Autumn in Venice:
Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse
Book-signing and Meet & Greet
at Raptis Rare Books, Palm Beach

Andrea di Robilant reveals unpublished letters of an unknown love story between Ernest Hemingway and his young muse, his torment and her role in the resuscitation of the aging writer’s career.

It has taken me 14 years to get my dear old friend, journalist and writer, Andrea di Robilant, to make a South Florida appearance!  Four novels later, Andrea is at last making his way to Raptis Bookstore on Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue March 14th,  for an exclusive book-signing of Autumn in Venice:  Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse.

Our biggest challenge was finding the perfect venue to host this long awaited book-signing. A mutual friend with discerning taste was determined to complement the integrity of the author and the substance behind his story suggested Raptis Rare Books.  Thank you Priscilla!

Andrea recounts the remarkable story of Ernest Hemingway’s love affair with both the city of Venice and the muse he found there —a vivacious eighteen-year-old who inspired the man thirty years her senior to complete his great final work.  His experience as a journalist and researcher is evidenced in his use of  actual letters, which affords the reader a sense of  ‘intimacy’ and allows for a tolerant understanding of the tormented aging author.  You know them closely, you understand what they know. Perhaps, more importantly”, he continues, “You accept them. You don’t judge them as immoral or obnoxious,” says di Robilant.

As a Cuban, I particularly enjoyed being transported beyond Venice to Finca Vigia in Cuba. Having grown up hearing first-hand Hemingway stories, the familiar names and places made it all the more vivid! 

Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse

In the fall of 1948 Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called “a goddam wonderful city.” He was a year shy of his fiftieth birthday and hadn’t published a novel in nearly a decade. At a duck shoot in the lagoon he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Di Robilant—whose great-uncle moved in Hemingway’s revolving circle of bon vivants, aristocrats, and artists—re-creates with sparkling clarity this surprising, years-long relationship. Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. This illuminating story of writer and muse—which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity—is an intimate look at the fractured heart and changing art of Hemingway in his fifties.

About Andrea di Robilant

Andrea di Robilant

ANDREA DI ROBILANT was born in Italy and educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in international affairs. He worked for decades as a journalist for Italian newspapers in America, including a stint as bureau chief of La Stampa in Washington, D.C. Though he has homes in Venice and Rome, he spends most of his time in the latter, in an apartment he shares with his wife near the MAXXI museum. He teaches four classes a week at two American universities in Rome and reserves two days for researching and writing his books.

He is the author of A Venetian Affair, Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon, Irresistible North: From Venice To Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers, and Chasing the Rose.

“Effortlessly and expertly explores the secret desires, successes, and depressive obstacles that shrouded Ernest Hemingway’s final productive years.” —Michael Thomas Barry, New York Journal of Books

“A saga that grips and enthralls from start to finish . . . [di Robilant] has researched every scrap of information and gossip about this curious menage.” The Times (London)

“The final turbulent decade of a life . . . di Robilant captures the full panoply of quirks and conflicts that often made Papa and those closest to him miserable. Lovers, ex-wives, friends, publishers, even complete strangers were forced to dance to the tune he piped . . . A diligent researcher of primary and secondary texts, [di Robilant] in this instance has a treasure trove of material.” —Michael Mewshaw, The Washington Post

“Andrea di Robilant’s well-written book reads like a novel, not a biography, and avid readers, of any genre, should secure a copy for their own journeys this summer.” —Wayne Catan, Idaho Statesman

About Raptis Rare Books

Raptis Rare Books is an antiquarian book firm with an exceptionally appointed rare book gallery located at 226 Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. Raptis specializes in fine first editions, signed and inscribed books, and landmark books in all fields. They have distinguished themselves by having a reputation for handling unique and historically significant books from antiquity to modernity that are in exceptional condition.

Highlights of the Raptis Rare Books collection include: a signed first edition of Andreas Vesalius’ On the Fabric of the Human Body, a first edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, an inscribed first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, an inscribed first edition of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and a signed first edition of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat.

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