Venice: Pure City

Peter Ackroyd

The language and way of thinking of Venetians sets them aside from the rest of Italy. They are island people, linked to the sea and the tides rather than to the land. For Ackroyd Venice followed naturally from his Thames biography. With his gift for encapsulating the grand sweep of history, Ackroyd provides a comprehensive history of Europe’s most remarkable city: its humble origins, its importance as a centre for trade, the sieges, scandals and its inspiration to artists.

‘It’s the combustible mix of scholarly rigour and instinct that brings his inimitable words to life.’ The Times

‘Venice: Pure City, is a personal interpretation of the place, both as human artefact and cultural concept, in which the author manages to appear quite miraculously unobtrusive… Readers will be captivated soon enough by Ackroyd’s talent for conjuring inspired generalisations from a bizarre flotsam of detail.’ Spectator

‘Ackroyd is hugely intelligent and formidably industrious; there can be few people, Venetian or foreign, who know Venice better than he.’ John Julius Norwich, The Telegraph

‘Ackroyd covers an immense amount of ground with verve and elegance.’ The Independent

‘Peter Ackroyd fully explores one of the world’s most undeniably glorious cities…. Like his acclaimed London, Ackroyd’s account isn’t a chronological history of this charming Italian metropolis. The structure and style of Venice is engagingly impressionistic and digressive…. Magnificently crafted.’ The Boston Globe


  • Chatto & Windus UK
  • Nan A Talese Books USA
  • Knaus Germany
  • Olga Morozova Russia
  • BB Art Czech Republic
  • Zysk Poland
  • Shanghai Literature & Art China (simplified)

Material: finished copies (403pp)