Serpent's Tail £7.99 (137pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Venice Is a Fish, By Tiziano Scarpa
A "vast sole", to be precise, caught by a fishing line in the form of the causeway that links it to the mainland. Scarpa's luminous tribute (translated by Shaun Whiteside) won't tell you where to go ("Getting lost is the only place worth getting to"), but he does tell you how to enjoy Venice through hands ("Block a drinking fountain and send three-metre geysers gushing from the spout") and mouth (fried sardines marinaded in onions and vinegar will "flabbergast your taste buds...").
Scarpa suggests Venetians relish the cloacal, though he points out the water-filled plastic bottles around doors and triangular protrusions from walls, which are "anti-toilets... intended to send splashes flying back against the uncouth urinator". This hilarious, redolent fragment of a book is mandatory reading for anyone heading for La Serenissima.
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