Mary McCarthy takes readers on a captivating journey to one of the world’s most beloved cities

Mary McCarthy brings her novelist’s unerring eye to a book that blends art, politics, religion, music, and history to create a living portrait of “the world’s loveliest city.”

Like a painter capturing the city’s essence on canvas, McCarthy uses words to create stunning visuals that bring both the old and new Venice to enchanting life. From her apartment overlooking the garden of a palazzo, McCarthy takes us into the museums and monasteries of this city of canals and gondolas, Machiavelli and Tintoretto. And she reveals some little-known facts: Venetians love pets, but prefer cats to dogs; during World War II, the Allies captured the city with a fleet of gondolas; and without Napoleon, Venice wouldn’t be what it is today.

From the ancient roots of The Merchant of Venice’s pound of flesh to the quotidian details of daily life, it’s all here—the magnificent frescoes, the sublime music of Mozart, the virgins, and the saints. At once a comprehensive travelogue and a powerful piece of reportage, Venice Observed is a testimony of McCarthy’s love affair with the City of Canals.

This ebook features superb color reproductions of the works of Giorgione, Veronese, Titian, Canaletto, Guardo, Bellini, and Tiepolo, and an illustrated biography of Mary McCarthy including rare images from the author’s estate.

ABOUT Mary McCarthy


    Mary McCarthy (1912–1989) was an American literary critic and author of more than two dozen books including the 1963 New York Times bestseller The Group. Born in Seattle, McCarthy studied at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated in 1933. After moving to New York City, McCarthy became known for her incisive writing as a contributor to publications such as the Nation, the New Republic, and the New York Review of Books. Her debut novel, The Company She Keeps (1942), initiated her ascent to become one of the most celebrated writers of her generation, a reputation bolstered by the publication of her autobiography Memories of a Catholic Girlhood in 1957, as well as that of her now-classic novel The Group.

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