Writer and broadcaster John Julius Norwich, who "was really a man of many enthusiasms--for books, music, architecture, paintings" and whose "great talent was to be able to convey those passions to the public at large, through books, radio broadcasts and in nearly three dozen television documentaries from the BBC," died June 1, the Guardian reported. He was 88.
Noting the great love of his life was Venice, the Guardian wrote that Norwich "visited the Italian city more than 200 times and spent decades dedicated to its preservation and protection, from 1970 as chairman of the Venice in Peril fund and company chairman of the World Monuments Fund." He also published the two-volume A History of Venice (1977, 1981), as well as The Italian World (1983); Venice: A Traveller's Companion (1990); and, with H.C. Robbins Landon, Five Centuries of Music in Venice (1991).
Music, especially opera, was another passion. He wrote 50 Years of Glyndebourne: An Illustrated History (1985). In the late 1980s, Norwich "set about a history of the Byzantine empire," which resulted in a three-volume work. His many books also include Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy; Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History; and A History of France, which will be published by Atlantic Monthly Press in October.
Norwich was appointed CVO in 1993 "for having curated an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne," the Guardian noted. In 2015, he was awarded the Biographers' Club award for his lifetime service to biography.