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers. And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

In 1704, Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver. Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

Coffee, Chianti and Caravaggio: One Man’s Love Affair with La Bella Italia

by Robert Noble Graham

A masterwork of Italian rambling. Those who have rambled with Robert through Cuba and Spain already know what to expect, but Italy is more so. Robert rambles through great sites of Rome and Venice of course, but finding a special meal on the exclusive beach of Portofino or listening to woodworm digest a bed in the Chianti hills take a special mastery. Whether getting lost on the tourist road from Bologna or crossing to Capri with a Mafia don, Robert rambles through history, language and gastronomy as readily as the back streets of Naples for delight, color and discovery. Who did Caravaggio kill and who killed him? What did Tiberius get up to in Villa Jovis? Why are car crashes in Naples more democratic than anywhere else? How can one man who so easily loses himself when travelling be so good at finding unique, memorable companions? Sometimes alone, sometimes in company, Robert’s tales give you more color, romance and knowledge of Italy than many an expensive visit will provide. Whether you wish to laugh, marvel or learn, this book will meet the need.

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