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Rome, Italy with author Cara Marsi


Welcome to Rome, Italy


WithCara Marsi, from Wilmington, Delaware, but with roots in Italy, and a deep love of Rome, especially Ancient Rome. Thank you for having me here to talkabout my latest release, a romantic suspense novella,Murder, Mi Amore, from The Wild Rose Press.


Who is Cara Marsi?


I’m a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller who always dreamed of being an author. I crave happy endings and love strong heroines and the strong heroes they love. Once I started seriously writing romance, it took ten long years of hard work and rejections before I realized my dream of being a published author. I sold my first book, A Catered Affair, written under the name Carolyn Matkowsky, to Avalon Books. I soon discovered I loved writing romantic suspense and wrote Logan’s Redemption, published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007. My latest romantic suspense, Murder, Mi Amore, is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy. In addition to my novels, I also write short romance stories for the confession magazines–True Romance, True Love, True Experience and True Story. I’ve gotten the rights back for Logan’s Redemption, and it’s available now exclusively on Amazon Kindle.


How would you describe the general population of this city in fifteen words or less? 


Friendly, stylish, sexy, and most of the inhabitants speak English.




Rome, Italy, is everything you’ve ever read, and more. Crowded, vibrant, bustling. The art and history will take your breath. Imagine visiting the Coliseum and touching the same walls that Roman citizens touched 2000 years ago! The city is very international and most natives speak English so you don’t have to know Italian to get around. The food is the most amazing I’ve ever eaten. Pizza, gnocchi, pasta, gelato, and wine, lots of wine. Motor scooters are ubiquitous and you need to watch out for them.


Why did you pick this location to write about? 


I’ve visited Italy twice. The first time when I was twenty. No, I won’t say what year that was. I went with my family. The last time I visited was 2006. My husband and I traveled alone to Rome, then after a few days of touring the city, we took the train to the province of Abruzzo and met up with a tour led by my Australian cousin, Luciana. Her tour company, Absolutely Abruzzo, specializes in trips to Abruzzo, where our grandparents came from. There’s a chapter in Murder, Mi Amore set in Ripa Teatina, the small town where our grandparents were raised.


“Local” restaurants and anything interesting about them


There are so many great restaurants in Rome, I couldn’t possibly name all the ones where we ate. But they were all good. I loved the outdoor cafes. In some, the tables were set up close to narrow streets with scooters and cars zipping by. It made for some interesting eating experiences. And there are the gelato shops dotted all over the city.


Gelato is Italian ice cream, but more delicious than any ice cream anywhere. So many gelatos, so few time to sample them all. But my husband and I did our part, eating three and four servings of gelato a day. It’s a good thing we walked all around Rome and burned off those calories.


The best meals I had were the special meals and wine my cousin arranged on our tour of Abruzzo.  Every meal was heaven. The one that stands out the most is the saffron gnocchi with fresh-shaved truffle made of all organic ingredients grown on the farm where we ate it. I will never again eat gnocchi because no gnocchi anywhere can ever be as good.


A hot local topic  


When we were there, the World Cup dominated everything. Some bars even set up TV’s outside and people brought chairs and sat outside and watched the games. The only English language TV station we could get was CNN International from the UK. It was all David Beckham, all the time. I overdosed on Beckham, but I’m not complaining. He’s a hunk.


After Italy won a game with, I think, Mexico, there was an impromptu parade down the Via Corsi in Rome. Scooters were decked out in the colors of the Italian team and people were carrying the Italian flag. During our Abruzzo visit, my husband and I stayed overnight with some relatives. They didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Italian. But my husband and cousin Rocco bonded over watching a World Cup game together. When we got back to the US, we continued to watch the World Cup on TV.


What is this city known for that is not stereotypical?


All the motor scooters. You really had to be very careful when crossing the streets. I especially loved seeing the women in their flowing skirts and stilettos wearing helmets and driving their scooters. I made sure to put scooters in my story.


Five famous people from this location


Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Augustus Caesar, Cicero, Nero. (I love Ancient Rome and read anything I can about it, fiction and non-fiction)


Something that might interest the Petit Fours type readers.


Trevi Fountain. When you see pictures of this iconic fountain that figures prominently in my story, it looks as if Trevi is in the middle of a wide street. Not so. It’s tucked at the end of a very narrow and busy street.


Something that would catch the attention of a Hot Tamale.


The sexy men. They have an easy, elegant style that exudes charm and sex.


What does the city smell like?  Or areas of the city?


Food, and more food. Tomatoes, basil, garlic, sweet gelato. And exhaust fumes from all the scooters.


Are there any parks or walking/running trails that are popular?


The Ancient Roman Forum, almost as popular and crowded now as two thousand years ago. The ruins are beautiful and breathtaking and will send you back in time.


Are there any rivers that have an impact on splitting up the socio-economic or ethnic communities?


The magnificent and ancient Tiber River runs through the city.


What are the local sports teams and what is the current popular view of them?


Soccer, soccer and more soccer. Italians, like most Europeans, are obsessed with soccer.


If there was one must see, can’t miss thing you would recommend to someone new to the city, what would that be?


The Coliseum. I ran my fingers over the ancient stone walls and felt a connection to all the Romans in the ancient world who’d touched the same places. There’s a lot of sadness in the Coliseum. The horrors of the hundreds of thousands of animals and humans slaughtered for sport hover over the arena. Our world is tame in comparison, very tame.


Thanks again to the hot tamales for having me.



Want to read more about Cara?  Check her out at the following links.


My site: where you can read an article about finding my history and see a few more pictures from my trip to Italy. (my video for Murder, Mi Amore) (for my Kindle book, Logan’s Redemption)


Also my cousin Luciana’s tour site:



MURDER, MI AMORE by Cara Marsi

Sandra Elzie - January 16, 2011 - 6:35 am

Hi Cara,

Thank you for a wonderful review of Rome, Italy! I sooooo want to visit there. You made it a must see…making me move it up on my travel list ahead of Athens, Greece and Spain.

I’m going right now to get your book. I’m sure it’s fabulous. Look for a review in the near future on a Saturday review!


Tami Brothers - January 16, 2011 - 8:24 am

This is an awesome look at Rome, Cara! You have a knack for making us feel like we are right there. I would love to run my finger over those ancient stones.

I, too, want that book. You really added some spice to this travel piece and now I’m craving gelato and gnocchi!

Thanks so much for blogging with us today.

Tami :lol:

Sia Huff - January 16, 2011 - 9:10 am

What a wonderful overview of Rome. It’s in my top two to visit. And the small town your grandparents came from, I’d love to visit the countryside. I read gelato is healthier for you than ice cream as it has no fat. Now that’s my kind of treat. Thanks for showing us a glimpes of Roma.

pjpuppymopm - January 16, 2011 - 9:17 am

Terrific review of Rome, Cara! I’ve been lucky enough to visit three times. I always find something new each visit and never tire of going. Now you have me wanting to go back again. Need to start saving those pennies! :)

I shared the same reaction to the Coliseum as you. I stood on the top tier, gazed down into the pit and felt as if all those souls that had fought and died there were surrounding me. It’s a pretty incredible experience.

My first taste of gelato as a teen spoiled me for life. It took me more than 30 years to return to Italy but the first thing I did was buy gelato and it was just as good as I remembered. Maybe better! lol!

I’m a big fan of romantic suspense and a huge fan of Italy. I’ll definitely be getting a copy of your book!

Marilyn Baron - January 16, 2011 - 11:15 am


What a wonderful review. It brings back memories. I first went to Rome as a student when I studied in Florence, Italy, for six months. A friend and I hitchiked at a time when it was relatively safe to do so. Seeing Rome on a student’s budget was much different than seeing it years later when I went with my husband. I’ve been back a number of times since on business and as a tourist. But Rome is wonderful any way you go. You almost can’t get a bad meal there. And the gelato is to die for. I try to recreate the experience here and it doesn’t compare.

One of my favorite things to do in Rome is visit the Borghese Gallery. I just love that venue.

When you mentioned motor scooters I had to laugh because when I was a student in Florence, I was run over by a motorcycle. I was walking in the streets (like everyone else, including the police) and my friend saw the motorscooter heading for me from behind and told me to jump so I jumped toward the sidewalk. We collided.I was charged with the accident because I was walking in the street. His bike was damamged but no one was hurt. He told me to meet him in a park to discuss it, which I was afraid to do, and he kept calling me. Long story short he stopped calling. Apparently my parent’s paid him through an insurance policy we had.

I can’t wait to read your book. I also love romantic suspense and far away places. And I was a corporate drone in a cubicle too, so I can relate, although I did love my job since it involved writing and editing. But publishing a novel would be a dream come true.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.


Cara Marsi - January 16, 2011 - 1:37 pm

Hi, Everyone. I’m excited to be here. Thanks again, Tami, for having me. Thank you all for posting. Reading your remarks about Italy makes me want to jump on a plane and head over there again. Tami, Sia and Sandra, I hope you get to see Italy, and especially Rome. And PJPuppy(love the name), thanks for sharing your feelings about the Coliseum. You’re so lucky you’ve been to Italy three times. And gelato is so-oo good. We had a gelato shop around the corner from the hotel. They had over 60 flavors. Heaven! Marilyn, I’m so jealous you got to study in Italy and that you too have been back several times. Your story of being run over by the scooter is priceless. Thanks for sharing, everyone. I hope you enjoy Murder, Mi Amore. I’d love to hear from you.

P. L. Parker - January 16, 2011 - 3:52 pm

I am so jealous. Can I come next time! Congratulations on the release and many sales.

Linsey Lanier - January 16, 2011 - 4:10 pm

What a great article. “Pizza, gnocchi, pasta, gelato, and wine” – I’m ready to hop on a plane right now. Thank you for being with us, Cara. You made the ancient city come alive. I will have to check out your books.

Cara Marsi - January 16, 2011 - 4:56 pm

Patsy, thanks for posting. And yes, you can come to Italy with me next time. That would be fun. Linsey, thank you for posting. Just thinking about the pizza, gnocchi, pasta, gelato and wine again is making my mouth water.

Susan - January 16, 2011 - 7:43 pm

You did a wonderful review of ROme. I been a couple of times and you hit the highlights. My family as a whole loved the gelato. There is a great place near the Trevi Fountain to get some and enjoy watch people at the fountain. We loved old Rome and found out the hard way-soccer mobs everywhere-how much the Italians love soccer. I hope to go back some day soon.

Cara Marsi - January 16, 2011 - 7:48 pm

Susan, thank you for posting. I’m so glad you like my review of Rome. I know the gelato shop near Trevi. We had gelato there too. We had gelato everywhere. I hope to go back someday too.

Cara Marsi - January 16, 2011 - 8:15 pm

Susan, thank you for posting. I’m glad you liked my review of Rome. I know the gelato shop at Trevi. We bought gelatos there. We bought gelatos everywhere. I hope to go back to Rome someday too.

Carol Burnside - January 16, 2011 - 10:45 pm

Great post on Rome. I’ve been there twice now and have been impressed each time. Your review brought back memories!

I’m on my way to check out your book on Amazon now.

Cara Marsi - January 16, 2011 - 11:17 pm

Carol, thank you for posting. I’m glad my review brought back memories of Rome. I hope I can go back again.

Cara Marsi - January 17, 2011 - 11:22 am

I want to thank Tami and the Hot Tamales again for having me. It’s been fun. I could talk about Italy all day.

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