Venice and its Lagoon
Translated by John Guthrie
The original, the bible. It remains the reliable source and
the go-to guide for all subsequent guide book writers. Not easily
found online, but usually to be found on the shelves of bookshops in
Strolling through Venice
Tauris Parke 2008
Describes itself as 'the definitive walking guidebook' to Venice,
and that's no idle boast. Also the only guide book that covers almost all of
edition is a straight reprint of the Penguin edition of 1994. This was
disappointing, I admit, but also handily reinforces the need for this here web-site.
Although you might argue that the many hundreds of years before 1994 are more
important than the fourteen since, and you'd have a point.
The Treasures of Venice
White Star Publishers 2004
It's plush and gorgeous and illustrated in full-colour throughout.
It's also really a
bit too heavy to carry around with you, but I have done so on a fair few
trips now, because it's just so comprehensive and knowledgeable. I also like
the way it occasionally eccentrically tells you a little too much about churches that
don't really deserve such in-depth treatment. The standard of the
translation is a bit erratic though, this being a book originally written
in Italian. Published by Rizzoli in the US.
Time Out Venice
Rough Guide to Venice
The best of the 'ordinary' guides for reliability, opening times, and some
quirky facts. It also - very wisely - recommends this website!
Art & Architecture in Venice
Sidgwick & Jackson 1972
Old, but handy for facts about church contents. I also bought, on a whim
and online, another book by the same author called Venice Rediscovered
which is six-years newer. But it turns out to be exactly the same book,
unrevised, only in a much larger format.
Edwina Biucchi and Simon Pilling
an architectural guide
A stylish but comprehensive and accessible
guide to Venice's most important buildings.
Arranged by sestiere and
including modern buildings.
Venice - a guide to the
Canal & Stamperia Editrice 1995
Covering all the buildings of Venice in terse paragraphs and with small
black and white photos and stylish drawings. A pretty much essential guide
to the fabric of Venice explaining, for example, the different patterns of
the stone steps down into the water.
Churches of Venice
Arsenale Editrice 2001
Imperfectly translated (sometimes humourously so) and only dealing with the major churches,
but still the only book of its kind - a recent guide to churches only. I have a stiff-backed edition, but
this has now been replaced by a paperback edition with more and better
photographs (right) and available in Italian and English. I've only ever seen it in bookshops
Churches of Venice - The museum in the city
The guidebook to the churches that are run by the
and available from the cash desks inside these churches. Plushly produced
and quite detailed, but pretty dry. Also the English translation is not good, often bordering on
Alvise Zorzi Venezia Scomparsa Oscar
Not available in English, but an invaluable book about Lost
Venice. It lists and describes all of the demolished churches. Some nice old photos
and prints too.
Tudy Sammartini and Daniele Resini
Venice from the Bell Towers
Bought for the spectacular photos taken from the towers, this
it also has a bit of history for each church in the main sequence, and for many
others at the end. There's a concentration on the campanili, of
course, and some of the info and dates are, well, wrong, but there's still some useful stuff, from primary Italian sources by the look of it.
Peter Humfrey The Altarpiece in Renaissance
I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to
find and read this. Maybe the fact that it'll now set you back around £90 second-hand. It tells you everything
that you didn't know you didn't know
about, for example, who commissioned the altarpieces, why, and which
churches they chose, and why. And that's only in the first few chapters.
Plans, charts, details of lost works...it's truly a treasure trove.
Sheila Hale Titian - his life and
the Golden Age of Venice
Made me change a lot of my 'facts' about
Titian on this site, and covers much
fascinating background about his friends, patrons, times and finances. A
stray fact that
made me frown is regarding the famous Habsburg tendency to inbreeding. It
Philip IIís son Carlos only had four great-grandparents, where the rest of
us have eight.
Cynthia Saltzman - Napoleonís Plunder and the Theft of Veroneseís Feast
A subject touched on much on these pages, but not until 2021 did a
book come along and add much to our knowledge and understanding of
Napoleon's looting of Italy's art collections and churches. Stronger on
the history than the art, but plenty of detail on the personalities and
politicking and attitudes that lead to, and tried to prevent, the plunder
and the damage suffered. The detailed reports of how these works were
removed and treated will leave you shaken, I warn you. I didn't realise
that the Bellini altarpiece in San Zaccaria had to be removed by knocking
down an area of the wall of the church behind its stone framing and
dragging the panel through it. All but one of the 16 pictures on the
French commissioners' original list of the works they had chosen were
encased in their original architectural frames, in fact. Of the eighteen
pictures the French stole from Venice fifteen were returned.
Robert from Prague