What is it about Italy? I’ve been lucky to have visited the nation of la
dolce vita three times in my life-Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice. Italian
was also my minor in college. When I’m in Italy, I feel beautiful, both inside
and out. Just being in Italy is food for the soul.
For these reasons, I chose Italy as one of the settings in my Davison &
Allegra series, starting with Venice and Naples in BREATHLESS FOR HIM and Milan and Lake Como in DEVOTED TO HIM, as well as
making my heroine, Allegra Orsini, of Italian heritage.
To me, all of Italy is romantic, so choosing the Top 5 Romantic Escapes in Italy
proved to be quite the task, except for choosing the #1 destination. I should
also state that I’ve only been to my #1 choice, and the rest are on my bucket
list, though I imagine I’m there whenever I watch the movies that I mention for
each to-die-for area (Capri, alas, has not been featured in any film as far I know).
1) Venice-I first visited Italy as a junior in college when
I did the Eurailpass trip college kids do with two of my friends. We arrived
early in the morning on an overnight train from a drizzly, overcast Salzburg,
and when we stepped out onto the sidewalk outside the station in Venice with the
warm sun beaming down on us, I was in heaven. I don’t know if it’s the gondolas,
the architecture, or those narrow alleys that practically beg for you to sneak
into with a lover for a quick kiss and/or grope. As much as I love Paris, I have
to say that Venice is the most romantic city in the world. It is only Venice
that made me vow to myself that I wouldn’t return without the love of my life.
Movie references: Moonraker (yes, a James Bond movie and the first one I
ever saw when I was ten) and A Secret Affair based on the Barbara Taylor
2) Amalfi Coast-movie reference: Only You with Marisa
Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.
That azure water, the winding drive along the coast, those gorgeous homes on the
hills. My dream is to stay at Il San Pietro di Positano, a luxurious
hotel with gorgeous ocean views overlooking the Bay of Positano and has an
elevator built inside the cliff that takes you right down to the beach from the
3) Lake Como-movie reference: Ocean’s Twelve with
Clooney, Roberts, et al. I’m not surprised George Clooney bought a villa here
because this area in northern Italy is gorgeous. It also boasts a long history
of celebrities vacationing here, especially at the famed Hotel Bellagio. I
imagine sailing on the lake in one of those vintage wood-paneled motorboats with
the sun shining down on me or at night admiring the historic villas lit up from
the outside, showing off their splendor.
4) Capri-the playground of the rich and famous. A short ferry
or hydrofoil ride from Naples, this famous island has been referenced in works
ranging from Debussy to John Singer Sargent. Graham Greene made Capri his home
for many years. I once had the acquaintance of a woman who traveled to Capri
every year to stay at the Grand Hotel Quisisana, and she would always return
with the most exquisite custom-made sandals and luxurious silk scarves. Someday….
5) Tuscany/Umbria-movie reference: Under the Tuscan Sun
and A Room with a View. I actually refer to A Room With a View in
DEVOTED TO HIM when
Davison and Allegra are watching it get together in his living room. They’re
watching my favorite scene when Lucy and George first kiss in a field in the
Tuscan countryside that’s sprinkled with red poppies. I couldn’t think of a more
appropriate place for a first kiss.
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