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.