When I was 11, I was lucky enough to spend six weeks in Europe with my family. My parents would never take us to Disney world (something Icomplained about bitterly as a child!), but looking back, Europe was obviously way cooler. We travelled to England, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland — and my favourite, Italy. Even as a kid, I could appreciate the amazing art, architecture and history. The beauty of the Tuscan countryside and cities like Siena and Florence has always stayed with me.
I learned two Italian words on my first trip to Italy: “grazie”and “gelato.” (As an adult I added “vino” to my repertoire!)
Our first night was in Como (made famous now by George Clooney and his villa), where we arrived after a long day in the car driving from my aunt and uncle’s house in Luxembourg. My dad had trouble finding the hotel, and after driving around for a bit, rolled down the window to ask a passerby.
“Is complicato,” the man replied. He pointed in the opposite direction we were driving in, then stood in the middle of the street to stop traffic so my dad could turn around. Then, much to our surprise, he hopped in his own car and led us through the winding streets until we came to the hotel. Needless to say, our first impression of Italy and the kind generosity of Italians was extremely favourable!
I absolutely adore movies that take place in Italy. Italian scenery can elevate even the most mundane flicks (I’m looking at you, When in Rome!). A few of my favourites:
Only You – the first time I saw Positano
Stealing Beauty– ah, Tuscano
Roman Holiday –a classic!
My new book The Chimera Affair takes place in Italy (with an interlude in Geneva). It was such a pleasure to write about the Italian locales I love so much. I’ve always loved spy/on-the-run adventures, and for my first, Italy seemed a perfect setting. There’s just something so romantic and exciting about the country. There’s a lust for life in Italy that I’ve always admired and tried to emulate.
There are so many wonderful places to see in Italy that I couldn’t begin to list them all here. But Como, Positano and Florence are three of my very favourites. Have you been to Italy? What was your favourite Italian experience? And did it involve gelato or vino?
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes both contemporary and historical fiction and –although she loves delicious angst along the way – Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.