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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.

The Harry’s Bar Cookbook: Recipes and Reminiscences from the World-Famous Venice Bar and Restaurant

by Harry Cipriani

There is only one Harry’s Bar. Located on Venice’s Calle Vallaresso, near the Piazza San Marco, this legendary restaurant has been, for five decades, the meeting place for artists, writers, royalty, maestros, divas, celebrities, the very rich, and lots of ordinary – but very wise – Americans and Europeans. Everyone from the Windsors and the Onassises and the Burtons to Cole Porter; Ernest Hemingway, and Joan Crawford has come here for great food, fine drinks, and the incomparable ambiance. Now, to the delight of his legions of customers, Arrigo Cipriani shares his favorite stories about Harry’s Bar and its secrets–and reveals for the first time his treasured recipes for the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Harry’s Bar above all, is a bar. Its distinctive mixed drinks were created by its founder, Arrigo’s father, Giuseppe Cipriani, and they remain the social center of the establishment. Therefore, you’ll find careful instructions for making the world-famous Bellini (the frosty, frothy combination of rose-colored peach elixir and Prosecco, the Italian champagne) and the secret of making the Montgomery, named by Hemingway himself, which is nothing less than the driest, most delicious martini in the world. Harry’s Bar is also famous for its sandwiches–mouth-watering, overstuffed, unique concoctions: pale yellow egg sandwiches spiked with anchovies; chunks of freshly poached chicken or shrimp bound with creamy, newly made mayonnaise. The Harry’s Bar club sandwich is a legend in itself, knife-and fork food that’s simply superb. But the bar’s famous risottos and the dozens of pasta dishes – including ravioli, cannelloni, and tagliolini –are the house specialties. Potato gnocchi and simple country food such as polenta, squid, baccalà, and beans are transformed into elegant dishes by skillful chefs. Cipriani also invented the sublime dish known as carpaccio and the glorious risotto alla primavera, brilliant ideas that have been imitated all over the world. The original recipes appear here for the first time. The secret of Harry’s Bar is not only its great drinks and magnificent food, but also its extraordinary atmosphere, in which high spirits pour forth happily. Arrigo Cipriani captures this spirit and tradition, and delivers it all in his own inimitable style. The Harry’s Bar Cookbook is much more than a cookbook: it’s an enduring experience to be savored and enjoyed.

The Confessor (Gabriel Allon Series Book 3)

by Daniel Silva

Dark secrets are revealed in Vatican City in this Gabriel Allon thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva. In Munich, a Jewish scholar is assassinated. In Venice, Mossad agent and art restorer Gabriel Allon receives the news, puts down his brushes, and leaves immediately. And at the Vatican, the new pope vows to uncover the truth about the church’s response to the Holocaust – while a powerful cardinal plots his next move. Now, as Allon follows a trail of secrets and unthinkable deeds, the lives of millions are changed forever, and the life of one man becomes expendable.

The Neapolitan Streak

by Timothy Holme

In this first of the Achille Peroni mysteries, our hero loves the spicy food and passionate arguments of southern Italy, land of his birth. But fate and the Italian police force have stuck him in Verona, a city of bean soup and endless problems with the Red Brigades, a vicious gang that relies on bombs and high-profile kidnappings to further its political aims. When a wealthy general, head of one of Italy’s finest Fascist families, goes missing from his palatial estate, the Reds are the most obvious suspects. But Peroni finds himself considering a crime far more subtle and sinister than anything the Reds can dream up. A crime that leads all the way back to Romeo and Juliet, the most famous Veronese of them all.

A Funeral of Gondolas: Inspector Peroni #2

by Timothy Holme

Inspector Peroni is glad to be done with Verona, but he’s none too thrilled with Venice. The cuisine is an endless parade of soup, and the crime is as bland as the menu. The most nefarious crime Peroni’s supervisors can come up with is a gambling ring involving the city’s annual gondola race, and not only is it run by a local priest, but the proceeds go to charity. That’s no way for a highly decorated, handsome police inspector to get into the newspapers. But Peroni perks up when the gambling gondoliers appear to have some connection with a murdered lawyer, a stolen manuscript, and a séance involving an 18th-century courtesan. Now that’s a crime worth solving!

Bridge of Sighs: A Short Story of the Bubonic Plague

by Laura Morelli

“My uncle the goldsmith died less than an hour ago but the Plague Doctor is already at our door…” After the bubonic plague takes his parents, 10-year-old Tonino is apprenticed to his uncle in a small goldsmith’s studio perched on a bridge. But as the Black Death reaches its hand into his uncle’s workshop, young Tonino is faced with making a choice to survive. From the author of The Gondola Maker and Made in Venice comes a short tale of pestilence, Venetian artisanship, and the will to live.