Sussex based author Gillian Angrave writes about her travels to Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region.

An Essential Read for the First Time Visitor to Venice.


Slim, pocket size glossy travel companions.


Volume 1: From Swamp to La Serenissima

In Volume 1, follow Gillian on her first two visits to Venice as she sets out to explore and photograph this magical “water city”.

Joined briefly by her sister, Sheila, Gillian describes her initial impressions and experiences as she discovers ever more “hidden gems” in this “jewel in the crown”.

Her meanderings take her not only to the less popular areas of Venice as she retraces the footsteps of Julia Garnet (in “Miss Garnet’s Angel”) in Dorsoduro and Cannaregio, but also, as part of a walking tour, to the famous Basilica and Palazzo Ducale in the Piazza San Marco, as well as San Zanipolo and its surrounding quiet backwaters.

Glide with her, too, as she discovers the romance of a ride in a gondola. All along the way she amasses a host of fascinating snippets of information, and her visits are illustrated by her own beautiful photographs.

Volume 1: Contents

Chapter 1: My First Visit – 13-17 March 2015

Setting Off: Initial impressions: Getting to know Venice: “Gloves Off
in Venice”: Miss Garnet’s Angel: The Ghetto: Chiesa Madonna
dell’Orto: Palazzo Mastelli: Campanile di San Marco: Torre
dell’Orologio: Santa Maria della Salute: The Zattere: il Gesuati:
La Laguna and Murano, Burano and Torcello:

Chapter 2: My Second Visit – 28 September – 2 October 2015

Walking Tour of Venice: Marco Polo: San Zanipolo
(Bragadino and Colleoni): Ponte delle Tette: Le Scuole: La Basilica di
San Marco: Acqua Alta: The MOSE Project: Il Palazzo Ducale: Il
Ponte dei Sospiri: Il Museo Storico Navale: Watercraft of
Venice: Il Arsenale: The Armstrong Mitchell Hydraulic Crane
(VIPF): Venice’s Silent Zoo: Il Gobbo di Rialto: La Chiesa di San
Giacomo: The 2015 Biennale -Glass Stress: First Gondola Ride:
Ca’Rezzonico: The Frari: Scuola Grande di San Marco: Il Campo
Santa Margherita: Saying goodbye.

Volume 2: Betwixt and Between

Drawn to Venice like a magnet to steel, Gillian, once again armed with her trusty camera, describes her further meanderings and encounters on this, her third visit to this “living patchwork quilt of islands”.

She goes on a guided tour of The Ghetto and its Schole (synagogues); discovers the parish church of her favourite artist, Paulo Veronese; pays an early morning visit to the fish market; visits Lido in search of the Hotel des Bains, backdrop to Thomas Mann’s ‘Death in Venice; and delves into the history of some of La Laguna’s lesser known islands. Again, this book is a mine of information, illustrated by stunning photographs.


Volume 2: Contents

My Third Visit: 9-13 May 2016

Settling in: il Mercato di Rialto: Life goes on for Residents: Caffee Florian: il Fondaco dei Tedeschi and Benetton: The Emergency Services: the Frari: Chiesa di San Sebastiano and Veronese: La Commedia dell’Arte: the ex- Mulino Stucky and the Zattere: Venice and the cruising industry: La Giudecca: il Redentore: Campo dei Mori: Venice in Peril Fund (VIPF): House of Tintoretto: Stazione Ferroviaria Santa Lucia: Lido di Venezia: “Death in Venice”: La Fenice Opera House:

A Nutshell Full of Islands: La Laguna; Sant’Ariano; Poveglia;
San Servolo; La Grazia; Sant’Erasmo and Vignole; Sant’Angelo della Polvere; San Lazzaro degli Armeni; I Lazzaretti; La Certosa; San Giorgio in Alga; San Giorgio Maggiore; San Michele. The Ghetto: Tour of the Ghetto: the Schole (Synagogues): “The Last Train”: The Shoah Holocaust Memorial: Lido (again!): la Campanile di San Marco: La Gallerie dell’Accademia: San Giorgio Maggiore: a sad farewell.

Looking over the rooftops to the Grand Canal

Volume 3: Hidden Gems

In Volume 3, follow Gillian on her fourth and fifth visits to her favourite city – Venice.

These two visits are all about discovering those hidden gems tucked away in winding alleyways, as well as learning more about the crafts and culture of this most magical group of islands.

The first is a visit with a difference: five days staying aboard the French riverboat the mv MICHELANGELO. Gillian is in her element! She also takes in a mask making workshop; learns about the ancient and highly specialised craft of making a gondola; and sails on a cruise around La Laguna. Her final day on board is spent on a “passage to Chioggia”, followed by a tour of Padova.

On her fifth visit Gillian, armed as ever with her trusty camera, spends a fascinating six days just meandering around (as she does!), but also going on a tour of La Torre dell’Orologio and La Fenice Opera House. She travels to Lido and then on to Pellestrina by bus and ferry; is wowed by the amazing views from the top of La Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore; and discovers this most fascinating little gem – La Libreria Alta Acqua. As a big fan of Donna Leon’s detective novels, she also seeks out La Questura, Commissario Brunetti’s place of work. Volume 3 ends with a nostalgic visit to Torcello and Burano – in better weather this time!

Again, Volume 3 is illustrated by Gillian’s own beautiful photographs, and is as ever filled with lots of fascinating as well as informative pieces of information.

The set is now complete (or is it?) …

Volume 3: Contents

Chapter 1: My Fourth Visit – 17-21 March 2017

On board the Michelangelo: Gallerie dell’Accademia: La Societa Bocciofila San Sebastian: I Gesuiti: Mask-making Workshop: Il Squero di Tramontin i Figli: il Fondaco dei Tedeschi: Passage to Chioggia: Padova.

Chapter 2: My Fifth Visit – 22-28 September 2017

Hotel Bel Sito: Le Cafe: Il Museo della Musica: ex-Chiesa San Vidal: Donna Leon and Commissario Brunetti: La Questura: Chiesa Santa Maria Formosa: Libreria Alta Acqua: Zitelle, La Giudecca: La Chiesa and La Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore: St George’s Anglican Church: Damien Hirst: Passage to Pellestrina and Pellestrina: Palazzo Marin: La Torre dell’Orologio: Caffee Florian: La Fenice Opera House: Il Redentore: ex-Mulino Stucky: Biennale – Pavilion of Humanity (OBJECTION): La Scuola San Giovanni Evangelista: Torcello: Burano.

Gondola in Venice
Bookshop in Venice
Arial View over Venice


Born in Leicester in 1945, Gillian became an Assistant Purser with P & O in 1967 until 1974, and after a brief spell ashore, she joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Ambassador’s PA in 1976, a post she held (and greatly enjoyed) until her retirement in 2005.  Her postings took her to the Philippines, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Mexico, and Hungary.  She is now a Registrar of Marriages in West Sussex.

Throughout her life, Gillian has enjoyed photographing and writing about the exotic places in which she has lived, and where she has visited, mainly in short articles for societies and other groups. However, despite 40 years of travel, nowhere has captured her imagination as vividly nor had such a profound effect upon her as the ‘Water Wonderland’ that is Venice. This remarkable city fulfills everything that appeals to Gillian: atmosphere, beauty, history, stunning architecture, boats, ships, the sea….. the list is endless.

And so, finding herself in such a magical environment, it was only natural that Gillian should put pen to paper to share her experiences, photographs and ever-increasing knowledge with other like-minded travelers. This is the first time, though, that she has ventured into the wider literary world and decided to write a more substantial account of her travels.

In writing these three Volumes (the third has now arrived), Gillian, as a Member of the Venice in Peril Fund, has been conscious of just how much restoration is needed to maintain and protect the fabric and environment of Venice. To this end, part of the proceeds from the sale of her books will be donated to the Fund to assist with this vital work that they are carrying out. She is proud to help in this small way.

Images below illustrate some of the contents found in Volumes 1, 2 and 3.

Aerial view of Venice
Murano glass in Venice
Istrian stone lighthouse and Campanile

Gillian is a member of ALLI Alliance of Independent Authors

The Alliance of Independent Authors


Visitors to Venice have been recording their impressions and delight in the city over centuries.  Gillian Angrave’s books show how that appreciation and creativity continues and the Venice in Peril Fund is very grateful to her for supporting its work through the sale of her books.
Venice in Peril Fund
Your perfect, personal travel companion. Pack a copy of this slim, well-illustrated book in your pocket for your next trip to Venice.
Vivien Devlin, Guild of Travel Writers (Smart Leisure Guide, July 2017)
These volumes are an essential read for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the magic that is Venice. Gillian’s style of writing takes you on a journey of discovery that is not merely a guide, but a shared experience of all that is best in this wonderful City. It evokes the happiest of memories for those of us who have been and the glorious illustrations alone will captivate those who have not yet had the pleasure of seeing the most beautiful city in the world.
Mr and Mrs N Johnson, fellow Venetophiles
Gillian Angrave is spellbound by Venice and well conveys her devotion, a recent one, to La Serenissima. With the help of many stunning photos she conveys her excitement of her several recent visits. As with all the best travel books, this can be read from cover to cover, but it would be useful as a handbook for the visitor on the spot. What helps to make it such a good read is Gillian Angrave’s chatty style so you feel as if she is talking to you as a guide so enabling her to build for us a personal picture of ‘Gillian Angrave’s Venice’.
Richard Wilby, Chichester Literary Society
Volume 2
Gill can’t stay away and is back in Venice again in 2016, scurrying from canal to canal, campo to campo, observing, noting and snapping, then writing up her diary in her lively manner. The result is another entertaining and well produced guide to often unfamiliar sights. There is a survey of the neighbouring islands, and sections on the Emergency Services, the Cruising Industry and boat building.
R. Wilby, Chichester Literary Society
Volume 3: Two more visits in 2017. Gill is now addicted to Venice and aims to get her readers to be likewise.
She seems to pack so much into her short trips and provide sufficient variety to keep us informed and entertained. Interesting sections on the Opera House, La Fenice, and the islands of Chioggia and Pellestrina. She promises to be back, so this isn’t necessarily the final volume. We hope there are more to come.
R. Wilby, Chichester Literary Society
This is an unusual and very personal introduction to Venice which changes the book from being just an information travel book to one that excites and encourages the reader to embark on their own personal exploration of Venice. It is full of historical details and beautiful photos, many taken by the author. Don’t go to Venice without reading this first. See the Review on Amazon
F. Rubython, Amazon Customer, March 2017
Some would say that Friday the Thirteenth is unlucky, but this isn’t always the case for it was on Friday the Thirteenth of March in 2015 that Gillian Angrave first visited Venice and fell in love with this magnificent city. Luckily for us she has transmitted this feeling into words which tell in a chatty and informative style how interesting and beautiful this unique place is.

We see the small canals, the large canals, the colourful gondolas, the handsome gondoliers, the elegant palazzi,and the imposing churches all through both her writing and her photography. She hasn’t been content just to describe her first impressions. She has researched assiduously to find out all the historical details of her subjects, whether they are the Campanile di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) or the Ghetto. Her books on Venice are certain to increase the readers’ appetite to visit or revisit La Serenissima and to enjoy the experience for themselves. See the Review on Amazon

Amazon Customer, September 2017


Venice: The Diary of an Awestruck Traveller Full Set

Paperback – £35.00 + del
Hardback – £45.00 + del


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