Venice officially becomes a theme-park/museum

The first day of Venice officially as a museum/theme-park. Just a year ago the left-hand photo was an April Fool’s hoax. Today the other photo is reality: the turnstiles introduced just outside the station, to redirect tourist-flows. A temporary measure for the long holiday weekend, is the official message. But […]

Crime Reads on the best of Venetian Crime

Extremely grateful for this article, which appreciates the Alvise Marangon mysteries: “In my opinion, among the best of the ancient Venice thrillers are Gregory Dowling’s two Alvise Marangon Mysteries.”  

Hitchcock on the Riva

There seems to be little sympathy for the South-American tourist who was robbed in broad daylight by a Venetian resident, as reported in La Nuova Venezia: The sequence of events was caught with great clarity by a professional photographer, Maurizio Torresan, and immediately found its way into the local newspaper, […]

Story of a blurb

“An unputdownable thriller” These are the words blazoned across the top of Philip Gwynne Jones’s novel, The Venetian Game, published last year by Constable and chosen this month as Waterstones Thriller of the Month. They appear with my name beneath them, now on stacks and stacks of book in every […]

And the 61 worse places?

A relative pointed out to me that Tripadvisor ratings put Osteria da Luca as #1,195 of 1,256 in Venice. This means there are 61 worse places to eat in the city…

Not a great start…

So the great experiment of “numero chiuso” (limited access) was put into practice for the opening of Venice’s Carnival yesterday evening. It’s what people have been demanding for years now – and not just for Carnival. It doesn’t seem to have gone well. The inaugural spectacle, with light-shows and circus […]

Orientalism lives… Update on the Osteria da Luca.

It turns out that the manager of the restaurant who overcharged the Japanese students is an Egyptian, Kazi Babar. Although he runs the restaurant the premises are sub-let to him by a Chinese, Zeng Chegyi, who, in turn, is renting it from a Venetian, Professor Franco Rendich. To keep up the […]

Lasciate ogni speranza…

The case of the Venetian restaurant that charged a group of Japanese students 1143 euros for four steaks, a plate of mixed-grill fish, two glasses of wine and a bottle of mineral water has made it onto the front page of most of the world’s newspapers. A glance at Tripadvisor […]


Chapter 17: “The Fontego appeared through the mist on our right, with its long line of slender arched windows. It had presumably once had an equally elegant ground floor, with a line of wider arches along the canal, but a ramshackle set of smaller shed-like buildings had been untidily stuck […]


Chapter 10: “We made our way towards the little square behind the church, the codega providing a damp luminescence in the mist to guide our footsteps. This feeble light proved unnecessary by the time we reached the little bridge that crossed the canal to the Querini palace, since not only […]


Chapter 2, p. 11: “We were forced to stand with our backs to the crowds and our hands behind our heads, staring at the four mysterious porphyry figures set into the corner of the treasury, while we waited for the sbirri to come.” Every guidebook now indicates these figures as the […]

Book presentation with Philip Gwynne Jones

I’m very happy to share a link to the blog of my friend Philip Gwynne Jones, who gives an account of our joint book-presentation last Saturday at Laguna Libre in Cannaregio, Venice. My opinion of his novel, The Venetian Game, can be found in my blurb for it: “A playful novel, […]

Interview on History Girls website

I’m very grateful to Michelle Lovric for once again hosting me on the History Girls website. This time we talk about the 18th century, some Venetian terms, the Fourth Crusade, and a few other matters connected with The Four Horsemen. Oh, and Byron comes into it again… Here is the link.

The Locations of Ascension. 5. Santa Maria del Giglio

“We leaned against a shop front just in front of the church’s facade; the pompous statues and curious bas-reliefs were dimly visible in the moonlight.” (Chapter 22) Santa Maria del Giglio has one of the most extravagantly grandiose church-facades in Venice, perhaps only rivalled by that of San Moisé. Both […]

The Locations of The Four Horsemen. 1. Sant’Elena

Sant’Elena has definitely changed since the 18th century. The most obvious change is that you can now walk to it. In the novel Alvise has to hire a boat to get there. The map at the back of the book shows Sant’Elena as a small island some distance from the […]

The Locations of Ascension. 4. Sant’Isepo

Chapter 12: He [Bepi] was staring across the canal at the façade of the church. It is not one of Venice’s most famous buildings but it has a charming bas-relief of the Adoration of the Magi over the doorway. Sant’Isepo (Venetian for San Giuseppe or St Joseph) is Bepi’s parish-church, […]

The Locations of Ascension. 3. Ca’ Garzoni

Ca’ Garzoni (Ca’ is simply short for Casa or Home and is used with many Venetian palaces, including some of the grandest),  is central to the novel. I have to say I enjoyed writing this section of the book and I think the scenes work well. I don’t want to […]

The Four Horsemen. Author’s recording of Chapter One.

Here is my recording of the first chapter of my new Alvise Marangon novel, The Four Horsemen (out 6th July in the UK). I will upload a more professional recording soon but in the meantime I hope this gives a flavour of the book – and of Alvise’s voice. 

Definitive cover of The Four Horsemen (UK edition) – coming in July

So this is the definitive cover of The Four Horsemen – Alvise Marangon Mysteries No. 2. Accept no substitutes…   And the story-line: After reluctant spy Alvise Marangon is arrested in a tavern brawl, he is summoned to meet the Missier Grande, head of the city’s powerful secret service. Rather […]

The Locations of Ascension. 2. Ca’ da Mosto

Ca’ da Mosto is where the Albergo del Leon Bianco was situated in the 18th century, and where Mr Boscombe and Mr Shackleford stay at the beginning of Ascension. It was one of the best-known hotels in the city and we have a description of its comforts by Thomas Beckford […]

And here is La Sensa today…

So here is today’s equivalent of the Bucintoro, the ‘Serenissima’, carrying the Mayor, the Patriarch and various other dignitaries towards the church of San Nicolò on the Lido, where the Mayor duly dropped the ring into the waters of the lagoon and renewed the city’s marriage-vows… Perhaps not quite so […]

Today is “Ascension”

Today (Sunday 28th May) is “Festa de la Sensa”, as they call Ascension Day in Venetian. (In Italy the feast is shifted to the Sunday following the Thursday on which the feast is officially located.) So here is Francesco Guardi’s great painting of the event, which partly helped to inspire the […]

Turnstiles to enter St Mark’s Square

Here’s the photo that has been doing the rounds on various social media pages, showing the gleaming new turnstiles installed at the entrances to St Mark’s Square. They are very similar to the ones that have been set up at many of the vaporetto-stops (easily avoided by entering the pontile via the […]

News on the Rialto

It’s an obvious headline, given the circumstances. And it’s been a long time since there has really been any serious news on the Rialto, whether we are referring to the Rivo Alto area (once the commercial heart of the city) or the bridge itself. Like most of the city it […]

THE FOUR HORSEMEN – UK edition cover

After saving the Venetian Republic in ASCENSION (Polygon 2015, St Martins 2016), reluctant spy Alvise Marangon returns in a second adventure, THE FOUR HORSEMEN, played out once again amid the carnivalesque atmosphere of 18th-century Venice. Here is the cover of the UK edition (Polygon) of this second novel in the series, due out […]

Who invented the name “Bridge of Sighs”?

Who invented the name “The Bridge of Sighs” (Ponte dei Sospiri)? Well, the Tate Britain seems to believe Byron did. The last time I visited and looked at this wonderful painting by Turner there was an explanatory note beside it that read: “One of the most famous landmarks in Venice, […]

ASCENSION included in top 10 Venetian books of 2016

Very gratified to be included in this list of the top 10 books about Venice published last year (this refers to the US publication, naturally). The website is The Venice Insider. THE 2016 TOP 10 OF NEW BOOKS SET IN VENICE

The Locations of Ascension. 1. Fusina

I’m going to start posting photos and other images of locations from Ascension, for those who want a clearer view of the novel’s setting. I’ll start with a painting by Turner of Venice as seen from Fusina. This is the setting of the first chapter of the novel: it was here that […]

Interview with Vincenzo Patanè, Videoteca Pasinetti, 15 June.

Mercoledì 15 giugno ● INCONTRI CON GLI AUTORI Ore 17: Presentazione del libro I frutti acerbi. Lord Byron, gli amori & il sesso (Cicero, 2016) di Vincenzo Patanè, con interventi di Gregory Dowling (docente Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia) e dell’autore, a seguire Peccato d’amore (Lady Caroline Lamb, 1972) di […]