The word Italy conjures up so many different possibilities, from sun-drenched terraces with grapes hanging, ripe for the plucking, to mist hanging over the Tuscan countryside at sunrise. Or a Venetian canal with the sound of church bells and the gentle lap of waves. Or maybe hot-baked Sicily with its rich cuisine and history of blood feuds.
There are so many sides to this country. I thought I'd quickly share one I discovered recently. Those of you on FaceBook might have followed my travel photos there. If not, it's not too late to check out some of my pics. This link should get you there.
After attending a wonderful readers convention in Berlin, I took time for a little travel and research, including a short spell in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. Aren't they spectacular mountains?
This is an area where German is still for many their first language (a hangover from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and there's even a local language, Ladin, spoken in some valleys, which dates back to the days when Roman soldiers tramped the mountain roads! It's not uncommon to see signs in three languages, including Italian.
I knew this, but still, I was surprised at how the area was so unlike what I'd expected of Italy. Sure the wine was great, as were the pizzas (yes, I had one along the way) but the South Tirol surprised in so many ways. For instance, I expected Italians to be have high standards when it came to making coffee or pasta, or love (hey, I'm a romance writer). But I hadn't expected such attention to detail when it came to stacking wood.
The green of the country was incredible. I hadn't really thought of Italy as dairy country but of course it is here - and delicious dairy too.
There were amazing chalet-style houses in the mountains with overhanging balconies and lots of wood carving everywhere. We also noticed some old style, and absolutely beautiful, painted furniture in some of the older places.
Even the outdoor furniture in parks was often hewn from local timber and build along local, traditional lines.
In the meantime, if you yearn for a taste of Italy, why not try Fabrizio and Jenna's story? It's a short, spicy bite of Mediterranean romance that readers so far are loving. (Thank you if you're a reader who's posted a review!).
It was love at first sight when charismatic hotelier Fabrizio Armati swept Jenna off her feet in Venice. That chance meeting led to a night together, then to sizzling hot affair that lasted till the day she discovered he sees her as nothing but an expendable mistress.
Six months later Jenna tells herself she’s moved on. Until the day Fabrizio walks into a meeting to discover her working for his greatest rival and she discovers just how far he’ll go to get her back.
When passion ignites again, will it be on his terms, or hers?
You can grab BACK IN THE ITALIAN'S BED at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
What's your favourite part of Italy? Maybe somewhere you've visited or dreamed of visiting? A dream ride up a canal in Venice, a night in a romantic villa, or maybe sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome, watching the world go by?
Arrivederci, and happy reading,