Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Donna Russo Morin on Why I Love Venice

Infatuation with magical, mythical lands has been a part of the human landscape for centuries. Atlantis, Shambhala, the Garden of Eden—all have been the topic of great research and discussion. Yet there are such real, magical places to be found—tangible, breathtaking, awe-inspiring places. And perhaps none is more mystical and compelling than Venice, Italy.

No more than shoals formed by silt then deposited in the Adriatic lagoon by the mighty Po, Adige and Brinta rivers, the Venetian islands began as a primitive trading post up to the 5th century A.D. The first wave of Barbarians, the Goths under Alaric, crashed down upon the inhabitants of the coastal mainland in 402. Running in fear, the people of Padua, Altino, Concordia, and Aquila took to the sea and took refuge on the little islets of sand and coach grass.

It would not be the last such assault and each one found more and more refugees crossing the lagoon in search of sanctuary. Yet even when the threats of plunder and pillage had passed, no one returned to their mainland homes. Instead, lives of privilege and cultivation were abandoned with glee for the beauty of the islands.

Like those first settlers, I had no intention of ‘spending time’ in Venice, of making it the setting of my second book. But after a two minute news story on the glass makers of Murano and a smattering of research, I was as possessed and obsessed with the unique land as those original colonists. I became enraptured, not only with the beauty of the water-ribboned land, but smitten as well with the innovative inhabitants who learned to build their magnificent stone mansions upon pylons driven into the soft earth of their home and inspired by their rich history, a history replete with determination and fortitude. When I found the likes of Doge Donato, Father Paolo Sarpi and the esteemed Galileo in the pages of Venetian history books, my story unfolded with the ease of an incoming tide.

THE SECRET OF THE GLASS takes place at the inception of the 17th century, when the Murano glassmakers are celebrated, revered, and imprisoned by the Venetian government. Sophia Fiolario, the daughter of a glass making maestro, has no desire for marriage, finding her serenity in the love of her family and the beauty of the glass. She learns of its secrets at her father’s side, where a woman has no right to be. But the life Sophia loves is threatened and she is thrust into the opulent world of the Venice court, becoming embroiled in the scheming machinations of the courtiers’ lives. The beauty of Venice, the magnificence of the Doge’s Palace, can only be rivaled by the intrigue and danger that festers behind their splendid facades. As she searches for an escape, she finds the arms of another, a man whose own desperate situation is yet another obstacle in their path.

Amidst political and religious intrigue, the scientific furor ignited by Galileo, and even murder, Sophia must do anything to protect herself, her family…and the secret of the glass.


To read an excerpt, visit the author’s website at www.donnarussomorin.com.

Donna Russo Morin is currently working on her third historical novel, tentatively titled TO SERVE A KING, scheduled for an April 2010 release, in which a woman, raised from childhood to be a spy for Henry VIII at the court of Francois I, faces circumstances that spin her life out of control, forcing her to make potentially deadly decisions about her true and ultimate loyalties.


  1. Wonderful guest post! Being totally fascinated with the marvel of Venice between arts and beauty, I just can't get enough. Thanks for this very interesting post:)

  2. Great post! yes, The Secret of The Glass sounds excellent.