Venice Audio CD – Abridged, May 1 2010
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Here, revised and introduced by the author, is Jan Morris's portrait of La Serenissima, published 50 years ago and still without equal. She cherishes every cranny: the city's 3,000 alleyways, its jails, its waterways and its buildings decaying like 'dukes in threadbare ermine'. She presents its past, its art and its language, which Byron called 'sweet bastard Latin'. A suitably respectful narration - with an Italian flourish. - Rachel Redford, The Observer If you are going to Venice this summer, and even if you are not, Jan Morris's Venice makes excellent listening. Newly revised, it is introduced by the 84-year-old Morris herself, then the dulcet voice of Sebastian Comberti takes over narration. It opens historically but takes in architecture, culture, practicalities (the boats of the fire, police and ambulance services, the rubbish collectors who are slowly creating a whole new island) and the mysteries of death. Morris fell in love with Venice when there during the Second World War, and her accumulation of memories is heartfelt, personal, quirky and enlightening. Perfect for a leisurely approach by Eurostar and night train to Venice, but just as good for whiling away the dull hours commuting to work. - Christina Hardyment, The Times 'I was in my 20s when I wrote this,' says Morris in the introduction to her best known travel book, 'and I like to think that its faults are the heady faults of youth.' What faults? Fifty years on, it is still the best all-round guide to a city that, despite the ever-present hordes of tourists, remains the most magical destination on earth. Listening to this equally magical audio made me long to go back and check out all those less touristy bits that so enthralled young Morris - the alley too narrow for Browning to open his umbrella, the crypt allegedly containing Mary Magdalen's finger, the fish market 'laden with sleek wriggling eels, still pugnaciously alive, beautiful little red fish packed in boxes like shampoos, heads upwards ... soft bulbous octopus furiously injecting ink ... a multitude of sea matter ... sliding, sinuous, shimmering, flabby, spongy, crisp, all lying aghast upon their fresh green biers dead, doomed or panting like a grove of brilliant foliage among the tundra of Venetian stone.' Yes, the descriptions do go on a bit, but that's part of the charm. It was written, says Morris, 'in a rush of enthusiasm like the splurge of a love affair'. The enthusiasm is infectious. Venetian history, culture, religion, food - she relishes them all, from the glory years between the 12th and 15th centuries when La Serenissima controlled the trade routes between east and west, to the nuns at one of the more fashionable convents claiming their right to supply a mistress for the new papal nuncio, to the notice on the Grand Canal: 'It is forbidden to spit on the swimmers.' Don't go to Venice without it. - Sue Arnold, The Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
From the Back Cover
The classic evocation of Venice, acclaimed as one of the finest books ever written about the city.
'Entertaining, ironical, witty, high spirited and appreciative....Both melancholy and gay and worldly, I think of it now as among the best books on Venice; indeed as the best modern book about a city that I have ever read.' -Geoffrey Grigson
'One of the most diverse and diverting books ever written about Venice...A taut and personal report, wholly absorbing, quickened by vivid prose and astringent humour.' -Sunday Times
'For those to whom Venice is a memory, a treat in store, or even a dream, the broad canvas of this book covering a thousand years in the life of one of the most complex, original, and active communities the world has ever seen, is a work of lasting interest.' Guardian
'Venice is not a guide book exactly, although no visitor to Venice should omit it from his satchel. It is a highly intelligent portrait of an eccentric city, written in powerful prose and enlivened by many curious mosaics of information...A beautiful book to read and possess.' -Harold Nicolson, Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I question the value of some information as the book was written 50 years ago and much has changed. But, I repeat, it is an entertaining history and is a good read if you want to know how Venice came to be what it is today. Worth giving it a try. Many people loved it, others hated it (though they appear to be in the minority) and you just need to get it and see for yourself.