Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/15/17: Venice or Venus

Masquerade time in Venus (Venice)

Fantasy writing published in English-speaking worlds relies heavily on Medieval England as a setting. I suppose it’s because most early fantasy writers were, in fact, English, and then there’s the influence of the Inklings that included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It’s a heavy base that has only gotten heavier over the years. Even much of anime takes place in an English never-never land of castles, lords, and country villages. I hear enough grousing about it on social media to suggest that readers, writers, agents, and publishers are tired of it by now.

In contrast, Italian-based settings are not used as much. Historical fantasies using Renaissance Italy can be found without too much trouble, such as R. A. McAvoy’s Damiano trilogy,  but I know of only a few alternate-world Italies. There’s the city of Cittgazza in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, the Peninsula of The Hand in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, and the city of Venus in Tanith Lee’s The Secret Books of Venus quartet, based on an alternate world Venice tilted slightly askew, which is the richest of the three works. I am sure I am missing more.

Writers wanting to create a world with an Italian feel, without it actually being Italy, can use these randomly generated character names.


Alternate World Italian Names


Gialladella Elanco

Lanrica Bartenzano

Belitalia Bernessa

Morlina Sante Valsaria

Violina Spinzola

Ensatra Bronerio

Candrelle Castrota

Chanitta Polifazzo

Vitterica Anneta Cerricchi

Sindelise Viparini

Elsatra Ezlisco

Stelladise Romesa

Melandrisa Barzagna

Sabrana Ilazzi

Fioria Scarese

Marghelisa Firoghi

Vittalia Montecricero

Silvria Tazasca

Denaura Rissa Fafitti

Issia d’Pomegiore


Iolamo della Qualmonti

Fortipal d’Pozzio

Antonesco Ercozio

Lucisto Zapala

Terumbro Strazonti

Netasio Paprina

Darchetto Grazzietto

Fiertisto Stratziella

Fornnato Rivghetti

Olmero Firalbio

Palanzo Barbasco

Eurnetto Castroria

Bentavio Torssito

Orestopal Villaligneo

Givtonio Tellgliata

Ranchetto Sforiano

Luvino DeBonatti

Lucigi Bugcina

Givido Canobano

Lesmero Mezzadini

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