ABOUT THIS BOOK
For the Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke, travel was not only integral to his work, it was a way of life. Venice stands out as a location of particular importance to Rilke, and he visited the city ten times between 1897 and 1920. This city has inspired countless writers and artists, but Rilke, both enthralled and provoked by it, reveals a striking and deeply felt love for the city. He was as eager to explore the city’s underbelly, its deserted shipyards and back alleys, as he was to experience its iconic sights of St. Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace. Staying in both simple guesthouses and the grand palaces of his patrons, Rilke would walk prodigiously. His contemporary Stefan Zweig commented that “knowing every last corner and depth of the city was his passion” and Rilke himself said his walking allowed him to “grasp the whole breadth of the city.”
In eleven walks, Birgit Haustedt guides readers through Venice following the poet’s footsteps. Haustedt invites us to look on the beloved sights of the city through Rilke’s eyes, offering a new vision of this famed destination. Rilke’s Venice provides new insight into one of the finest and most widely recognized writers of the twentieth century. It also acts as a literary travel companion and guidebook to Venice, offering eleven detailed maps of walks through the city.