12 February 2015

Book Spotlight: Authentic Arts: VENICE Travel Guide and Giveaway

Ciao and buongiorno!
Today my blog post will be very Italian and simply romantic like Venice!
So where are you catching your next flight to?
Venice, wait a second then, Laura Morelli is here to guide your steps through Venice from enchanting shopper's paradise to the hidden away Venetian ghetto to the Venetian delicacies, you certainly don't want to miss out the best things of Venice on your next trip to the most romantic cities in the world.

And as Thomas Mann said in his book Death in Venice,
This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty - this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.

You might feel the very same after reading Laura Morelli's book which is a thorough insight and vividly captured portrait of Venice layered with that perfect Venetian flair! Her words will simply transport you to this magical and romantic paradise.

Read along Laura Morelli's version of true Venezia is calling you!


Book Info:

Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More

Every traveler to Venice wants to go home with a special souvenir--a carnival mask, a piece of Murano glass, a handcrafted piece of lace. But selecting which mask or which goblet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you're buying something authentic, something made in Venice, something made in a traditional way? How do you gauge how much you should pay, and how do you know if you're being ripped off? How do you determine if you have fallen prey to one of the city's many tourist traps?

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of the city's most traditional arts: Murano glass, carnival masks, gondolas, lace, paper, and more. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on pricing, quality, and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of Venice.

Artisans of Venice is the companion to Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More. Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Venice!

Book Details:

Book Title: Venice: A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper and More
Category: Adult Non-fiction, 104 pages
Genre: Travel, Art
Publisher: Authentic Arts Publishing
Published: January 2015

Artisans of Venice: Where to Buy Authentic Venetian Fabrics, Murano Glass & Millefiori, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Mirrors, Masquerade Costumes, Paper & More, Made by Traditional Venetian Artisans

Going to Venice? Don't buy anything in Venice until you read this book!

Buyer Beware: Venice is full of tourist traps and mass-produced souvenirs passed off as authentic. Do you know how to tell the treasures from the trash?

In Venice, it's not easy to tell the treasures from the trash. This is true now more than ever before, as increasing numbers of carnival masks, glass, and other souvenirs flood into Venice, imported from overseas and passed off as authentic. There is no substitute for an educated buyer. Laura Morelli helps you locate the city's most authentic artisans--those practicing centuries-old trades of mask making, glass blowing, wood turning, silk spinning, and other traditions. Wouldn't you rather support authentic Venetian master artisans than importers looking to turn a quick profit without any connection to Venice at all?

Venice boasts some of the most accomplished master artisans in the world. Here's how you can find them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won't find in any other guidebook. Artisans of Venice brings you inside the workshops of the most accomplished makers of Venetian fabrics, Murano glass and millefiori, carnival masks and masquerade costumes, gondolas, Burano lace, mirrors, marbleized paper, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. This book leads you to the multi-generational studios of some 75 authentic master artisans. If you're reading on your Kindle device, tablet, or smartphone, you can click directly on their street addresses for an interactive map, and link to their web sites and email addresses directly from the guide. A cross-referenced resource guide also offers listings by neighborhood.

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Venice's most traditional arts. Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer--maybe even a connoisseur--of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Bring Laura Morelli's guides to Venice with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the best of Venice in your suitcase.

Book Details:

Book Title: Artisans of Venice: Where to Buy Authentic Venetian Fabrics, Murano Glass & Millefiori, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Mirrors, Masquerade Costumes, Paper & More, Made by Traditional Venetian Artisans
Category: Adult Non-fiction, 38 pages
Genre: Travel, Art
Publisher: Authentic Arts Publishing
Published: January 2015

Where to buy the book:

Amazon: Venice Travel Guide
Amazon: Artisans of Venice

Social Media

If you liked the books and want others to know about it, feel free to cross post your review on Amazon and Goodreads and make mention of it on any of your social media sites, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter. This would greatly help the author.

Please use @lauramorelliphd and @Nouveauwriter
hashtags: #travelguide  #Venice


Let's Meet the Author:

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  about.me


Author Interview: -In Conversation With Laura Morelli

Let's chat with the author to know more about her books and life beyond books! Read along the interview to be enchanted away with the charm of this wonderful author.

Me: Hello and welcome to my blog, Laura. Congratulations on your upcoming book, Venice: A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper & More. Please do share with us the theme and overview of your book.

Laura: Thank you, Aditi! My Venice guides are part of a series called Laura Morelli’s Authentic Arts, a group of travel guides designed to arm you with all the information you need to appreciate a city’s most traditional arts, and come home with a treasure. Each destination includes an ebook companion with listings of contemporary artisans practicing centuries-old trades. My goal is to lead travelers beyond the tourist traps and into the workshops of authentic artisans who have been practicing their trades sometimes for generations.

Me: What was your source of inspiration for writing this book, Venice: A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper & More?

Laura: The inspiration originally came when I moved to Italy and hired a family of artisan carpenters to build some bookcases in my house. The grandfather, father, and son team transformed the courtyard outside my house into an artisan workshop. What intrigued me the most was watching the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next. I realized that in all those years of art history graduate school, I had learned about Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and other great artists of the past, but before me was a living tradition that still thrives in Italy in a way that it does not elsewhere. It was the beginning of a journey that resulted in a book called Made in Italy. Over and over, the extraordinary people I met told me how important it was to pass their craft on to the next generation. In my Authentic Arts series, I take a deeper dive into the traditions of specific cities and regions—Venice, Florence, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany & Umbria, Sicily, and Sardinia.

Me: So did you travel extensively for the purpose of research of your new book? Describe your stay in Venice.

Laura: I lived in northern Italy for four years and spent a lot of time in Venice. During the course of my research, I’ve traveled all over Italy, from the Alps to the islands, talking with contemporary artisans who still practice centuries-old traditions like Murano glass, Florentine leather, Sicilian ceramics, Roman goldsmithing, and of course, Venetian gondolas.

Me: How will you describe your journey so far as an author?

Laura: Even though I wanted to be a novelist as a child, in college I was drawn to pursue a career as an art historian and academic. Those of us in academia are trained to write about art in a specialized style. I have the utmost respect for the craft of academic writing as well as those who spend their careers doing it. The down side is that academic writing comes across as dry and dull, full of terminology that is inaccessible to all but those of us who spend many years studying the field. But art history is the most fascinating subject in the world! Now, in my writing I try to bring to non-art historians some of the specialized knowledge but also that passion that is so inherent to the arts.

Me: Was it always your one true dream to be an author? And what made you to write books that take your readers to an exotic destination in the world?

Laura: Yes, I always had the idea that I would write books, and I had dreamt of writing a novel for as long as I can remember. Growing up, the used bookstore in town was one of my favorite spots. I still remember the smell of it! Finally, last year I realized my dream of publishing a novel with a story set in 16th-century Venice called The Gondola Maker. I’m proud to say that The Gondola Maker has won five awards and people seem to enjoy the story of the troubled relationship between the old gondola maker and his son.

Me: What intrigues you the most about Murano glass and Venice carnivals?

Laura: Over the course of my research, it is always the stories and the people behind these great traditions that captivate me, that keep me moving forward, digging deeper into the roots of Italian culture. The contemporary Italian artisans I interview, one after another, tell me how important it is to them to pass on the torch of tradition to the next generation.

Me: Describe your normal writing day. And how do you get away from the stress of a long day's work?

Laura: A few years ago I rigged my own treadmill desk set up across the room from a gigantic monitor. It looks very silly but it works well. Sometimes I end up walking all day long, even if it’s at a slow pace, which helps keep my brain working. I typically have way too many documents open on my giant screen. When I’m not writing, I enjoy cooking, exploring new places with my family, and hosting dinner parties.

Me: Which is your favorite travelogue book and why?

Laura: I enjoy reading other historical fiction authors, including Barbara Kingsolver, Abraham Verghese, Ken Follett, and Umberto Eco, especially those stories set in far-away places. I appreciate authors who are masters of sensory writing--the art of conveying sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and physical sensations of a locale through words. One of the best examples of sensory writing is Perfume by Patrick Suskind. It's one of my all-time favorite stories.

Me: What's next up on your writing sleeves? Please tell us briefly about it.

Laura: Right now I’m enjoying working on my Authentic Arts series, leading travelers to overlooked treasures in particular cities and regions. I’m looking forward to returning to historical fiction later this year. So many stories behind the world’s works of art—whether true or imagined—remain to be told.

Me: Thank you so much Laura for sparing time to have this interview session with me for my blog. Once again, congratulations on your new book. I can only wish you good luck in all your future endeavors.

Laura: Aditi, thank you! It’s been a lot of fun.

Wow, it was entirely my pleasure to host her on my blog! She's truly incredible and an inspiring human being. Now it's goodies time!

The author is giving away a set of these books along with two authentic Carnival masks (one male Bauta style and one female Colombina style) . So dig in to lose yourself in the charm of a Venetian carnival with these masks!

The baùta or baùtta

The baùta is the quintessential Venetian mask, worn historically not only at Carnival time but any time a Venetian citizen wished to remain anonymous, such as when he may have been involved in important law-making or political processes in the city. The simplest of the traditional Venetian mask types, the baùta is a stark faceplate traditionally paired with a full-length black or red hooded cloak called a tabàro (or tabàrro), and a tricorn hat, as depicted in paintings and prints by the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi. Most baùte were made of waxed papier-mâché and covered most of the face. The most prominent feature is a distinctive aquiline nose and no mouth. The lower part of the mask protruded outward to allow the mask wearer to breathe, talk, and eat while remaining disguised.


In the Commedia dell’Arte, Colombina played the role of maidservant. The Colombina is a half-mask that covers the forehead down to the cheeks, but leaves the mouth revealed. Originally, it would have been held up to the face by a baton in the hand. The Colombina is often decorated with more feminine flourishes, from gilding to gems and feathers, but both men and women may wear it.


  1. Everything.. the water, the boats, the history, the beauty. Need I go on? lol

  2. Yeah me too, everything about Venice is so beautiful and romantic! :-) Hey Jeanette thanks for your comment.

  3. These blogs are quite incredible that have provided the best knowledge. San Giorgio dei Greci


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