Readers Muse thanks the author for writing this interesting guest post.
The places in Italy I’m in love with (that became characters in my book)
Writing All the Way to Italy felt a bit like writing a love story to the country I had grown up so at odds with: no matter how much I didn’t always want to be there, there were places that always filled my heart, that felt (and still feel) like a healing salve. Writing a book was a form of homage, where the setting becomes a character in itself. Here are three of the ones I most treasure:
Baths of Caracalla (Rome): Named after the emperor Caracalla because he was ruler when they were finished, these gargantuan ruins are some of the most overlooked gems of the city. Visiting them during the daytime is fantastic, walking by them as the sun sets an experience you won’t soon forget. But my most beloved? During the summer, the Opera di Roma moves here for its summer performances, and it is life-changing.
Villa Gregoriana (Tivoli): In the book, Little spends a wondrous afternoon exploring this glorious park run by the awesome people of the FAI (Italy’s National Trust). Lace up your walking shoes and go from the ruins of ancient temples to exploring the waterfalls. You’ll come out feeling a little more cultured and a little more wild; I can never recommend this spot enough.
Palazzo Donn’Anna (Naples): Sitting at the water’s edge of this most colorful of Italian cities is a woman’s heartbreak holding fast against the sea. Palazzo Donn’Anna has one of the most romantic, broken stories in its past, and its poignant beauty against a setting sun is Napoli personified. I’m not going to tell you the story because Betty tells Little in the book, and wouldn’t you rather go read the book?! (Don’t Google! That’s cheating!)
These three, especially the last two, sometimes get passed over when people come to visit Rome, but I hope, when you come to visit us, that you have the chance to let them transform your trip. I’d love to hear what you think, or what your all-time favorite spots in Rome are—after all, in Italian we say: Roma, una vita non basta. Rome, one life is not enough.