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The Contributors
The Book Project

We call ourselves Venetophiles, and we're addicted to this beautiful and ancient city in the middle of a lagoon. Read about our memories, adventures, and dreams here in this new collection of stories.

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What Is a Spritz?
The City We're Addicted To

Venice is timeless. Venice is changing. Venice inspires and seduces and stimulates. Learn why we're addicted to this city of canals, bridges, narrow streets, gondolas, glass, masks, palaces, and churches. And with us, it's free!

What Is a Spritz?

A spritz is a quintessential Venetian drink: white wine or Prosecco, swirled with Campari or Aperol and a splash of seltzer water, garnished with an olive or slice of orange. Bitter but sparkling, you're left wondering why you want another and another. They're addictive, just like this watery city. Why is the first one free? Why, to get you addicted, of course! Read editor Kathleen Gonzalez's chapter to hear the backstory, and read the rest to learn why people keep going back for more. 

The Chapters

In First Spritz Is Free you can read about childhood memories when Monica arrived in Venice on the back of a Vespa or Marco escaped an angry vendor by hiding in a church. Join Laura as she views traditional glassblowers or Katia who visits a boat full of books. Roger imagines interviewing Attila the Hun, while Cecelia tells of being caught in a torrential summer storm, unable to return to Giudecca. You can see Venice as it awakens by walking with Philip on his way to work or be introduced to past Venetians by Judith. Iris sneaks us into a hidden garden her grandmother tends, and Greg reveals his gondola rowing episode that ended up in a dip in the canal. Venice addicts us in dozens of ways, revealed in these many chapters.

The Chapters
The Contributors
The City We're Addicted To

Thirty-five Venetophiles have contributed their stories to First Spritz Is Free. Contributors include bloggers, tour guides, artists, musicians, writers, photographers, art historians--lovers all.

  • Editor: Kathleen Ann Gonzalez, author of A Beautiful Woman in Venice and Seductive Venice: In Casanova's Footsteps

  • Piero Bellini, financial sector and author of MATTAMATICA and British War Economy During the Second World War

  • Rita Bottoms, retired Librarian and Curator of Special Collections at UC Santa Cruz, and author of Venice: Writing Under the Influence

  • Manuel Carrión, artist and owner of Carrión Gallery

  • Monica Cesarato, cooking instructor and food blogger

  • Adriano Contini, Casanovist and writer

  • Marisa Convento, Impiraressa and glass history expert

  • Monica Daniele, tabarro and hat maker at Tabarro San Marco

  • Gregory Dowling, author of Ascension, The Four Horsemen, and other books

  • Shannon Essa, tour guide

  • Roger Feuerman, playwright

  • Bob Fusillo, retired Prof.

  • Edith Fusillo, retired educator

  • Tony Green, musician and artist

  • Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua and Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

  • Judith Harris, author of Evelina: A Victorian Heroine in Venice

  • Mayumi Hayashi, tour guide and interpreter

  • Mary Hoffman, author of the Stravaganza series plus 120 other books

  • Frederick Ilchman, Chair, Art of Europe at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and national Chairman of Save Venice

  • Philip Gwynne Jones, author of The Venetian Game and Vengeance in Venice

  • Iris Loredana, expert in sustainability, writer, and culinary historian at La Venessiana

  • Barbara Lynn-Davis, author of Casanova's Secret Wife

  • Candace Magner, musician, teacher, editor, and publisher of the Complete Works of Barbara Strozzi

  • Luca Marchiori, chef and blogger at Luca's Venice and Chestnuts and Truffles

  • Greg Mohr, President of the Gondola Society of America

  • Laura Morelli, author of The Gondola Maker, The Painter's Apprentice, and Made in Venice 

  • Jane Mosse, poet, playwright and researcher, co-author of Guernsey Legends

  • Claudia Oliver, author of A Most Faithful Attendant

  • Cecelia Pierotti, violinist and teacher

  • Luisella Romeo, tour guide and blogger at SeeVenice

  • Elizabeth Salthouse, blogger at DreamDiscoverItalia

  • Scott Stavrou, author of Losing Venice

  • Katia Waegemans, blogger at The Venice Insider

  • Vonda Wells, operator A Beautiful Woman in Venice tours

  • Marco Zecchin, photographer and author of The Spirit of Northern Italy

Climate Change, Reversed

"Pulling back the curtain on stately Venice, this heartfelt collection of intimate portraits renders the seductive city in detail. Beyond gondolas, masks and memories shared in delicious tidbits lies a tale of love and longing. Like countless others through the ages, no matter where they began, nor when the arc of time brought them to Venice, nor which kaleidoscopic images framed their journeys, these authors all succumbed to Venice's magical charms."


-Christine Evelyn Volker

 Award-winning Author of Venetian Blood: Murder in a Sensuous City

The Editor

Kathleen Ann Gonzalez started out as a teacher but was surprised to discover that she is a writer and dancer as well.  While she spends most of her time trying to infect teenagers with her great enthusiasm for literature and writing, she still squeezes in time to write about her work and her travels. Her first book, Free Gondola Ride, is about the gondoliers of Venice, while her guidebook Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps takes readers to over 90 locations Casanova lived and loved. Kathleen has published numerous other essays and articles over the years plus two other books, and in 2016 published A Beautiful Woman in Venice. Her books can be found in Venice from Supernova Edizioni. Passionate about travel, Gonzalez finds any excuse to hop on an airplane, particularly to Venice. Learn more about her writing at

Check out Kathleen's other books by clicking on each image.


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