“Add No Vulgar Hotel to the list of books you must read before you come to Venice.”—Donna Leon
This is the definitive book for managing an incurable passion for a decaying, water-logged village. Whether you already have a raging case of Venetophilia or are among the fifteen million people who yearly put themselves in danger of contracting it, here is where you get your fix of Venetian wit, history, practicality, and enchantment.
In a good-natured guide for die-hard "Venetophiles," author and etiquette guru Martin focuses not on the stunning Byzantine architecture of this Italian city but on the unique personality of Venetians themselves. While this fun-to-read paean to the sybaritic delights of la Serenissima offers a compelling window into the city's social history, it should come as no surprise that the author of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior is most interested in schooling her readers on how to comport themselves in a city still long on Old World charm and cultural mores. Martin is quick to point out that even the most illustrious tourists (including former Venice visitors Tennyson, Tchaikovsky and Twain) need a bit of good-natured advice on how to present themselves ("Hat etiquette is strict") and interact with others ("Making poetic observations ... should be resisted at any cost"). Martin also dips an enthusiastic toe into the rich history of Venetian food and drink ("Veneto's prosecco is not just cheaper than champagne but better"), painting, poetry and party-going, making the book perfect for a swift, semi-intellectual overview of Venice that goes several steps deeper than the average tourist guide.