New Jersey Monthly
For Donna Leon, author of the bestselling Commissario Brunetti detective series set in Venice, the journey to writing novels with an Italian setting was serendipitous. She was born in Montclair and grew up in Bloomfield, attending Mount St. Dominic Academy high school in Caldwell. After completing her undergraduate degree in English at Caldwell College, she was deciding what to do next when a former classmate invited Leon to join her in Italy, where she planned to study painting. It was the 1960s, and it was frowned upon for young women to travel abroad alone, so Leon was recruited to join her. They landed in Venice and, upon arriving in that beautiful city, she fell in love.