"It would have been easy for Brunetti to grow indifferent to the beauty of the city, to walk in the midst of it, looking and not really seeing. But then it always happened: a window he had never noticed before would swim into his ken, or the sun would gleam in an archway, and he would actually feel his heart tighten in response to something infinitely more complex than beauty."
-- Death in a Strange Country (1993) by Donna Leon. This is the second in Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series set in Venice.
Leon does a good but not great job of using the spectacular setting. She has a few passages of soaring praise, like this one, throws in a lot of place names, and makes a few generalities about the people of the city, but she could do more. Hopefully the later books in the series will better capture the spirit of the place.
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