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 talk
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: www.caramarsi.com where you can read an article about finding my history and see a few more pictures from my trip to Italy.
http://www.youtube.com/user/CarolynMat2 (my video for Murder, Mi Amore)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0040JI3PG (for my Kindle book, Logan’s Redemption)
Also my cousin Luciana’s tour site: www.absolutelyabruzzo.com/