About Laura

The first time I visited Venice as a wide-eyed teenager, I knew I was supposed to buy Murano glass, but I had no idea why. 

All I knew was that I was whisked to the famous “glass island” on an overcrowded, stinky boat.  I waited behind two dozen American and Japanese tourists to pay an exorbitant price for a little glass fish—what a bewildering experience!

Still, it was the artistic traditions of the world that lured me back and inspired me to study the great artists of the past.  Living in Europe and Latin America, I realized that in many places, centuries-old craft traditions are still living traditions.

So began my quest to discover craftspeople passing on a special kind of knowledge to the next generation. Join me and discover some the world’s most enduring artistic traditions.


Laura MorelliLaura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lessons have been produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries across Europe and Latin America. Laura Morelli is the author of the Authentic Arts and Made in… guidebook series. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

When she was sixteen years old, Laura was set up on a blind date with a guy she finally married ten years later. Today they are busy raising four children.

13 thoughts on “About Laura

    • Hi Larry,
      I do not personally have a guide to recommend, but I suggest that you do a web search and interview a few candidates to see who might be a good fit for you and your group. Have fun in Venice!

  1. Hi Laura
    I am reading The Gondola Maker, thanks to Kathy McCabe. Love it! You mention there is no surviving gondola prior to 1850’s, & I was wondering if the gondola exhibited in Ca’ Rezzonico is perhaps older, as it is a museum devoted to 18th century Venice.
    Looking forward to your next book!

    • Hi Toby! Many thanks for your comment and for taking the time to read The Gondola Maker! You are absolutely correct that the Ca’ Rezzonico is Venice’s museum of the 18th century. However, the gondola displayed on its ground floor actually dates to the 19th century: http://www.carezzonico.visitmuve.it. What I love about the gondola in the Ca’ Rezzonico is that it still retains its felze, the covered passenger compartment that was an integral part of Venetian gondolas up until about the 1940s, when tourism in Venice made riding in a convertible gondola more desirable and convenient. One of the oldest gondolas surviving today is actually in the United States, in the collection of the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia. You can read more about it here: http://lauramorelli.com/2014/08/28/a-venetian-gondola-in-america/. Unfortunately its original felze is no longer displayed with the craft.

      • Dear Laura

        Thank you for replying and explaing about the Ca’Rezzonico gondola!
        I would like to see the gondola in Newport News.
        Meanwhile, i do hope you write another historical novel set in Italy!
        I’ll be waiting!

        Kind regards,

        • Thank you very much, Toby! I’m glad you enjoyed The Gondola Maker! I have a series of travel guides to authentic arts in Italy appearing in the coming months, then I will be turning back to art historical fiction… Thank you again for reading! –Laura

  2. Hie Laura . I see you showed interest on Lupane Women’s Centre,where there is a group of 400 rural weavers with a majority being women. I need assistance in promoting their work.

  3. Pingback: Famous Travel/Art History Writer Set to Visit Sea Island, Georgia, Real Estate

  4. Good morning from Down Under. I recently read an interesting article about Romano Vio, a Venetian artist, who sculpted the replacement statue of George Washington, when the original (by Canova) was destroyed by fire. (This was for the State House of North Carolina.)

    Roman Vio’s son and grandsons still live in Venice and carry on the family artistic tradition. It struck me that there could be a kernel of a story here, for an art historian such as you! I can introduce you to Giovanni (a grandson) if you are at all interested. If nothing else, you will meet another interesting, passionate Venetian.


    • Hello, Yvonne!
      Thank you for taking the time to write! What an interesting story. Feel free to email me directly at laura @ lauramorelli.com with the introduction.

      Kind regards,
      Laura Morelli

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